Arthur: The unique talent of Pablo Sandoval

From SABR member Rob Arthur at on December 2, 2014, with mention of SABR President Vince Gennaro:

A week ago, Hanley Ramirez signed with the Red Sox, presumably to play 3rd base.  The price, while not exactly a bargain, was affordable enough for a big market team to make it a solid signing.  The next day, Pablo Sandoval also signed with the Red Sox, leaving at least one member of the Red Sox lineup without a position and many pundits scratching their chins.

Sandoval is a good player, and the Red Sox got him at a fair price, but it was a curious signing nonetheless.  Stacked offensively, the Red Sox weakness was their brittle, ace-less rotation, not a lineup featuring multiple promising young players.  On paper, Sandoval’s contract represented only a small upgrade to the expected production from an already capable offense.

Since the Red Sox are perceived as a savvy organization which doesn’t like to waste money on marginal improvements, various theories were advanced to explain Sandoval’s deal.  Maybe the Sox are setting themselves up for future trades.  Perhaps, because of the peculiarities of Fenway Park (in particular, the Green Monster), Sandoval represented a bigger upgrade than we might otherwise reckon.  Sandoval invites these explanations because he is a unique player in many respects.

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Originally published: December 2, 2014. Last Updated: December 2, 2014.