The Red Sox have benched their $95 million third baseman

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Wake Up: Panda Begins Season on Bench

The Boston Red Sox had high hopes this time last year, when they entered the season with $183 million worth of newly acquired star power in Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.

A year later -- with a last-place finish fresh in their memories -- they've rejiggered things a bit. And the $95 million man they signed to be their third baseman is now glued to the bench, indefinitely.

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Pablo Sandoval batted a career-worst .245 in his inaugural season in Boston, hitting just 10 home runs, driving in only 43 and posting an on base percentage under .300 in 126 games. After coming in to camp visibly out of shape, pressure was instantly put on John Farrell to make Sandoval earn his spot despite the $17.6 million coming his way this season.

And the manager has made the call, which is only mildly surprising.

Starting at third to open the year will be Travis Shaw, with only 65 games of Major League experience, but already with 13 homers and 36 RBIs to his ledger -- a 32-home run, 90-RBI pace. Shaw will earn $515,000 in salary this season.

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The Red Sox have benched their $95 million third baseman
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) sits on the bench before the start of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Atlanta. Boston third baseman Pablo Sandoval has been benched by manager John Farrell after using his Instagram account during a loss to the Braves on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jon Barash)
Boston Red Sox's Pablo Sandoval looks up as he walks to the dug out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Boston, Monday, June 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 16: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after scoring in the sixth against the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park on June 16, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox's Pablo Sandoval swings during an at-bat in a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 13: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox (R) celebrates with Pablo Sandoval #48 after hitting a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning at Fenway Park on June 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval positions himself in a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Monday, May 25, 2015, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval walks to the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Monday, May 11, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Boston Red Sox's Pablo Sandoval hits a base hit during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Friday, April 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval warms up on the tarp before a baseball game against the New York Yankees in New York, Sunday, April 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval jokes with a teammate while warming up on the tarp before a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Sunday, April 12, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval signs autographs before a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Kissimmee, Fla., Friday, March 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, right, celebrates with Pablo Sandoval after the Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees, 6-5 in 19 innings Friday, April 10, 2015, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval is seen during pre game warmups of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., Thursday, March 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Newly acquired Boston Red Sox free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval smilies as he and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington pose with a team jersey as Sandoval is introduced to the media at Fenway Park Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
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It's a strong statement from Farrell and management, making it clear that contract status won't determine anybody's playing time, a year removed from one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history.

- By John Dorn

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Ranking all 30 MLB stadiums

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Ranking MLB stadiums
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The Red Sox have benched their $95 million third baseman

30. Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Rays

The playing surface is a mixture of grass and artificial turf, and there are fire inspection rings in play over head. Must be a joy to play in.

(AP Photo)

29. Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays

The only things worse than this warehouse-looking place are the metric measurements on the outfield walls.

(Shutterstock)

28. O.co Coliseum, Oakland A's

Any place sewage seeps back through the clubhouse drains probably isn’t a suitable location for pro sports.

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

27. Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas Rangers

Remember when this place was state of the art? Neither do we.

(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)

26. U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago White Sox

What’s more bland than the Chicago White Sox? Their uniforms. What’s worse than that? The stadium.

(AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)

25. Turner Field, Atlanta Braves

This place won’t live to see its 20th birthday. Good luck to the Braves’ next home, which will probably still always be empty, too.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

24. Marlins Park, Miami Marlins

Makes perfect sense for an orange and teal team to play in a stadium with neon green everything. Also, has anyone ever figured out what exactly this is? 

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

23. Angel Stadium, Los Angeles Angels

Nothin’ like some fake rocks in center field to really set the mood for a baseball game.

Flickr

22. Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians

The fact that it’s no longer Jacobs Field bumps this down at least five spots.

Flickr

21. Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals

Can this place just stay out of the playoffs just once?

Flickr

20. Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati Reds

How cheap is that wind tunnel?

 (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

19. Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks

Center field is the deepest part of the stadium, guys. The wall doesn’t need to be that high.

Clintus McGintus/Flickr

18. Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees

Great place to see the best baseball players of the 20th century.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

17. Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers

Bernie sliding down that slide for every home run is ridiculous and awesome at the same time. Every time.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

16. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Phillies

Once you get over the fact that some little league parks have deeper fences? Cool place to catch a game.

 (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

15. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Dodgers

They should probably just name it Vin Scully Stadium at this point. Might help them out in these rankings.

 (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

14. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Royals

The scoreboard being shaped like a long crown is a bit odd, but you can’t blame them for playing up the whole royalty thing.

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

13. Coors Field, Colorado Rockies

If it’s not a blizzard in Denver, Coors Field is still pretty impressive. But let’s lose those humidors and get these balls flying like its 2001. 

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

12. Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers

Credit to the grounds crew for making sure the infield didn’t collapse through the ground while Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera manned the corners. That approached a good 600 pounds of man.

 (AP Photo/Matt Halip)

11. Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros

Get back to us next year, once that ridiculous hill and flag pole are scrapped.

(AP Photo/Bob Levey)

10. Target Field, Minnesota Twins

You probably won’t want to sit outside in Minnesota until about mid-June, but after that, Target Field is tough to beat.

 (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

9. Citi Field, New York Mets

Ownership may be fresh out of cash, but at least its stadium has an awesome selection of $12 beers. 

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

8. Nationals Park, Washington Nationals

It’s been seven years, and the team just can’t sell these naming rights. Strangely, this makes the park even cooler.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

7. Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners

For a stadium that opened up in 1999, the Mariners’ digs have held up pretty well -- even when their roster hasn’t.

 (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

6.. Petco Park, San Diego Padres

Fun fact: An old candy factory building was physically moved to make room for the stadium. 

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

5. Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox

Relax, Fenway is definitely an amazing place to watch a game. But sitting directly behind a pole and/or facing the left-center field wall just isn’t always appealing.

(Shutterstock)

4. Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs

We’re glad the Cubs decided to keep their old home intact, but there’s no two ways about it: Until renovation is complete, Wrigley is a dump.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

3. PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates

After two decades under .500, the Pirates are finally playing some winning ball again. Good thing, because their park deserves as many games as possible.

 (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

2. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore Orioles

Still as beautiful as the day it opened in 1992, Camden Yards is headed toward becoming the next legendary American ballpark. 

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

1. AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants

Already 15 years and three names later, AT&T Park remains the best place to watch a Major League Baseball game. Between the amazing food, packed-out stands and the glistening bay in right field, San Francisco is lucky to call it home. 

(AP Photo)

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