American League East: 2015, last place: Boston Red Sox
We end our summary of the junior circuit’s Venezuelan contingent with last season’s bottom feeders, the BoSox. On the crest of three recent World Series titles, the Sawx fell flat on their collective face last season. Alas.
Another guy with three recent World Series rings is Pablo Sandoval, who won them on the West Coast with the Giants-by-the-Bay. And Pablo tore it up in the post-season, even winning the World Series MVP in 2012 with a .500 batting average and a Jacksonian 3 homers in one game against Detroit. He also had one amazing, and a couple of above average, regular seasons.
But they don’t call him the Panda for nothing, and at 5’11 he weighs in at 255, more or less qualifying him for Bill Belichick’s backfield.
His conditioning was called into play when he showed up looking rather zaftig at his first Boston spring training. Hey, they just signed the guy to a $95 million contract. In fact, in 2015 he made nearly as much (17.5 million) as he did in his first seven seasons in San Francisco (18.5 million). Ain’t America grand?
So now we’re wondering–or at least Red Sox fans certainly are–which Pablo is going to show up this season–the postseason wunderkind or the regular-season above-average third baseman? Well, he showed up again this spring looking not-so-svelt and stated he has “nothing to prove,” and “I don’t weigh in at all,” which is kind of worrisome for a guy who batted a career-low .245 last season and made 15 errors. Nothing to prove in San Francisco–a lot to prove in Boston, amigo. (If I may weigh in with my opinion, that is.)
Meanwhile, one of the bright spots in the Sox 2015 campaign, lefty starter Eduardo Rodriguez, will begin the season on the DL with a balky knee. The big Valenciano (6’2″, 210) had a nice 10-6 record with a 3.85 ERA for Boston last year in 21 starts. At age 22, making the MLB minimum salary, he could be a bargain lefty compared to Boston’s big-ticket portsider David Price, who’ll earn a cool 30 million–even more than Pablo Sandoval!
My cynical prediction is that Rodriguez will have one more good season at Fenway, and then undergo the obligatory Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2017.
Hey, we’re one week away from Opening Night, so I’d better get on the ball. Tomorrow we check out the American League Central.