By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Red Sox principal owner John Henry sat down with the media on Wednesday, and immediately, his comment on Pablo Sandoval set the Twitter world ablaze.READ MORE: Target Will Once Again Require Some Employees To Wear Face Masks
But his comments on Sandoval weren’t the only ones that might have stretched the bounds of credulity, so let’s go ahead and lay out some of the owner’s quotes, followed up by some questioning of the comments.
Henry’s direct quotes, you’ll note, are in bold.
“I think the main thrust of [Sandoval’s] offseason program was about agility and conditioning, so the only thing I will say is that he came in with a body fat ratio of 17 percent, substantially down from last year. That’s what we were looking for.
“I don’t think you’ll ever see a thin Pablo. And I know the focus is on his weight, but our focus was on the ability to field the ball and throw the ball and hit the ball. And so I think he has six weeks, as does everyone else, to get in first-class playing shape. That’s part of what spring training is about, so I have every expectation that he will.”
“Not many of us probably have 17 percent body fat.”
Seventeen percent body fat. Down substantially from last year.
It’s simply hard to buy what Henry is selling. For one, there is appearance. Even if Sandoval somehow has checked in with a lower body fat percentage, we all have eyeballs, and we can see that there was no “substantial” drop. That’s an outrageous claim.
It’s also hard to believe these words considering in January, John Farrell told the media that Sandoval had lost 20-22 pounds during the offseason. When Sandoval arrived at spring training, he said he never once weighed himself during the offseason. So … how did Farrell know the very specific two-pound range of exactly how much weight Sandoval had lost if the man said he hadn’t stepped on a scale all winter? Somebody’s lying.
When it comes to Sandoval’s appearance and how the Red Sox would like him to be, the team has struggled to really stay on message. Speaking of which …
“He carries a lot of weight, so hopefully that’ll be addressed during spring training.”
Addressed in what way? If he’s substantially down from last year, what is there to address? Are the Red Sox happy with Sandoval’s weight or are they unhappy with his weight? The Red Sox are saying both feelings exist. That is logically impossible.
“Last year, he was in the 20s [of body fat ratio] when he left at the end of the season.”
Wait, at the end of the season? Isn’t it well-known that he adds weight throughout the season, so his end-of-season body fat number doesn’t do much to help the case now? What was his body fat percentage last year in spring training?
“No, [I don’t know]. He was in the 20s.”
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“Yup. I was told, I don’t know for a fact, but I was told he was 21. So, 17, so that’s a … .”
So do you know what his body fat percentage was at the end of the year?
“No. I just heard 20s.”
But you just told us it was in the 20s at the end of last season! John, keep it together, man!
“I’m not going to talk about his weight.”
You’ve just been talking about his weight!!
“What good are these preseason predictions to what Pablo is going to hit or not hit? The one year, I guess his worst year was when he lost a lot of weight before the season started? I read that somewhere.”
Was it on Wikipedia?
“Haven’t thought about it [if the Red Sox regret not signing Jon Lester]. … If we would’ve had Jon Lester last year, I don’t think we would have had a successful team. It was not the lack of an ace last year.”
Red Sox starters had the seventh-worst ERA in Major League Baseball and the third-worst ERA in the American League.
In the first half of the season, before the Red Sox completely fell out of the playoff race, the team ERA was 4.44. That ranked third-worst in baseball and dead-last in the AL.
Would Lester have solved all of that? Of course not. But to act like the Red Sox were seemingly better off without him? That’s obtuse.
“‘I was shocked at how bad we were last year. To me, it was shocking.
“Maybe it wasn’t to people on the outside. But you can’t have the kind of talent we had on the field — or at least attempt to put the kind of talent that we thought we had on the field — get those kind of results and not be looking for answers.
“The more I looked from my own perspective, the more I found not to be happy with.”
Hmm, let’s see. The team was coming off a last-place finish and had already traded Jon Lester away at the deadline. In the offseason, they threw loads of money at Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, and they asked Ramirez to play a position he had never before played. Like so many other players who cash in with massive paydays, these guys did not deliver.
But with a good pitching staff, the Red Sox would have been better. Alas, they dealt with the losses of Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy by adding Rick Porcello (at the expense of Yoenis Cespedes), Wade Miley and Justin Masterson.
And we’re supposed to be shocked that the Red Sox didn’t get any better?
“The fans are still mad about [NESN getting rid of Don Orsillo]? Why did that happen? I think it’d be better to ask Tom Werner and [NESN president] Sean McGrail and people at NESN about that. I don’t want to get back into all of that again.”
While this is hardly the most pressing issue for the Red Sox, it’s worth noting that Henry’s never “gotten into” this topic. He’s refrained from commenting. And there was that controversial removal of a line from a Dan Shaughnessy column about fans’ Don Orsillo signs being confiscated. (Henry owns the Globe. Shaughnessy owned up to it being a reporting error. Suspicions were not doused by that admission.)
Again, most everyone has gotten over the Orsillo move, and Orsillo himself has certainly landed on his feet in San Diego. But … how can you opt to not “get back into all of that” if you’ve never gotten into it in the first place? You can’t even say something nice about the man who called your games for 15 years?
Of course, it being spring training and all, Henry was mostly positive in his outlook for the season. He believes in Dave Dombrowski, he believes in John Farrell, he believes in David Price, and he believes in players having better seasons than they did in 2015. That’s all well and good, but combing through some of those comments, it’s hard to feel the authenticity was, in Henry’s term, “first class.”MORE NEWS: Barack Obama's 60th Birthday Party On Martha's Vineyard This Weekend To Have COVID Safety Coordinator