Craig Calcaterra

Boston Red Sox's Pablo Sandoval connects for a solo home run off a pitch from Pittsburgh Pirates' Ryan Vogelsong (14) in the second inning of a interleague spring training baseball game, Monday, March 14, 2016, in Fort Myers , Fla. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Pablo Sandoval’s agent: “If you want to win, why leave the Ferrari in the garage?”


Pablo Sandoval was benched yesterday. Barring serious stumbles from Travis Shaw, he’ll be the league’s most expensive pinch-hitter, backup third baseman and occasional DH.

You won’t be surprised that Sandoval’s agent is not super pleased with this development. Jon Heyman reports that the agent, Rick Thurman of the Beverly Hills Sports Council met with Sandoval today. Afterwards, Thurman said, “If you want to win, why leave the Ferrari in the garage?”

I see where the sentiment is coming from but Thurman needs help with his analogies. I mean, given his client’s current situation, it’s probably not great to compare him to a famously overpriced, hard-to-keep running luxury item that literally everyone on the planet could do without quite easily if they had to.

And now HardballTalk’s 2016 Predictions

Crystal Ball
Library of Congress

By now I don’t need to tell you how silly it is to predict the outcome of a baseball season in which over 2,400 baseball games are played by over a thousand players, all of whom are subject to injury and/or wild variation from past performance or reasonable expectations. Baseball is freakin’ chaos, my friends. And while that is one of the top things to recommend it, it’s also the thing that makes predicting its outcomes a fool’s errand.

Let no one say that Bill and I aren’t fools. We’re gonna make our picks anyway, because that’s what we do. You can see our top-to-bottom divisional picks in our individual previews, but know that we have the following teams winning divisions and wild cards:

AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: Royals
AL West: Astros
AL Wild Cards: Blue Jays, Rangers

NL East: Mets
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wild Cards: Pirates, Giants

We diverge a bit on our playoff/World Series picks:

Bill: Red Sox vs. Astros in the ALCS; Mets vs. Cubs in the NLCS. Cubs vs. Astros in the World Series and . . . CUBS WIN

Craig: Red Sox vs. Royals in the ALCS; Giants vs. Cubs in the NLCS. Giants vs. Red Sox in the World Series and . . . GIANTS WIN

No, I don’t think the Giants are the best team in baseball. I was just burned in 2010, 2012 and 2014 by them and I’ve decided that going with dumb even year juju is a better system than one in which I pretend I know anything. Honestly, if someone put a gun to my head I’d probably pick the Cubs or Red Sox, but everyone’s gonna do that this year and where’s the fun in that?

Obviously, based on that bit of incoherence, Don’t take this exercise terribly seriously. No battle plan survives engagement with the enemy and such. If you save these and throw them back in our faces come October, well, you’re sort of missing the point. Unless we’re right, of course, in which point we’ll make a big show of how right we were because we control the posts that go up on this website and our egos are very, very fragile.

Anyway, there is only one thing you can definitively take away from this: we hate your team. Yes, yours. And yours too. God, how can you root for them?

2016 Previews: The National League West in a nutshell

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke talks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, in Phoenix. Greinke could have stayed with the Los Angeles Dodgers or gone up the coast to the San Francisco Giants. Instead, he signed a massive contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, dramatically shifting the landscape in the NL West.   (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Associated Press
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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2016 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

There’s a new ace in the desert and, not coincidentally, a shortage of arms behind Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles. Will that allow the Snakes to steal the division from the Dodgers? And hey, it’s an even year, so you can’t count the Giants out, right?

Here are our N.L. West previews:

Los Angeles Dodgers Preview
San Francisco Giants Preview
Arizona Diamondbacks Preview
San Diego Padres Preview
Colorado Rockies Preview