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The Red Sox have benched their $95 million third baseman

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.

SEE ALSO: Mets' Matt Harvey upset with media coverage of bladder infection

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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Pablo Sandoval
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The Red Sox have benched their $95 million third baseman
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, 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)
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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

29. Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays

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

(Shutterstock)

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

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

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)

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