The poop on Camp Panda

8 Comments

Last week Bob told us all about “Camp Panda,” the intensive conditioning regimen for the Giants’ portly slugger Pablo Sandoval.  Fresh details today from the San Francisco Chronicle:

With a host of others, including Giants head trainer Dave Groeschner and strength and conditioning coordinator Ben Potenziano, infielder Pablo Sandoval climbed Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain on Thursday, 54 minutes up, 38 minutes down, and thought he was done for the day.

Then, Potenziano gave him the bad news: another weightlifting circuit and 30 more minutes of cardio.

“He was a little poopy-pants the rest of the afternoon,” Potenziano said. “He wasn’t his happy self.”

Lucky he got the panda nickname first, because otherwise there’d be no way he’d avoid being called poopy-pants for the rest of his career.

Beyond that, however, it’s a fascinating read.  The extent to which the Sandoval and the Giants are working on his diet and putting his body through the wringer is impressive.  How many times have you wondered what would have happened if a guy like Mo Vaughn or Kevin Mitchell or Dimitri Young had taken care of themselves? With Sandoval, we’re going to get to see it.

That is, if he can keep up the discipline as he heads down to his native Venezuela for winter ball.  His trainer is a bit worried:

As Potenziano said, Sandoval is an “icon” in his home country, where people will tackle each other to provide him food and drink.

That includes Sandoval’s family. Potenziano has urged [Sandoval’s brother] Michael to “attack their mom” to make sure she prepares healthy and prudently sized meals.

Moms are rough when it comes to portion control.  But can I make one request?  Given what’s been happening with ballplayers’ families in Venezuela lately, do you suppose we could use a phrase other than “attack” when it comes to talking about a VZ player’s mom?

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
3 Comments

Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.