Red Sox manager John Farrell announced today that Travis Shaw will be the Red Sox starting third baseman come Opening Day, and Pablo Sandoval will take his 95 million dollar contract with him to the bench. This comes only a few weeks after Farrell said that there is an open competition for the third base job, and that Sandoval wasn’t guaranteed anything because of his contract.
I love this move by the Sox, because it shows that they aren’t messing around this year, after two last place finishes in 2014 and 2015. Shaw clearly outplayed Sandoval during spring training this year, not only offensively but defensively as well. Sandoval can barely bend over to pick up ground balls, let alone range up the line or in the hole to field a scorcher.
However, as my friend Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports points out, Sandoval isn’t much of a bench player, and his value is still highest as a starting third basemen. If Shaw performs exceptionally well to start the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sandoval get shipped with a prospect to San Diego for James Shields. Shields isn’t the #2 starter that the Red Sox and their fans are looking for, but could clearly bolster the rotation. Besides, at this point Sox fans would do anything to get Sandoval off of the team. I danced in the whitest fashion for a solid five minutes after learning that Sandoval would be put on the bench, I can’t even imagine what I would do if he got traded. Stay tuned to find out.