The two biggest disappointments for the Red Sox last year were their two highest paid position players. Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. They were both huge busts in their first year with the Red Sox.
And they were also both huge physically. Sandoval looked more like a beer league softball player than an elite third baseman. Ramirez bulked himself up like a middle linebacker instead of someone who was asked to patrol left field for the Red Sox. New baseball boss Dave Dombrowski told both players to get in better shape this offseason and have their weight down when they come to spiring training.
Well Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Ramirez was down to 234 pounds, about 15 pounds less than last season and Sandoval has lost 20-22 pounds.
I say seeing is believing.
I was at Spring Training last season when my colleague Steve Silva snapped the famous picture of Sandoval playing third base with the waist line that screamed I need to go on the Biggest Loser. Weight has always been an issue for Sandoval. Back in the winter of 2014 Sandoval looked slimmer heading into his final spring training with the Giants. He said he lost somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds.
“I wanted to show my maturity. The criticism I got made me grow up. It motivated me,” Sandoval told USA Today Sports in a Spanish-language interview in Feb. 2014. “I feel good not just physically but as a person, because I know I accomplished my goal, which everybody said I couldn’t do in Venezuela.”
He was on the same roller coaster in 2011, when he dropped 38 pounds before coming into Giants camp.
So what happened to that maturity last year when he was grossly out of shape? And why lose just a mere 20 pounds this winter? Why not the same 30 to 40 pounds?
— Steve Silva (@stevesilva) February 17, 2015
Ramirez is a different story. He could come into Fort Myers looking like a jockey and I still don’t think he will be able to play first base. But losing the weight is a step in the right direction for both players.
Ramirez and Sandoval will make a combined $39 million this year and if the Red Sox are to have the success many are hoping for this season, they need their two corner infielders to produce both at the plate and in the field. Not at the dinner plate.