Pablo Sandoval is in the best shape of his life?

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Maybe not. But Hank Schulman says that the Panda is on his way there:

Yes, yes, yes. You’ve heard this before. You’re skeptical, and you should be, until you see what he looks like in spring training.

Nevertheless, I’ve heard from a number of folks that Pablo Sandoval’s conditioning work at a private facility in Arizona is paying dividends … [Rich] Aurilia lives in Phoenix and told me today he saw Pablo at a shopping mall just before Christmas. Sandoval told him he had lost 17 pounds.

So it’s second hand. And given that it was a self-estimate, it was probably overstated (has anyone who has ever had a hint of a weight problem ever done anything different?)  And even it was 17 pounds, given where Sandoval was, ten pounds of it was probably just water weight bloat.

Forgive me if I’m not being terribly charitable to Sandoval here. But given how much weight he put on last year and how unsuccessful his weight-loss program was last offseason, I’m skeptical.

Tom Ricketts says the Cubs don’t have any more money

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Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.

First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.

More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:

The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.