Red Sox

Red Sox designate Pablo Sandoval for assignment, release expected


Red Sox designate Pablo Sandoval for assignment, release expected

BOSTON — One of the worst contracts in Red Sox history and an untenable situation at third base came to a head Friday, when the Red Sox designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment.

The struggling third baseman, who signed for a guaranteed $95 million ahead of the 2015 season, is still owed at least $41 million from the 2018-19 seasons, including a $5 million buyout of a team option for 2020. A bit more than halfway through the season, there’s more than $7 million of his 2017 salary still to be paid out, leaving more than $48 million still on the Red Sox’ books in all.

"That was hard," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Friday afternoon of the decision. "Talking about a lot of money. I give ownership a lot of credit that they are willing to allow us to do this."

Sox manager John Farrell said defense was the biggest problem for Sandoval.

"We were not a better club if he were on our club at the major league level," Dombrowski said.

The Sox have seven days to make a move with Sandoval now that he has been DFA'd. Sandoval will pass through release waivers, at which point another team can pick up Sandoval for the minimum with the Sox on the hook for all that dough. Per Dombrowski, Sandoval told the team on Thursday he would not grant the Sox permission to send him to the minor leagues — which is within his rights because of his major league service time.

If released as expected, then, Sandoval's salary counts against luxury tax threshold — minus any salary from where ever he may land.

"I think there’s more baseball left in him," Farrell said. 

A trade is technically possible, but would still require the Red Sox to eat the vast majority of the money owed to Sandoval. Dombrowski said Friday he already tried to shop Sandoval unsucessfully.

A discussion about going to the minors came up with Sandoval as far back as Monday, Dombrowski said, and talk of making this move internally stretched even further back with ownership.

"Talked about it a while ago, really a few weeks ago actually," Dombrowski said. "Spoke with John Henry and Tom Werner."

Sandoval, 30, was nearing the end of a minor league rehab assignment and the Red Sox had to make a call on their future at third base. Farrell has spoken about the infusion of energy Tzu-Wei Lin and Deven Marrero have brought, and for now, they'll handle the third-base duties. Their presence made the move easier, Dombrowski acknowledged.

Sandoval finished his two-plus seasons with the Red Sox with just 161 games played, hitting .237 with a .646 OPS. He hit .212 in 32 games this season and looked poor defensively.

Sandoval had glory days in San Francisco before joining the Red Sox, but it went south quickly. He missed nearly all of 2016, a year when he was noticeably out of shape, because of shoulder surgery.

Former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington’s legacy was bettered in the last year, particularly because of the young core of players that drove the team to a 93-win season and an American League East title in 2016. But Sandoval’s acquisition is virtually guaranteed to go down as his worst move.

Top prospect Rafael Devers' path to Triple-A was cleared with the exits of Sandoval and Jhonny Peralta. The latter was released on Thursday.

Drellich: These Red Sox can do no wrong

Drellich: These Red Sox can do no wrong

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- We’re not firing on all cylinders yet. The scary thing is, we’re not even playing our best. Just wait until we really get going.

You’ve heard these phrases and their variants before. They’re typically worthless.


Someone is always performing poorly. Always. That’s life in a sport where the best teams lose 40 percent of the time, where the best hitters fail 7 times out of 10, and all the other cliches.

What may be most remarkable about the Red Sox’ 15-2 run is that for an extended time, we are seeing a baseball team actually bump up against its ceiling. They have four grand slams. There are two major- league teams that have only three wins.

They are actually playing their best.

“It’s very rare,” Alex Cora said Wednesday night, after becoming the first rookie manager in history to begin his career with 15 wins in 17 games. “There’s always something that is not going with the others. But right now, defense pitching and offense -- base running too. You know, we were aggressive today  [when Eduardo Nunez was thrown out trying to stretch a double] but we’ll take that one. We’re doing better. We’re doing a lot better. And I don’t know, man. It’s just, it’s just fun to watch.

“I know how good they are. But it’s just something about them, they make you feel confident. You show up every day to work, I enjoy it, I’m having a blast with them. Not only in the dugout, but in the clubhouse. It’s fun. It’s fun to be around them. It’s a good group, and we’re growing together, we’re learning together and you know, we’re going to keep getting better."

