In the early days of spring training, all of the reports regarding the Giants portly third baseman sound encouraging. He is down to 240 lbs from 260 (this would mean a 20lb weight reduction and not the 30+ lbs that was reported before camp started). He has been working hard all offseason and he has a confidence that seemed to be lacking last season.
I think the confidence part is the biggest key to Pablo. Even though he showed that he could put up All-Star type numbers once, I think that as soon as his slump became extended he started to think that he was never going to be able to do it again in the big leagues.
Much has been made of all of the personal issues in his life last season, and I think that if those are the things that affected him so dramatically last season, then boy is he in trouble. Sure a divorce is hard but so is life and if Pablo is going to be affected every time a little adversity creeps in to his life then he is going to have a hard time succeeding and not just at baseball either.
That being said, I think that he used the offseason well. He got the weight off, learned hitting from Bonds, and reported to camp early. I think that he got the message that the Giants' brass sent him at the end of last season and he is poised to have a rebound. Then the Panda hats will be back in full force!