The “Kung Fu Panda” has shown up to Spring Training looking like his namesake.
Word out of the Red Sox’ “Fenway South” Spring Training facility said that 3rd Baseman Pablo Sandoval had shown up grossly overweight despite a rigorous offseason workout program devised by manager John Farrell and the training staff to get Sandoval to a healthier playing weight, as his first season with the Red Sox had been a massive disappointment, with Sandoval gaining 125 hits, 10 home runs and 47 RBI off of 470 at-bats that granted him a .245 batting average; a stat line that many consider alarmingly underwhelming for a 5 year, $90 million contract.
John Farrell said in January that Sandoval was “about 20 pounds lighter than the last game he played with us,” but Sandoval said in a Sunday interview upon arrival at Fenway South that he had not even weighed himself since October 2015.
Fans are up in arms over Sandoval’s perceived lack of either effort or discipline, with scores of fans even calling for the team to cut him, especially following Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports tweeted the first photo of the Panda with a noticeable gut during a throw-around.
However, manager John Farrell and President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski say they are not concerned about his weight, with Dombrowski telling the Boston Globe that the team had “people with him every week” and that they wanted him to “get in better overall condition” and that “he has the body type he has” and they “know he’s never going to be svelte.”
Sandoval has had success even at a high weight, winning three World Series with the Giants in 2010, 2012 and 2014, with Sandoval being named World Series MVP in 2012, as well as two all star appearances.