Actually he’s fat. Nevertheless he can be a heck of a ball player: he was awarded the 2012 World Series MVP and has been a 2-time All Star. But for this past season he was a beached whale, laid up with a sore left shoulder.
So what looms for Pablo, AKA The Panda, this 2017? With Christmas fast approaching this 2016, he’d better not go home otherwise what looms is that he and the Sox are doomed. In 2011, over the holiday period, he gained 21 pounds in 21 days feasting it up with family and friends.
But, if this picture of Dec 7th of him and another other guy is real, Red Sox’s Panda has slimmed down a ton and has toned up a lot. Boston would love it if he could show his good glove work that he wowed the Giants with a few years back. And if he can increase his torque to offset a potential loss of power due to less body mass, he should be able to do what he does best: hit line drives and pop homers.
Sandoval, like José Altuve, hails from Venezuela. But there the similarities end. While Pablo is twice the size of Jose, he’s half the player. Whereas Altuve is all effort all the time, Sandoval picks his spots on that attribute, showing it for San Fran and showing none of it for Boston. But he vows that 2017 will be different. He says he’s been getting up at 6:30 to start sweating off the uglies at the Sox’s Fort Myers complex. But his position at third is not guaranteed. He’ll be vying for playing time against Jack-Of-All-Trades-Mr.-Versatility, Brock Holt. If Pablo doesn’t win the starting position he’ll have to be the most expensive switch-hitting-switch-throwing bench warmer ever. (Brock, in 94 games in 2016 had 34 RBI’s a .255 BA and earned $606,000 smackers.)
Perhaps the highlight of Sandoval’s lowlife production and play with Boston was, instead of belting homers he belted out his belt, bursting off his gargantuan gut. But pictures don’t lie and Red Sox President, Dave Dombrowski, avers (basically) that Sandoval is in great shape heading into spring training. Of course it will never happen, but wouldn’t it be great if Boston sued Sandoval for breaching his contract (5 years $95 Million with a 6th year option, exercisable by the team) for (pick a description) putrid performance; misrepresentation; lack of dedication; favoring buffets over baseball; making the wrong decision to leave the Giants for the Red Sox...
And Boston should be embarrassed at their “research” in deciding to make the wrong decision in signing Sandoval...
If he hasn’t got his act together this 2017 season, he might have April to October as his offseason, with his playing for the Magallanes Navigators as his regular season. The latter has been his offseason team these past few years.
He’s come a long way down from his declaration during his press conference in Boston upon his signing that his weight would not be a problem and that he expected to be the everyday third baseman. He said he was looking forward to working with the team’s fitness staff. He had talked of loving the game, respecting the game. He said he didn’t take the barbs about his blubber personally.
Perhaps he should have.
But perhaps what is even scarier than big fat people making big fat bucks in a professional sport, and what is even more shocking than Sandoval shedding the fat this off season - is the fact that baseball management sets such low expectations and are willing to pay WAY TOO MUCH for even those. John Farrell, manager of the team, just wants him to be a “...a very good, everyday Major League player.”
You should know, however, that it seems that the everyday Major League player is slimming down. Sporting charts has a list of the heaviest players – and the latest year any one of the 10 players played was 2012. (So obviously Panda isn’t anywhere on that list. That says something. Of course the chart tracks the heaviest, not the fattest – there is a difference. What is kinda surprising is that 4 of the 10 athletes were pitchers!)
Perhaps slimming down was not an accurate description of weight and fat trends in MLB. While no players have been as heavy as our top 10, as a whole since the 1990’s, according to research undertaken by Penn State and Northwestern University, only 20% of today’s players have what is deemed a normal Body Mass Index. Abnormally (or perhaps this is a normality, given society’s trend to bigger and fatter citizens) 70% of today’s players are overweight. Here’s the proof in the pudding of astounding midriff massiveness.
Therefore let’s cut Sandoval some slack. Let him wear the slacks he wants - let him carry on with his delusion that he shouldn’t consider being a designated hitter - and let us stew in our jealous juices - quietly knowing that his beer gut made him that 17 mill this season past - while our beer guts got stern warnings from our doctor and severe warnings from ourselves to pee late at night.
While Sandoval’s 2016 non-season is to be shamed, let’s not get into body blaming right now. The guy has lost serious fat and weight. But as all of us who have lost such pounds know, keeping it off is absolute murder. Sure, right now he can train all day, but what about when the season starts? What happens then? Will strength and conditioning coach, Kiyoshi Momose, be on call 24/7?
So Pablo’s 2017 could either be a boom - or a bust - or somewhere in between, in that great mushy, wasted/waisted middle.