By Adam Hart
The trophy, the recognition, a stadium full of cheering fans; all the spoils of winning the Home Run Derby, earned by Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
But it doesn't stop there. American League Derby team captain David Ortiz allowed Comcast SportsNet New England to film the presentation of what he called "the real present."
It's a McDonald's Happy Meal.
"I love McDonald's," said Cano, laughing at the pre-All-Star game award ceremony. "So I love my fries and my burger."
"And you got something to defend yourself right here," said Ortiz, who pulled out a Star Wars light saber toy from the Happy Meal box.
As runner-up, Adrian Gonzalez was awarded a Strawberry Shortcake Happy Meal toy.
"This is perfect for the baby girl on the way," Gonzalez said with a smile.
Ortiz, the 2010 Home Run Derby champ, explained where he got the idea.
"My boy Torii Hunter last year, he took care of me when it came down to winning the Home Run Derby. He gave me the real present," said Ortiz.
Already this season he's given hugs to Yankees fans and a Happy Meal to the Red Sox rival's second baseman. In the final year of his contract, could he be buttering up those in New York for a possible free-agency courtship?
Brian MacPherson calls in to Toucher & Rich to speak on the shoulder surgery Pablo Sandoval underwent, which will keep him out of use for the season.
CHICAGO -- His left shoulder surgically repaired, Pablo Sandoval is now out of sight and out of mind for the Red Sox.
Travis Shaw, who beat out Sandoval for the third base job in the spring, is showing that the Sox made the right move with his play at third and his strong start at the plate.
Shaw may not be a natural third baseman, or even an above-average one. But his range is superior to that of Sandoval and his offensive production strong.
The move was addition by subtraction. Disregard the salaries attached to both players: the Red Sox got better -- not worse -- when Shaw became the starter and Sandoval the stand-in.
But the notion that the Red Sox have arrived at some permanent solution here is a false one.
Yes, Sandoval will be gone from Fenway, exiled to Florida to rehab his shoulder, and perhaps, reshape his physique.
But he's not really disappearing. He'll just be in hiding for a few months. And when spring training begins next February, Sandoval will be a problem all over again for the Red Sox.
This surgery -- beyond repairing Sandoval's mysteriously injured shoulder - can be seen as kicking the can down the road. Sandoval's not really going away.
When 2017 begins, the Red Sox will still owe him $58 million over the next three seasons ($17 million in 2017, $18 million each in 2018 and 2019 and a $5 million option buyout for 2020).
For that, the Red Sox will get a player coming off major surgery who's performance has been in decline for several seasons, who can play only one position, and despite nominally being a switch-hitter, can actually only hit lefthanded.
What a treasure.
Trimming one year of salary off the $95 million mega deal signed by Sandoval helps some, but it's really only a small step. There's still a lot of money owed to a player who will soon turn 30.
In the unlikely event that a player with that profile could interest another team, Sandoval will start have to prove that he's healthy next spring. No team is going to take on even a portion of that contract without having it demonstrated that Sandoval's shoulder is in working condition.
Could Sandoval then be pawned off elsewhere? Perhaps. But it will require the Red Sox to subsidize a significant portion of that contract to faciliate a trade.
Whatever that price may be -- half of the reminaining money? - the Red Sox should pay it. It's clear that Sandoval won't ever be a contrbuting player in Boston.
The Red Sox have Shaw, just 25, as their third baseman of the present and future. They have Hanley Ramirez to either handle first base or slide into the DH vacancy to be created by David Ortiz's retirement.
If the Sox want Ramirez to remain at first, they could seek a veteran slugger like Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion to fill the DH job.
Or, they could have Ramirez move to DH and promote Sam Travis to be their first baseman.
Whatever plan they select, there's no role for Sandoval beyond "aging, overpaid, limited role player.''
That's not in anyone's best interest. So until the Red Sox find a more permanent solution, don't be fooled: Sandoval remains a burden - financially and otherwise -- who will, eventually, end up elsewhere.
CHICAGO -- "What We Learned" from the Boston Red Sox' 4-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. . .
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