“All systems go” rarely has more validity as a description for a baseball team than it does the Red Sox at present.


“I’ve been fortunate to be on some good teams and I’m sure I have [had similar stretches], but not, I don’t think, to this extent, where we’re playing good defense, we’re throwing the ball so well,” said Mitch Moreland, who homered Wednesday night in a 9-0 win over the Angels. “We’re coming up with big hits. Everybody in the clubhouse has done something to help the team win. It might just be because it’s fresh on my mind, but it stands out as good a ball as I think I’ve been a part of in the big leagues.”

Imagine how good a team can be if everyone is healthy and performing well. (By the way, the Sox are missing Xander Bogaerts.) But the best 17-game start in the 118-year history of a franchise has been inclusive of virtually everyone. Even Blake Swihart is getting some at-bats in these blowouts. 

Perhaps the bullpen feels a little left out lately, because the Sox are romping. These are thoroughly dominating performances, led by starting pitching. Rick Porcello -- who we may now more often mention won a Cy Young award two years ago -- has one walk in four starts. He’s 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA.

Rafael Devers, meanwhile, is the youngest Sox player to hit a grand slam since Tony Conigliaro in 1965.

Things will change. They’ll get ugly at some point. For now, though, there’s no waiting to see what a team looks like when everything is actually working. 



Red Sox continue rolling with 9-0 rout of Angels

Red Sox continue rolling with 9-0 rout of Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Everything is going right for the Boston Red Sox, and it has propelled them to the best start in the franchise's long history.

Rafael Devers hit his first career grand slam, Rick Porcello threw six scoreless innings and the Red Sox improved to 15-1 since losing on opening day with a 9-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Mitch Moreland had four RBI, including a two-run homer in the ninth, and J.D Martinez hit a solo shot in the seventh to help the Red Sox to their sixth consecutive win.

The Red Sox are the fifth team since the American League was established in 1901 to post at least 14 wins in their first 17 games.

"We've had a pretty good run at it here, pretty much the whole season so far," Moreland said. "It seems like one through nine, everybody is kind of stepping up. Obviously, been throwing the ball really well on the mound. Just playing a real complete game, a clean game right now."

Devers hit a home run for the second game in a row, putting his third of the season off the wall in right field just over the yellow line to make it 6-0 after Moreland singled to score Mookie Betts.

After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, Porcello (4-0) cruised to his league-leading fourth win. He gave up six hits and struck out six without issuing a walk.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first. Hanley Ramirez doubled to center, with the ball landing just past a leaping Mike Trout, and Moreland drove him in with a single to right.

"Our offense is really setting the tone right now and doing an incredible job. I mean, they are doing a great job of getting on their starter early," Porcello said. "The runs they are putting up, we're just going out there and attacking the strike zone and get outs and chew up as much of the game as possible."

Tyler Skaggs (2-1) gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Angels, who have lost two straight following a seven-game winning streak.

The Angels have been outscored 19-1 through the first two games of the series.

"You're going to run into some waves like this where it just doesn't seem like you're putting things together, but we're a much better offensive team than in the last couple of years," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.


Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts (ankle) took ground balls during batting practice, but manager Alex Cora said "there's no rush" to bring him back. . RHP Steven Wright (knee) will start at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. . LHP Bobby Poyner (hamstring) will be sent out on a rehab assignment soon, with weather likely determining where he will go.

Angels: Shohei Ohtani is expected to make his next start after being limited to two innings Tuesday because of a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. Ohtani will be available to hit against the Red Sox on Thursday. . RHP JC Ramirez underwent surgery to repair a torn UCL on Tuesday.


The Red Sox have not been good in the Pacific Time Zone, posting a .438 win percentage (89-114) when playing on the West Coast over the previous 16 seasons. After not winning a series at the Angels, Oakland or Seattle last season, they already have one under their belt.


Devers extended his road hitting streak to 12 games dating back to Sept. 18, 2017, and it was his fourth homer in that span. He has a hit in 19 of his last 21 road games going back to last season.


Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 3.72) gave up one run in six innings against Baltimore on Friday. Rodriguez's only career start at Angel Stadium was a brief one, giving up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings in 2015.

Angels: RHP Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00) held Kansas City scoreless in 6 2/3 innings to get the win Thursday. Tropeano has never faced the Red Sox.