The poop on Camp Panda

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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?

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”