Will we see a fitter Pablo Sandoval in 2016?
Will we see a slimmer, fitter Pablo Sandoval in 2016? (USATSI)

Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval has long struggled with his weight. For a long time, he remained a useful contributor in spite of his girth, but last season -- the first of a five-year, $95 million contract he signed with Boston -- he put up easily the worst numbers of his career.

The new Sox front office has asked more of Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez on the conditioning front, and Ramirez certainly seems to have taken the hint. Now, it's Sandoval who has responded. Here's this from Sean McAdam of CSN New England:

"Right now," said Farrell on Wednesday, "he's [Sandoval's] roughly 20 pounds lighter than the last game he played for us in 2015. I know for a fact that both guys [Sandoval and Ramirez] went into the off-season with some clear markers, with some clear goals to achieve from a physical standpoint. Both are doing that."

For what it's worth, Sandoval has shed weight before, but, as is the case for many people who struggle with weight issues, he wasn't able to keep it off. He also reportedly grew tired of the Giants' repeated requests for him to get in better shape.

In the here and now, the Red Sox will need, among other things, bounce-back seasons from Ramirez and Sandoval if they are to contend in 2016. Consider this a good start.