Pablo Sandoval missed a couple of games last week, came back on Sunday and had to leave early due to lightheadedness. He showed up for work the next day but sent home from Fenway Park on Monday with an illness. That illness has now been diagnosed: Sandoval has pneumonia.
He will be reexamined over the weekend, but given that the recovery time for such a beast is measured in weeks or possibly months, not days, his season is almost certainly finished.
If it is finished, it ends with him at a disappointing line of .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 runs driven in. That makes for easily his worst season as a major leaguer, and certainly not what the Red Sox were hoping for when they signed him last November.
Now, he’ll have the offseason to get healthy and hope to turn things around in 2016.
UPDATE: Ned Yost just spoke to the media and now all of the uncertainty seems gone. Yost says Holland has “a significant” UCL tear, which almost certainly means he’s headed for Tommy John surgery.
This will cause him to miss all of 2016 in all likelihood. And may cause the Royals to non-tender the arbitration-eligible Holland after this season. It’s the worst possible news at the worst possible time for all involved.
4:28 PM: He already lost his velocity and his job as closer, and there were already serious concerns about whether or not he’d pitch again to begin with. But now it’s official: Royals reliever Greg Holland has been shut down for the year.
Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reported that and further reports that Holland will have his right elbow examined by a Dr. Neal ElAttrache next week in Los Angeles. ElAttrache is not as famous as Dr. Andrews, but he has previously treated Zack Greinke, Kobe Bryant and many, many other athletes. And, yes, he could potentially diagnose a torn ligament requiring Tommy John surgery, which would out Holland on the shelf for all of 2016.
The Royals still have a strong bullpen and can weather the loss of their closer better than a lot of teams can, but this is still awful news for them. And for Holland.
This is a fun analysis from Nicholas Wells at CNBC’s The Big Crunch. It’s a breakdown of all 30 teams’ payrolls based on equality of distribution across the roster. Who’s top-heavy, who’s not, all measured using Gini coefficient, which is a statistical measure of income inequality. Usually it’s meant to measure income inequality in countries, but it works for a roster well enough.
If I were to have guessed out of the blue before reading the article I would’ve thought that some bad team like the Marlins had the most equal pay (i.e. no one makes anything). But one outlier like Giancarlo Stanton, of course, throws that off. Same with the Phillies and Ryan Howard. The Astros would’ve been another strong guess, I figured, based on all of their rookies and the fact that they were a bad team last year. But nope. It’s actually a good team, with veterans, that has been good for a couple of years that has the flattest payroll:
A Big Crunch analysis shows the Royals’ payroll is the most equally distributed among its players, based on the average yearly pay for their current contracts.
So the team most people think is named after monarchy (it’s actually named after a livestock show, but never mind that for a moment) is the most commie team out there. Good to know!
The Big Crunch makes an argument that, perhaps, flat salaries on a sports team lead to better sports teams due to various psychological factors. I’m not sure I buy that, but the argument is there for your edification.
I mentioned this in the recaps, but it’s worth a standalone mention: Bruce Bochy went sorta nuts with his bullpen last night.
He used ten pitchers in all, even though he got six innings from starter Jake Peavy. After that Cory Gearrin, Josh Osich, Hunter Strickland, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Michael Broadway, George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla all made appearances. Only Osich threw as many as 20 pitches. Only Romo and Kontos otherwise threw double-digit pitches. Five of the nine relievers faced just one batter. Affeldt threw two pitches. Lopez came in only to issue an intentional walk.
The scary part? Bochy has 14 relievers at his disposal right now, so he could’ve been even crazier with it.
Perhaps this is all a function of the Giants being in a close game they had to win (though they didn’t win it). But it doesn’t go crazy like this without September’s expanded rosters. Without them, Bochy and the Giants would have made different decisions and would’ve had to rise or fall based on a regular-looking baseball team, just like they did from April through August. We should want teams still nominally in a playoff race to have to play regular baseball, not this sort of musical chairs nonsense.
As I and many others have suggested on a number of occasions, baseball needs to change the expanded roster rules. If teams must be allowed to look at 15 more players in September than they do all year, only allow them to use a couple of them in any given game. Expand the rosters to 40, sure, but make sure that, say, only 27 can used in any given contest. Or 30. I don’t know. I’d prefer just 25, but I’ll allow for some leeway here.
Just don’t make fans have to sit through nine pitching changes in a nine inning game. That’s just awful.