Sandoval did not slim down following his disastrous 2015 (Boston Globe)
Well guess what, when you're making $19 million a year, you always have something to prove: namely, why you're getting paid so much in the first place. That's why Alex Rodriguez took steroids, even though he already had more natural talent than anyone in the game. As the owner of the richest contract in sports, he felt he had to be the best at his craft--and he was.
Sandoval clearly doesn't feel the same way, especially if he truly doesn't view last year as a disappointment. It wasn't just the worst season of his career, but the worst by a position player who qualified for the batting title last year. Disappointing is an understatement.
But then, if Sandoval did feel like he had something to prove or regretted his performance last year, he might have actually tried to shed some pounds over the winter. Instead, he arrived at Spring Training looking like an over-stuffed panda bear (see above).
I know the Red Sox said they don't care about their third baseman's weight, but they have to be at least a little miffed that he didn't show up in the "best shape of his life." Hanley Ramirez was just as bad as Sandoval last year, and he came to camp noticeably slimmer. That's typical, as most athletes do everything they can to get themselves in peak physical condition following a down year. If they're truly over-the-hill, they need to know it's because their reflexes are too slow or they've lost a few miles off their fastball, but not because they're out of shape. They don't want laziness to be the reason they're out of a job.
Instead, Sandoval continues to slide, as 2015 marked the fourth straight year in which his production declined.
Sandoval has no excuse for not taking care of himself, not when 40 year-olds like David Ortiz and A-Rod look considerably better than he does. And they don't even have to play the field. Sandoval mans third base--a position that requires agility and being quick on your feet. You would think he'd want to slim down after rating as one of the worst defensive third-sackers in the game last year.
You would also think he'd grow tired of becoming a punchline every spring, of seeing the internet littered with unflattering pictures of his prodigious paunch. If you were constantly the butt of jokes like these, wouldn't you want to do something about it?
Then again, if you were earning $19 million, maybe not.