Officially, Pablo Sandoval is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder. Unofficially, and probably more accurately: Pablo Sandoval doesn’t want to sit on the Red Sox bench, and the Red Sox don’t want him around. These next four years are going to be great!
Sandoval said he was fine when he went to sleep on Tuesday, but woke up Wednesday with a weak arm. In reality, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, this injury has all the hallmarks of being mutually beneficial bullshit.
Sandoval complained of mysterious left shoulder pain, and the Red Sox chose to immediately place him on the disabled list without having tried to diagnose the severity of the injury with an MRI, sources told Yahoo Sports. By the end of Wednesday, Sandoval still hadn’t visited an MRI machine, a standard procedure that precedes a DL trip in nearly every case but catastrophic injuries.
“I’m hurt.” “OK, go chill somewhere else for a while.”
Sandoval is understandably not happy about having lost his starting job to Travis Shaw, and now that Shaw has started the season well, Sandoval really has nothing to do. He’s gotten just seven plate appearances in eight games, going hitless with a walk and four strikeouts.
By putting Sandoval on the DL, the Red Sox can use a roster spot on someone useful. And now Sandoval doesn’t have to suffer the ignominy of watching John Farrell pinch-hit for Shaw with people who aren’t him.
Sandoval tried to project positivity:
“Why am I going to be sad? Give me one reason to be sad, be mad,” Sandoval said. “Why? Give me one reason. I’m alive. I have daughters, one son coming, so nothing to worry about.”
But this is the beginning (or, at least the middle of the beginning) of a nasty divorce that may not be a short one. The Red Sox would love to cut bait and trade away Sandoval’s onerous contract, something they’ve done before. But Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford still had value; I don’t know any other team that would sign up for four more years of this Panda at $72 million.
The only solution that would satisfy both sides would require Sandoval spending this DL break conditioning, and return to the team able to recapture at least some of his value so the Red Sox could him without having to swallow nearly all of his contract. That’s right: the only thing standing in the way of a player and a team who can’t stand each other being stuck together for the foreseeable future is the possibility of Pablo Sandoval getting in shape. No biggie.