SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have spent years trying to convince third baseman Pablo Sandoval to get into better shape. Sandoval's impending free agency appears to have finally done the trick.

According to Rafael Rojas of Meridiano TV, Sandoval told reporters in his native Venezuela that he has dropped 42 pounds this offseason. The dramatic change comes after a disappointing season for Sandoval, who looked poised for a breakout following the 2012 World Series but hit just 14 homers last season while struggling with his range at third base.

San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval (48) at-bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth inning at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. on
San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval (48) at-bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth inning at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) ( Nhat V. Meyer )

Sandoval weighed more than 280 pounds at one point in the 2013 season, according to team sources, but he started slimming down during the summer after hiring his brother, Luis, as a full-time personal chef. Another brother, Michael, has been documenting Pablo's offseason workouts on social media. The 27-year-old slugger has gone through two-a-day workouts while preparing for the upcoming season and will get back in the batter's box Friday, when he plays for Magallanes in the Venezuelan League semifinals.

The Giants left Sandoval's offseason conditioning in his hands, confident that his contract status would provide sufficient motivation. Despite the past weight issues and a history of trips to the disabled list, Sandoval figures to have a long line of suitors in a market devoid of impact bats. General manager Brian Sabean, anticipating a bidding war next winter, said the club could approach Sandoval with a contract extension sometime before opening day.

"Position players, especially a switch-hitter with run-producing capability, are hard to find," Sabean said at the winter meetings. "He's not going to be short on suitors, trust me, no matter what his weight is."

For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AlexPavlovic.