The weight of a player when they report to Spring Training, after an off-season away from the team, should not really be significantly dissected until the player starts to play games against other teams. However, a sure sign that would prove that a player did not commit himself properly in the off-season would be if they showed up to Spring Training looking like Bartolo Colon. On the other hand Colon has always pitched on the plus side and had a stellar campaign in 2005, when he won the CY Young.
One player that has always played with a heavy figure is none other than CC Sebathia. He has proved to be able to excel while having extra weight throughout his career but has wisely cut off some pounds this off-season. Sebathia trimmed off 25 pounds largely by cutting Cap’n Crunch from his diet, as well as other sugary foods. This should help him be able to continue to be the durable pitcher that he has been during his stellar career. He is one pitcher that the Yankees don’t need to worry about when it comes to their weight.
Newcomers Garcia and Colon are heavy pitchers, weighing in at 250 and 245, respectively. They should consult David Wells, who is in Spring Training as a special pitching assistant, regarding how to pitch well with extra girth on their body. Wells was never in the best condition but he was able to throw a perfect game and was a three-time All-Star. If Garcia can pitch like he did last year, while benefiting from Wells’ knowledge, the Yankees might be able to have a hidden gem at the number five spot in the rotation.
Another pitcher whose weight has been a subject of some controversy in recent days has been Joba Chamberlain. He is noticeably heavier than last season but it is reportedly mostly muscle. It is still unprofessional of Chamberlain to arrive weighing more but the only thing that matters is if he can control his pitches when it matters. Since he will be pitching in the bullpen this might not be a major issue. This might even help him have the consistent mid to high 90’s velocity that he had during his magical rookie season.
On the hitting side of the equation, the Yankees also recently signed an outfielder, Andruw Jones who has battled weight issues for much of his baseball career. Jones is currently listed at 230 pounds but in recent years weighed 250 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His average since 2007 has never been higher than .230, but he did manage to slug 19 home-runs last season. Jones is reportedly in better shape than last season, and if he can hit a similar amount of home-runs, stay injury free and play solid defense he will be a solid fourth outfielder.
This is a critical Spring Training for Chamberlain because if he can use his increased weight to his advantage he can really be an asset in the seventh inning. If he can’t do this, he might be sent to the minors and his increased weight will be used as a scapegoat.
Since Colon has had prolonged weight issues during his career, while not even pitching in the league last season, I don’t see him having much of a role with the team, but Garcia and Chamberlain can certainly be assets to be relied upon. They could learn a lot from Sebathia and Wells during their time in Tampa.