Should The Twins Shop Miguel Sano?
Image courtesy of © Michael McLoone-USA TODAY SportsMiguel Sano is Good:
I love Miguel Sano, and you should too. Trading him should make you nervous if you remember a man named David Ortiz. He’s been an above average hitter according to wRC+ in every season but two and is almost 20% above in his career as a whole. In addition, he’s locked up for about $10m/year with a team option through 2023.
As we all know, Sano is incredibly streaky and swings and misses… a lot. That being said, he also set the pace for Major League Baseball when it comes to average exit velocity, hard hit % and barrel rate in 2020. He also shifted to 1B and held his own at a new position this last year and looks to be a viable option to remain there for the near future if it fits a team’s needs. Sano should fetch a good amount of value on the trade market.
NL Designated Hitters:
The National League will likely adopt the DH moving forward, a position some feel Sano is destined for in the future. Despite Sano’s encouraging debut at 1B, it’s fair to wonder what the future holds for him in the field considering his 6’4 frame and injury history. A team could just cut bait on his transition to 1B and utilize him solely in their lineup to avoid injury.
Furthermore, the DH was sort of sprung on the NL this year, and they largely suffered at that position. Competitive teams relied on players like Matt Carpenter (84 wRC+), Ryan Braun (99 wRC+), and Jay Bruce (83 wRC+) for example. There should be no shortage of teams willing to pay handsomely for a controllable slugger to immediately step in as they try and plan more carefully for a full season of designated hitters in the NL.
Kirilloff the First Baseman:
Alex Kirilloff is hopefully here to stay after impressing in his trial by fire in the playoffs. While he played right field and is assumed by many to be a corner outfielder, Kirilloff actually spent close to half of his time at 1B in 2019. The Twins had the foresight to recognize their inevitable log jam in the outfield and began the switch. Kirilloff’s bat appears to be up to the task when it comes to producing at the level of an MLB corner infielder. Furthermore, reports are fairly high on Kirilloff’s defensive prowess on first base. The Twins did a fantastic job in getting Sano acclimated in a hurry, and Kirilloff already has about 300 innings more at the position than he did.
If the Twins believe in Kirilloff’s bat enough to hand the position over to him, trading Sano opens a nice path to keep Rooker on the team as well as give Larnach a chance in the outfield. All of this while shedding payroll and getting a healthy return for Miguel Sano.
Do I actively want the Twins to trade Miguel Sano? Not really. The topic of shaking up their core is a bit nerve racking when looking at the regular season success of this squad over the last two years. That being said, if the front office feels they need a change to get over the postseason hump, I’m interested in what they can scheme up.
There are too many other core pieces that are valuable and affordable i.e. Kepler, Polanco, Buxton. Sano has ample replacement options and players of his skill set may be at an all time high when it comes to trade value. If a shake up of the Twins core is on the horizon, I think Miguel Sano may be the odd man out. Do you agree?
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