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Red Sox bench Pablo Sandoval, put Travis Shaw at third base

Pablo Sandoval is on the bench, Travis Shaw at third.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox have named Travis Shaw their starting third baseman, with Pablo Sandoval relegated to the bench.

The idea that Sandoval's job might actually be at risk arguably started all the way back in 2015, as Shaw exploded onto the scene with a .310/.365/.621 performance in August as Sandoval's season circled and finally entered the drain. It only gained momentum as Sandoval struggled mightily to start spring training, and while he managed to put together a bit of an offensive surge in the last couple of weeks, it apparently was not enough to stave off Shaw, who started off incredibly strong to the point where a late slump could only leave him looking human at worst.

For now, as John Farrell will tell you, this is probably the best move for getting the team off to a fast start. Travis Shaw seems more likely to contribute positively both on offense and defense if we're just going to throw probabilities out there. But there's a lot more than just immediate hits, strikeouts, assists, and errors at play here.

In fact, it's much of that "other" category which might lead Sox fans to expect Farrell to default to giving Sandoval the job. After all, this is a manager who has been known to favor his veterans even to a fault in the past. That particular part of his reputation might be on life support after this decision.

We'll be breaking down those other aspects of the deal here later today. But for now, suffice it to say that John Farrell has certainly made the popular decision. Time will tell if it was right or not.