Crazy pic of CC Sabathia at a wedding over the weekend:
But, before you go acting all shocked, go read Ken Rosenthal’s column, in which Sabathia tells him he really hasn’t lost a ton of weight. Rather, he’s just toning up and stuff. It’s possible our reaction to this pic may be a function of seeing Sabathia in pants that fit as opposed to his physical fitness. Dude wears gigantic uniform pants.
Either way, I’ve always remained interested in Sabathia’s fitness level. Or at least the discussion about it. A lot of people remain convinced that a little extra weight on Sabathia, especially since so much of it appears to be in his legs, is actually good for his pitching because it provides a strong base and all of that. This past season he seemed to be carrying around less bulk than usual and some have attributed his lack of effectiveness in 2013 to that.
I’m not sure any strong or informed conclusions can be drawn from any of this. And even if his weight is a factor, I feel like, as is the case with every other pitcher, arm health and fatigue and all of that factor in. Sabathia has a lot of miles on the odometer at this point. He’s not a machine.
Matt Adams projects to open the 2014 baseball season as the Cardinals’ starting first baseman and is preparing for that role with an extensive offseason diet and workout program. Listed last year at 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, he showed off a much more slender physique this weekend at the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warmup fan festival in downtown St. Louis.
The 25-year-old is, by all indications, in The Very Best Shape of His Life. MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch had a chat with Adams early Sunday morning …
And Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides the video evidence …
Adams batted .284/.335/.503 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI in 108 games last season for the NL champs.
Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles is 23 years-old, so if he isn’t in The Best Shape of His Life he’s doing things wrong. Still, this feature does not pass judgments. It merely chronicles history. And sketchy claims of superior, unprecedented fitness:
New White Sox reliever Scott Downs may be getting up there in years, but Chicago has a great physical specimen to work with. Here’s Downs, talking to MLB.com:
“I’m in the best shape of my life the last couple of years, and if my arm holds up, I still feel like I can go out and compete and get outs. I still feel like I can pitch for another four or five years. I want to pitch until they take the uniform off of my back.”
Appeals to physical fitness or not, I think claiming you’re in the Best Shape of Your Life over the winter is way better for an aging pitcher than having to claim that you’re working on a new pitch or that you’re changing your arm slot or something. A BSOHL claim is much stronger. Those other ones have the whiff of desperation to them.
Add another name to the list, as Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is getting into The Best Shape Of His Life:
The Cubs are making sure shortstop Starlin Castro reports to Spring Training in better shape. The team assigned strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic to work with Castro for three weeks in November. In January, Castro will start workouts at the Cubs’ facility in the Dominican. …
“I think we felt like there’s no reason he can’t be a little faster and he can’t have more range than he does,” [general manager Jed] Hoyer said. “He’s at that age–he’s going to be 24 years old–where he’s going to start to put on a little bit of that man strength.”
Maybe, but I’m 30 now and still waiting for “a little bit of that man strength” to arrive.