We still haven't heard the results of Pablo Sandoval's Thursday MRI, but there might be more to this injury than originally thought. Tony Massarotti is reporting that Sandoval could seek a second opinion on his shoulder, with word being that he might be headed for surgery. Ken Rosenthal didn't confirm the surgery part, but he did report that Sandoval is headed to see Dr. James Andrews for said second opinion.
At first, this had the halmarks of a phantom injury. Sandoval was unhappy, the Red Sox were unhappy, and it made sense for both sides to just want to not deal with the other for a while. Put Sandoval on the disabled list, get some separation, and maybe see if anything changed down the line. It's not like they'd miss his presence on the bench, exactly.
If, indeed, Sandoval ends up going under the knife, that separation period would get a lot longer, and likely leave the Red Sox stuck holding onto him unless they want to just cut ties and jettison him outright. Unlikely, given that on the 60-day disabled list he wouldn't even be occupying a 40-man roster spot.
The Red Sox recalled Christian Vazquez, and a Ryan Hanigan trade feels imminent
The Red Sox aren't going to carry three catchers forever, so everything points to a Hanigan deal.
An injury serious enough to require surgery would not, for what it's worth, excuse Sandoval's struggles over the last year on both sides of the ball. It's possible it factored into his poor production at the plate, some, but there's no way to really ascribe much of his defensive ineptitude to a weak-but-not-yet-broken shoulder.
This, then, would simply delay the inevitable point where the Red Sox have to make a decision. And likely also leave them harder pressed to find a partner to take on any portion of Sandoval's contract post-injury. You can hold out hope that Pablo Sandoval will follow in the footsteps of John Lackey, going from the most hated man in Boston to one of the heroes on a World Series winning team after a year lost to surgery, but I wouldn't be putting any money down on that unless you're getting fantastic odds.
At the end of the day, this news might almost feel like a short-term relief just because we're all looking to stop thinking about Sandoval. But somehow, an actual injury resulting in surgery and a long stint on the disabled list would probably just be making the Sandoval situation even worse. Bet you didn't think that was possible, huh?