There were no hard feelings or expressions of disrespect coming from Pablo Sandoval Tuesday at his introductory news conference inside the State Street Pavilion at Fenway Park. The reason the free agent third baseman said he chose Boston was a simple one.

“I want a new challenge,” said Sandoval. “I made that choice to be here in Boston because I need a new challenge. The legacy they have here. To show them the fan support they have here. That’s what I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. It took me a long time but I’m happy to show the fans all the support they gave to this team. Now I want to show I came here to give them the support to go into the postseason again.”

Of course, the Red Sox did make it worth his while financially. As Alex Speier reported, Sandoval, with the help of his brother and agent Michael, agreed to a $95 million deal with a breakdown as follows: $3 million signing bonus and $17 million in 2015-17; in 2018 and 2019 he earns $18 million. Cherington confirmed Tuesday that there is also a club option for 2020, believed to be worth $17 million in 2020 with a $5 million buyout. The Giants offered a similar package in terms of dollars, and a sixth year.

But there were reports Monday night that Sandoval left San Francisco because he was disrespected by the offer from the Giants and their concern over his weight. Sandoval denied those Tuesday.

‘€œIt was a tough decision for me,’€ Sandoval said. ‘€œIt took me a long time to be sure that I was going to make the right decision. This is similar, but the Giants gave me the opportunity to be in the big leagues. Opened the door, teach me how to respect the game. The Giants fans, one of the best, but in that time I want to close the cycle that I got there.
Pablo Sandoval has arrived in Boston.”

The 28-year-old Sandoval has only known the National League Giants as his home in his first seven big league seasons, winning World Series in three of the last five seasons, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The Giants showed their appreciation in a statement Monday.

“He has been with us through some of the greatest moments in San Francisco Giants history — including all three World Series championships. We will never forget his World Series MVP performance in 2012 and his numerous contributions to the 2014 championship. His connection with Giants fans — young and old — is truly special, and he will be greatly missed. We wish him nothing but the best in Boston.”

Indeed, last season, Sandoval hit .279 with 26 doubles, three triples,16 home runs, and 73 RBI in a career-high 157 regular season games and 153 starts. But Sandoval really turned it on in the postseason. He batted .366 with seven doubles, five RBI, and five walks in 17 postseason games, collecting an MLB record 26 hits in the postseason run.

Now in Boston, Sandoval will try to help the Red Sox resolve their third base woes. With Will Middlebrooks showing inconsistency and Xander Bogaerts entrenched at short, general manager Ben Cherington has been looking for the right fit at third base. He thinks he has the perfect XL fit in the big Panda.

‘€œWe believe he fits the ballpark well,” Cherington said Tuesday. “He’s a line drive hitter who puts the ball in play a lot, hits a lot of balls hard to left and left center. There’€™s a lot about it that appealed to us.

“Third base, has been a position we’€™ve been trying to figure out now for a couple of years. We had some talented players that I’€™ve been involved in at third base that we’€™ve given opportunities, but this is an opportunity to add just a really good player, a great person, and a great fit for our team in a position of need.”

Against right-handed pitching, the switch-hitting Venezuelan native is a career .304 batter, with an on-base of .357 and a slugging percentage of .493. Sandoval thinks he can take advantage of Fenway Park, like his good friend David Ortiz.

“I live for that so bad,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy this ballpark. It was one of the things I was thinking about in my decision.”

As for his larger-than-average girth, Sandoval said he doesn’t take offense to people wondering about his playing shape, promising to work with Red Sox personnel to make sure he’s ready for Fort Myers come February.

“I don’t take it personally,” Sandoval said. “I just take advice given to me. They want me to be a better player, they want me to show I can be a better player for them, so I learned a lot of things from that. So, now in my new organization I’m going to show that I can do those things, that I’m mature, and I’m grown enough for those challenges.”

“I want to be ready. That’s why I have my training. I want to work on those things, be ready out there, play third base for five years, six years, and I’m going to be out there and making sure I’m taking care of all those things to play third base.”

As for his famous Kung Fu Panda nickname?

“Ben didn’t sign one guy,” Sandoval said with a glowing smile. “It was a two-part deal. Me and the Panda.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
The Red Sox trotted out their newest FA acquisition Tuesday afternoon, third baseman, Pablo Sandoval. The Kung Fu Panda then joined MFB to talk about his conversations with (former) Giant teammate, Jake Peavy, about playing Boston. He also stressed that this move was the next big challenge in his life, and addressed some concerns about his defense, stating that he is focused on being at the hot corner for the duration of his contract.

[0:00:37] ... Sandoval to WEEI for the. First time as a member of the Boston Red Sox organization. And a welcome to Boston. Territory radar. Doing great how are you do on nine heard you say high number and ...
[0:01:34] ... Dave Ortiz had dinner with them but a chance to talk to Jake Peavy. About would like in Boston yeah. Yeah yeah Alou or a bargain. At almost can't get back. After warts it is. A ...
[0:02:13] ... what a great choice not. And they have medical center how would David West from grind out there and blow the tapes we got the political maturation the last minority. As a human rights to boot ...
[0:05:15] ... move for Colombia and correct. Set some real good things there about Hanley Ramirez coming back from commercial break a lot of people have a different impression of Hanley that if things go bad sometimes he ...






Hanley Ramirez has been signed to play left field.

Yoenis Cespedes could be a consideration for center or right field in 2015. (Getty Images)

Yoenis Cespedes could be a consideration for center or right field in 2015. (Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez has been signed to play left field. So what does that mean for the Red Sox‘ season-ending left fielder?

