In news earlier this week from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Pablo Sandoval has decided to do this winter workouts in Venezuela instead of in Arizona, where the team could keep better tabs on him. Apparently, Venezuela was not part of the original plan either, so this last minute change could spell bad news for the 3B who is coming up onto a contract year.
This is not the most desirable development for the Giants. When I asked head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner if he would have preferred Sandoval to come to Arizona, he said, “Of course. But he can do what he wants and stay out there. It’s fine. I don’t care where he’s at as long as he’s taking care of himself and gets back into shape.”
As most fans know, the Panda tends to put on weight during the offseason, especially when he’s not being closely monitored by the team. According to Schulman, the Giants do have a minor-league trainer in Venezuela that is going to help minor his progress. However, considering this is the offseason that could make or break Sandoval’s next contract and how much someone is willing to pay for a player who has proven to not be able to keep himself healthy and at a somewhat reasonable weight, it could be a pretty big risk to take.
He’ll have the motivation to come into Spring Training healthy, with that contract issue looming. Perhaps doing things on his own, his way, is what he’ll need to grow up and take responsibility for his career, without the careful watchful eye of the Giants staff.
But still, it leaves this fan with an uneasy feeling in my stomach about the future of Pablo Sandoval with the Giants.