Why is Pablo Sandoval on a 2018 Red Sox calendar?

Pablo Sandoval Red Sox
The Red Sox released Sandoval in July because the third baseman didn't report after being designated for assignment last week. –AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

Pablo Sandoval will be back in a Red Sox uniform next April. Well, on a calendar anyway.

The calendar, produced by Turner Licensing in Waukesha, Wis., is available to order now. There are action photos of individual Red Sox players for each month. January is Drew Pomeranz. February is Jackie Bradley Jr. March is Andrew Benintendi. April is Pablo Sandoval. May is …. wait, what? Pablo Sandoval? Really?

Yes, it’s true. Sandoval, who was released on July 19, 2017 after two and a half dismal years with the Red Sox, is pictured for the month of April. Sandoval is shown making a throw.

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So, how did this happen?

“It was not a mistake,’’ said Michelle Rand, senior brand manager for Turner Licensing.

Rather, it’s more a matter of not being able to predict the future. The deadline for the calendar is always the previous May, and in May of 2017, Sandoval was still a member of the Red Sox organization, just not a very productive one. It’s not an ideal time to forecast what a baseball roster will look like for the following season.

“Obviously trade deadlines have not happened yet. Things can shift around,’’ said Rand. “We partner with MLB, the players’ association, and the teams to look at the roster to make sure that as of the time of the release, everything is accurate.’’

If a team has an inkling that a certain player is not going to be with the organization the following season, they will give the company a heads-up, said Rand, and perhaps recommend another player.

“So, we do end up going to print with players that have been traded, unfortunately,’’ said Rand. “Unfortunately, due to our deadlines, that does happen.’’

You might be asking why the deadline is May. Rand has a logical answer for that as well. The company has to go through three different approvals — MLB, MLBPA, and the teams — in order for the calendars to be released. They are then printed, and shipped to customers for the calendar season.

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“We sell 90 percent of our calendars between September and December,’’ said Rand.

The company is constantly trying to improve the product and avoid situations where players that are no longer with the team are featured. One change it has made is to the cover of each team’s calendar. Rather than focusing on a single player, a group shot adorns the cover. Additionally, rather than just list the statistics of the player featured each month, the text might now focus on a key moment that individual had with the team.

The company offered to pull the Miami Marlins’ 2017 calendar after the death of pitcher Jose Fernandez in a boating accident in September of 2016. The Marlins organization conferred with the family of Fernandez on the matter, and the decision was made to go on with the calendar as is, with the picture of Fernandez serving as a tribute to an athlete whose life was tragically cut short.