In the case of Yoenis Cespedes, manager John Farrell said that the Sox have begun talking about the possibility of a move to another position. As news of the Sox’ signing of Ramirez circulated, Farrell said that the team reached out to Cespedes to explore that very possibility, and that the 29-year-old proved receptive to it.

“We had a chance to speak to him yesterday. To his credit, he’€™s just eager to do whatever is needed by this team,” said Farrell. “He’€™s showing that he’€™s a complete team player. And we’€™re excited to have his versatility be at our disposal at those other two spots, whether it’€™s center, right, we’€™ll determine that once we get to camp.”

Though Cespedes only played left field with the Red Sox, he has played at least some center in each of his three big league seasons, with roughly 20 percent of his career outfield innings spent in center. The Sox viewed him as a potential right fielder at the time of their acquisition of him based on his range and strong throwing arm. As of now, the team is hoping to look at Cespedes at both positions.

“He’€™s played center field more. and after being with him for roughly two months, we didn’€™t want to back him into any one particular position,” said Farrell. “We wanted to keep everything open to take advantage of his versatility and that’€™s going to be dependent on who else is on this team also. What’€™s the best team for us where we’€™ve got some versatility and flexibility with Yoenis.”

While the possibility of a trade sending Cespedes elsewhere is obvious given the Sox’ depth of outfield options (including Ramirez, Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Daniel Nava, Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr. and others), Farrell did note the intrigue of keeping both Cespedes and the player whom the Sox have acquired to follow him into left field.

“When you consider Hanley in left, Yoenis in either center or right, you begin to look at power bats in a number of different positions and this is a really deep lineup as we stand today,” said Farrell.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

It comes as little surprise to see Red Sox manager John Farrell beaming at the shape that his 2015 lineup is starting to take.

It comes as little surprise to see Red Sox manager John Farrell beaming at the shape that his 2015 lineup is starting to take. With Pablo Sandoval — a wrecking ball against right-handed pitchers — at third base and Hanley Ramirez (who hammers both lefties and righties) now slated to join the middle of the team’s lineup, the run-starved days of 2014 should prove far less frequent next season.

“We’€™ve made two very good additions, no doubt, particularly before [when] you’€™d sense the free agent market really coming into shape. [GM Ben Cherington] has done a great job of being able to add these two players before Thanksgiving,” said Farrell. “When you consider Hanley in left, Yoenis [Cespedes] in either center or right, you begin to look at power bats in a number of different positions and this is a really deep lineup as we stand today.”

Still, while the lineup (with that intriguing proposition of Cespedes at a different spot in the outfield) is now well-defined, Farrell acknowledged that the Sox’ offseason work is incomplete.

“What remains throughout the offseason is still an interesting proposition. … We’€™ve got a ways to go through this offseason,” said Farrell. “We’€™ve got complete trust in what Ben and his staff are doing. Clearly, there’€™s two prime pieces of evidence to suggest that. We’€™ve got work to be done, we’€™ve got additions to be made. So there’€™s going to be a number of things that are going to be interesting to follow here throughout the winter.”

Foremost among those will be the vacancy sign that hovers over 60 percent of the Red Sox rotation, with curiosity looming about whether the Red Sox might be able to bring Jon Lester back into the fold. Farrell acknowledged that the Sox are doing what they can to bring back the left-hander, though declined to handicap the likelihood of a return.

“Like everyone else in the free-agent market, that’€™s to be determined. He’€™s earned the right to get to this point in his career,” said Farrell. “I’€™m sure there’€™s a lot of teams that have a lot of interest in him and deservedly so. Confident that we’€™re making every attempt internally here and the hope would be to get him back here. We’€™ll get a better read on that in the coming weeks. … We’€™re probably a quarter or a third of the way through the offseason so there’€™s time and a lot of options still available to us and it will be interesting to see what ends up on our roster.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

In order to clear a roster spot for Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, the Red Sox announced that they had designated catcher/first bas

According to an industry source, here are the terms of Pablo Sandoval’s five-year, $95 million deal with the Red Sox that includes a team option for a sixth season:

Signing bonus: $3 million

2015: $17 million

2016: $17 million

2017: $18 million

2018: $18 million

Ryan Lavarnway

Ryan Lavarnway

In order to clear a roster spot for Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox announced that they had designated catcher/first baseman Ryan Lavarnway for assignment. Lavarnway, 27, a sixth-round draft pick out of Yale in 2008, split the 2014 season between Triple-A Pawtucket and the big leagues. He played nine games in the big leagues, going 0-for-10, and in 97 career big league games, he has a .201/.249/.315 line with five homers.

While that major league track record is modest, Lavarnway has a long track record in the minors of hitting for average and getting on base, with a career .283/.375/.479 line in the minors. That said, after he posted consistently strong power numbers from 2009-11 (an average of 25 homers a year in the minors), he hit just 15 homers over the last three years in the minors, resulting in his former status as one of the top prospects in the Sox system dimming to the point where he represented a depth option on the fringes of the 40-man roster. With no remaining minor league options and with a number of options in front of him at first base and catcher, he thus became a roster casualty to clear the way for Sandoval.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

According to an industry source, here are the terms of Pablo Sandoval’s five-year, $95 million deal with the Red Sox that includes a team option for a sixth season:

Signing bonus: $3 million

2015: $17 million

2016: $17 million

2017: $18 million

2018: $18 million

2019: $18 million

2020: Team option – $17 million ($5 million buyout)

The bonus and buyout factor into the $95 million guarantee and give the deal a $19 million average annual value for the next five years for luxury tax purposes. If Sandoval is still playing at a high level at the end of the deal, then his option — which would come at a $12 million marginal cost (and as calculated for AAV purposes in 2020) could hold considerable appeal for Sandoval’s age 33 season.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier