A photo making the rounds on social media this weekend appears to show Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval has lost a considerable amount of weight.
The Pablo Sandoval contract has been an utter disaster thus far for the Boston Red Sox, but there may still be time for the the third baseman to redeem himself.
A fair share of the blame for Boston’s disappointing 2015 campaign was attributed to Sandoval, who had the worst season of his career and posted a -0.9 WAR that made him among the worst position players in the American League. The only improvement this year was that a shoulder injury limited him to a mere six at-bats, so while he failed to collect a hit, he wasn’t around enough for his negative value to derail the Red Sox.
What makes a Red Sox fan’s blood boil most when they hear Sandoval’s name mentioned? It could be the dismal production or the injury that rendered him useless for virtually an entire season. No, what Sandoval get criticized most for is his weight. The man that was once affectionately referred to as Kung Fu Panda drew the ire of Red Sox Nation when he showed up to spring training dreadfully out of shape.
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Sandoval has always been a big guy, but his weight was a legitimate concern entering this season even by his standards. It wasn’t the shoulder injury that cost Sandoval his starting job, as Travis Shaw outplayed him in the spring to steal the hot corner away from him.
Shaw tailed off dramatically after a solid first half, leaving the third base position wide open heading into 2017. A healthy Sandoval should be in the mix to reclaim that role, but what reason do we have to believe he will earn it?
If we believe what our eyes tell us in a photo circulating social media this weekend, it seems that Sandoval has shed a substantial amount of weight. Sandoval recently visited a workout for FC Barcelona, with the club’s Instagram page posting a photo of Sandoval alongside star forward Neymar.
Look at the Sandoval jersey they are holding. It’s large enough that both of them could seemingly fit into it!
Is this real? Are we really seeing a skinny Sandoval or is it some trick of the camera? Maybe he was caught at a good angle or it could be a new Instagram filter.
Or maybe Sandoval actually has been working hard to get in shape while rehabbing his injured shoulder. Watching his teammates play in the postseason without him may have been the motivation he needed. This could be a sign that he could actually be ready to contribute next year. The Red Sox owe Sandoval nearly $60 million over the next three years (including the $5 million buyout for 2020), so they have no choice but to give him a shot and hope for the best.
It’s going to take more than dropping a few pounds for Sandoval to regain his All-Star form, but this would be a solid start.