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.
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.
John Farrell says that Travis Shaw is the #RedSox third baseman. Pablo Sandoval to the bench. Met with both players this morning.
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.
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.
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.