Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a story about how the Pirates are going to emphasize offseason conditioning for their players this year. In linking it, Buster Olney makes a good point that, while probably obvious, isn’t something we hear too much about over the winter:
You’ll be hearing this kind of thing more and more; teams are becoming increasingly active in insisting and ensuring that their players show up to spring training in shape, to improve the chances that they get proper return for their financial investment.
Good point. The very fact that we have “best shape of his life stories” are because it’s not necessarily the case that guys actually, you know, keep in shape over the winter. Most do, but based on the kinds of stories you hear about heading into spring training, one gets the sense that there is room for improvement and that those who do improve will realize some small advantage because of it.