UPDATE: Now Sandoval denies making any comments about his weight.
Part of San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s charm is the fact that he’s ridiculously out of shape. It makes him really fun to watch. Unfortunately those days may be in the past.
Sandoval has told MLB.com Venezuela correspondent Rafael Rojas that he has dropped 42 pounds this offseason. While to some that will seem like tossing a deck chair off the Titanic, it could really help Sandoval stay healthy and the Giants should be happy about the change.
The 27-year-old third baseman is clearly motivated entering this season, as he’ll be a free agent after it is over. He also had to change something, after a disappointing 2013 season.
Last year, Sandoval hit .278, with 14 home runs and 79 RBIs. He also had a .341 on-base percentage, an OPS of .758 and a WAR of 2.5.
The Giants are reportedly willing to negotiate a long-term extension with their third baseman, but they wanted proof he was serious about getting into shape. His weight loss will go a long way to showing a commitment to his health.
Sandoval played in just 117 games in 2011 and 108 in 2012. He played in 141 in 2013, but, as mentioned, his numbers were down. It seems obvious, but guys who are in better shape don’t get injured as much and don’t lose as much steam as the season goes on. The Giants clearly don’t want to shell out big money to a guy if he’s not going to play at a high level consistently.
While seeing a 5-foot-11 guy who weighs well over 250 pounds play third base is fun, it’s not the best idea for a franchise to trust a guy like that with a big-money extension.
On the surface, Sandoval losing weight is likely to be a great thing for him and his team.