This is not to denigrate newly crowned Red Sox opening day third baseman Travis Shaw, because Travis Shaw has had a killer spring, and no one’s really quite sure what to make of him. But teams usually need more than a hint of promise to bench a guy owed $72.4 million over the next four years. Not the Sox.
Sandoval had a rough 2015, the first year of his big five-year contract with Boston, and it wasn’t just the disappointing year at the plate. (Though swinging at balls above his eyes didn’t help.) He had the requisite amount of weirdness—getting dizzy running the bases, Instagramming from the bathroom during a game, that sort of thing. Showing up to spring training with a sizable belly didn’t help. Claiming no one had told him to lose weight, after his manager and GM had publicly said otherwise, got things started on a very wrong foot.