The Red Sox have benched their $95 million third baseman

Wake Up: Panda Begins Season on Bench
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.

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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Originally published