A Major League Baseball player being designated for assignment usually isn’t too newsworthy, but when that player is owed a combined $37.2 Million dollars over the next two seasons plus roughly $13 million for this one, this minor contractual detail becomes quite interesting. The player in question is current Red Sox Third Baseman Pablo Sandoval who finds himself with the unfortunate DFA assignment just three seasons into a massive contract in Boston, which signed him after he contributed to a third San Francisco Giants World Series win in six seasons shortly before Thanksgiving in 2014. When a player is designated for assignment he is removed from the team’s expanded 40 man roster, and in the ensuing ten days the team has to either outright him to one of their minor league clubs, trade him, place him of waivers, or release him while eating the remainder of his contract. Given Sandoval’s abysmal performance over the past three campaigns, which include 2015, in which the career .294 hitter in San Francisco slumped to just .245 in Boston, 2016 in which he missed 159 of 162 games, and this season in which injuries and continued poor play have him sporting an anemic .212 batting average while turning the baseball into a hot potato at the hot corner and committing 21 errors in just 161 games.
What makes these terrible numbers worse is that the man they call Kung Fu Panda due to his portly build has been given multiple opportunities to become more lean in order to keep up with the demands of aging at third base but he has either refused or been unable to do that. The Red Sox must now pay Sandoval 50 million over the next three years to not be a part of them (an out of shape third baseman who’s previously renowned hitting skills have deserted him, while having a huge contract makes it difficult to do anything else) and find another answer at third base. While Sandoval’s 5 year 95 million dollar deal is not the most expensive mistake in baseball history his case will potentially serve as a caution to other teams both this offseason and beyond. The silver lining in this for Boston fans is that despite the awful play of Sandoval the team still is fighting for a playoff spot.