BOSTON (CBS) — The Pablo Sandoval experiment is over for the Red Sox.
Sandoval has been designated for assignment, the team announced on Friday.
“From a playing perspective, Pablo wasn’t playing as well as we hoped,” Red Sox president of baseball ops. Dave Dombrowski told reporters at Fenway Park. “It wasn’t there when he went to Triple-A, not only from an offensive perspective but some defensive struggles. It really came down to us feeling that we were not a better club if he was on our club at the Major League level. It was a tough decision, but one we thought was the right one.”
The disappointing third baseman will go down as one of the worst free agent signings in Boston history (in any sport), inking a five-year, $95 million deal with the team in 2015. He played in just 161 games in his two-plus seasons with the Red Sox, hitting .237 with a .286 OBP and an abysmal .646 OPS.
Dombrowski made it sound as though the only difficult part of the decision was to pay someone nearly $50 million over the next two seasons to not play baseball for the Boston Red Sox.
“We’re talking about a lot of money and I give ownership a lot of credit for allowing us to do this,” said Dombrowski. “It was a tough decision in that regard.”
Dombrowski said they discussed an extended stint in the minors with Sandoval, but the player declined. The team also explored trade options for the third baseman, but couldn’t find anything that made sense for the team.
Injuries and conditioning played a big part in Sandoval’s downfall in Boston. After a disappointing first season in Boston in which he hit just .245 over 126 games, Sandoval played in just three games in 2016 before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
Though the team gifted him the starting job in 2017 by trading away Travis Shaw in the offseason, Sandoval hit just .212 with four homers in 32 games this season. He made a pair of trips to the disabled list this season, first for a knee injury and then an inner-ear infection. He was on a minor league rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox and would have had to been recalled by Monday, or agree to that extended stay in the minors.
When that wasn’t going to happen, and the Boston brass found nothing on the trade market, they really had no option but to dump Sandoval and his massive salary. Thus ends one of the worst free agent signings by the team — minus those rather large paychecks they’ll have to send him for the foreseeable future.