The Red Sox on Tuesday completed a trade that, as part of the return package for reliever Tyler Thornburg, sent third baseman Travis Shaw to Milwaukee. Then they completed a much bigger swap for Chris Sale that, in part, sent infielder Yoan Moncada to the White Sox.

Those moves, of course, leave a vacancy at third base. Sure, Brock Holt is still around, but he's best deployed as a super-utility sort. That brings us to Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval, of course, inked a five-year, $95 million contract with Boston prior to the 2015 season, and then had the worst campaign of his career -- with the bat and the glove. Last season, Sandoval played just three games before a season-ending shoulder injury. At this point, it's fair to ask whether his deal with the Red Sox will wind up as one of the worst free agent contracts in history.

Of course, Sandoval is signed through 2019 with a club option for 2020, so there's plenty of time for redemption. On that front, the Red Sox even before Tuesday's horse-trading were planning to give Sandoval a shot to win his old job back. Those deals, as noted, make Sandoval's return to regular duty much more likely. What also makes that more likely is Sandoval's current level of conditioning. Please regard ...

Photos can be somewhat deceiving, of course, but Sandoval certainly appears to be at his best in terms of body composition.

Sandoval has long struggled with weight issues and his devotion to conditioning, so consider this a positive early sign. The challenger will be keeping the weight off during the season, when the schedule doesn't allow for religious adherence to a workout routine. For now, Sandoval looks ready to contribute to a Sox team that on paper is one of the very best in baseball.

Yes, Sandoval has become a bit of a punchline recently, but let's not forget he was a darn good player for the Giants for a long time. He's also still just 30, so a renaissance certainly isn't out of the question. Don't read too much into offseason reports of better fitness and health, but given Sandoval's struggles in this regard, it might carry more significance.