The saga of Pablo Sandoval has taken another interesting turn, as the Red Sox announced today that he has been placed on the 10-day DL with an inner ear infection. The underperforming veteran has long been rumored as a candidate to be replaced, but the move at least buys the team some time to plot its next steps.
Sandoval, 30, now owns a .212/.269/.354 slash through 108 plate appearances. That’s obviously far shy of the kind of output the Sox need from a regular third baseman. And if he’s not capable of manning that spot with some regularity, there’s not much function to keeping him around.
Of course, there’s more to it than just that. The Red Sox owe Sandoval $17MM this year, $18MM apiece in 2018 and 2019, and then a $5MM buyout on a 2020 option. While the club is obviously going to pay that regardless, it would no doubt prefer to hold out the possibility of receiving some return on its investment.
Indeed, there seems to be a sense within the organization that there’s still some glimmer of hope for Sandoval after he worked hard to get in shape over the winter and showed well this spring. And it’s not as if the in-house replacement options are terribly appealing, either. Marrero will likely pair with Josh Rutledge at third, at least once Dustin Pedroia is able to return at second, while Travis will offer an alternative another right-handed bat for the first base/DH mix.