SAN FRANCISCO – You might have seen photos or video of Pablo Sandoval running cones, doing plyometrics and otherwise finding various ways to break a sweat this offseason.
[REWIND: Pablo Sandoval's offseason workouts]
Now we can put a number on all the labor.
Sandoval is telling the Venezuelan media that he has lost 42 pounds this offseason, according to Rafael Rojas of Meridiano TV. Sandoval met with reporters after being added to the roster for Magallanes for the Venezuelan League playoffs.
Images of Sandoval, shared on social media by his brother, Michael, certainly appear to show that the Panda has lost weight from last season. My sources tell me that Sandoval had gotten as heavy as 280 pounds last year, when a foot issue landed him on the disabled list and his performance noticeably slipped. He lost range at third base, went more than 300 plate appearances without a home run and finished with a .278/.341/.417 performance that was far below expectations for the reigning World Series MVP.
Sandoval shed some weight during the second half last season, saying last August that he lost 22 pounds in six weeks thanks in part to his oldest brother, Luis, who graduated from culinary school and was working as his full-time personal chef.
Rather than go to Arizona in the offseason to work with Triple Threat Performance, Sandoval told the Giants he would spend this winter in Venezuela. In the past, he would come back heavier after visiting home. So club officials had reason to be concerned.
It appears Sandoval made the right choice, though. He certainly has more reason than ever to be motivated, since he’s entering the final season of his three-year, $17.15 million contract that took him through his arbitration years.
He’s primed to enter a very thin free-agent market after this season. And as a 27-year-old switch hitter, he’s incredibly young to be reaching free agency, too. A big season would put him in line for a huge payday.
As Giants GM Brian Sabean said at the winter meetings last month, “He’s not going to be short on suitors, trust me. No matter what his weight is.”
Sabean said he’s just one voice in the room, but he’s in favor of talking to Sandoval about an extension in spring training. Given that an AL club could have less fear about his weight or be willing to offer a longer term deal, though, it’s hard to imagine Sandoval would cash in his chips so soon.
It’s been reported that Sandoval has a new agent, but that’s not entirely true. He’s been with Gustavo Vasquez for many years; Vasquez simply broke with Morgan Advisory Group to form his own agency.
Regardless, it’s in Sandoval’s best interests to be in the best possible shape. And with exactly one month before camp opens in Scottsdale, it appears he has made good use of his offseason thus far.