After being told by the Boston Red Sox to lose weight last offseason, Pablo Sandoval arrived at the team’s camp in February looking like this:
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) February 21, 2016
That was certainly not what the Red Sox had in mind, and Sandoval broke camp behind Travis Shaw on the Boston depth chart at third base (Shaw has since been traded). That’s after Sandoval signed a five-year, $95 million deal with the Red Sox before the 2015 season.
Things didn’t get any better for Sandoval in the 2016 regular season, as he only had seven plate appearances before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. And he had zero hits in those seven plate appearances, but he did break one belt.
This was all followed by Sandoval’s ex-trainer saying that the third baseman needs a “babysitter” for his food issues.
Well, it seems that Sandoval has really kicked it into gear. The Red Sox’s Spanish Twitter account tweeted out this video of a much slimmer Sandoval on Wednesday:
And Sandoval shared this video of himself boxing:
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski appeared on Buster Olney’s podcast over the last few days, and talked about Sandoval’s improved shape, as well as what he feels would be realistic 2017 production from Sandoval (transcript via MassLive):
“He’s in great shape,” Dombrowski said. “He’s worked very hard this wintertime. I think he’s driven to show that he’s still a real solid major league player. I think he can come back and be a good, dependable, everyday third baseman for us from an offensive and defensive perspective.
“I think if he can go out there and hit us .270 to .275 and hit 12 to 15 home runs and knock in 70 to 75 runs at third base for us, I don’t think that’s asking too much for him,” Dombrowski added. “And he’s done those types of things in the past. Now, he has to go and do it. He has to go and perform. But I think at his age, which he’s still in the prime of his career, with the focus that he has, with the talent that he has, I think it’s very realistic expectations. He doesn’t need to carry us. He just needs to give us solid play at third base.”
Regardless of whether or not it translates into better production on the baseball field, good for Sandoval on putting in the hard work and getting into much better shape, and we certainly wish him the best for his 2017 season.