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Twins Cut Miguel Sano’s Winter Season Short

Miguel Sano’s off-season plans change directions once again: According to reports from the Dominican Republic, the Minnesota Twins have informed their prized slugger that he needs to stop playing winter ball.
Image courtesy of David Richard, USA Today
Sano was not in the lineup for the Estrella Orientales on Tuesday and was absent again on Wednesday. When prompted, Sano told reporters that he received the news from the organization on Tuesday that they would like him to no longer participate in the league. The message was that the team wanted Sano to rest so that he could enter spring training at full strength. Sano said that he wanted to continue to play for his home country but would respect the wishes of his employer.

Sano, who had played just 15 games with the team (none of which were spent in the outfield), missed 10 games while attending a card show in Chicago. In the short stretch in the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano, he posted a .241/.344/.426 line with a 15/8 K/BB ratio while hitting two home runs including this mighty wallop:


The timing for the request is odd but not without its merits. After all, Sano finished the 2015 regular season dealing with a hamstring injury that limited his play. While the early offseason hubbub revolved around Sano’s transition to the outfield, as was pointed out in early November, Sano did not expect to see any time in the outfield in winter ball, saying that he was just told to get a feel for the position during batting practice and warm-ups. The Twins later clarified that they would use the time during spring camp to teach Sano a corner outfield position. However, if injury was a concern, why let him participate in winter ball at all?

The main goal the Twins outlined for Sano’s offseason was to trim down. According to the Star Tribune’s LaVelle Neal, Sano finished the season at 270 pounds -- nearly 8 pounds heavier than his measured 262 at the beginning of camp and 40 pounds more than his weight when he checked into camp in 2013, which he then considered his “ideal weight”. An emphasis was placed on his diet and conditioning this offseason and his withdraw for winter ball may allow the organization to keep close tabs on his weight, particularly if he reports to Fort Myers.

With the Twins’ stated intentions of using him as an outfielder in 2016, ensuring that Sano does not inflict further damage to his hamstring while monitoring his conditioning does not seem unreasonable.


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48 Comments

So we have a guy who actually wants to continue to get better, play more baseball, work on his swing, his 3rd base defense etc in the offseason, instead of shutting him down we should be commending him for his effort. Instead, poor roster management has lead us to shutting him down so we can monitor him for a diet in order to have him be something he is not (an OF)

    • mikelink45, nytwinsfan and hybridbear like this

I think rest makes sense. 

    • Raven and nicksaviking like this
Maybe it's just me, but Sano looks like he's pushing 3 bills in that HR clip.
    • Willihammer likes this

Yeah, this smells to me like the Twins don't like the way something is going. Whether it's the hammy or the weight not coming off (or worse, continuing to balloon), they may have gotten a whiff of something trending the wrong way.

 

Another possibiliy, of course, is that they want him in Ft Myers now so they can start teaching him the outfield, rather than waiting until ST to begin that process.

    • Seth Stohs, gunnarthor, nicksaviking and 4 others like this

If he is hitting 40 bombs a year and posting a .950 OPS I could really care less about his weight, he shouldn't be running down fly balls in the OF anyways, and especially shouldn't be forced to do it because he is "blocked" by a league average player like Plouffe.

    • Halsey Hall, mikelink45, nytwinsfan and 3 others like this

All of a sudden, I'm getting a bit worried about next season. Sano needs to play 3B, but the Twins want to play Mr. Average, Trevor Plouffe, ahead of him, forcing the 270-pound (likely more now, after seeing that video) to the OF. Now they yank Sano from winter ball... Not to mention it's looking more like Ricky "Lightning Ball" Nolasco will be a member of the starting rotation, blocking much better pitchers. Oh, yes, and the Twins have about four DH candidates, including Park, Arcia and Vargas, none of which are proven at the Major League level... Not to mention they need another outfielder, because they traded one of their best defensive outfielders for a backup catcher. Meanwhile, the winter meetings have gone by without the Twins doing anything, outside of signing AAA infielder Buck Britton (love the name though), who is likely nothing more than a minor-league filler. Oh, and I almost forgot... The Twins desperately need bullpen help, but they have done nothing to address that. I would love to be a fly on the wall in Terry Ryan's office to know what exactly is going on over there at Target Field... 

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Parker Hageman
Dec 10 2015 10:11 AM
Another possibiliy, of course, is that they want him in Ft Myers now so they can start teaching him the outfield, rather than waiting until ST to begin that process.

 

 

I wonder if the trade market for third basemen like Plouffe may have played a role. While it remains to be seen, the A's seemingly didn't get much for Brett Lawrie -- who is very similar to Plouffe. It could be that the Twins started to realize that during the winter meetings and decided they actually need to get Sano ready for outfield play.

 

    • SD Buhr likes this
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Parker Hageman
Dec 10 2015 10:17 AM

Twins say it was entirely Sano's decision. Sano told DR media that it was Twins. Interesting.

 

    • ashbury and nytwinsfan like this

 

I think rest makes sense. 

 

I agree... and if he can get down to 250-255 by spring training, that might be good. I saw a picture of Sano from yesterday... He looks like he's got about 10% body fat. So, even if he's at about 265 still, oh well. 

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Halsey Hall
Dec 10 2015 10:25 AM

 

I wonder if the trade market for third basemen like Plouffe may have played a role. While it remains to be seen, the A's seemingly didn't get much for Brett Lawrie -- who is very similar to Plouffe. It could be that the Twins started to realize that during the winter meetings and decided they actually need to get Sano ready for outfield play.

That's quite possible. Plus he will be throwing the football around with Perry, and you know Perry will have his eyes on Sano's weight. He'll be on the scale a few times a day. That and the fact that other Twins will be there working out can't help but get his mind on the season and off of winter ball.Perkins is there now and will be til around Jan 21st. I can't help but wonder how many 100's of miles Sano will put on between now and the start of camp. 

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whosafraidofluigirussolo
Dec 10 2015 10:30 AM

Maybe it's just me, but Sano looks like he's pushing 3 bills in that HR clip.

 

Given the overall quality of that video, I wouldn't trust it for information on the actual shape of a person.

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Bill Brown69
Dec 10 2015 10:54 AM

Another possibility is a number of players including Santanna last year have been dinged for performance enhancers while taking something they "knew nothing" about in their home country.

    • 70charger likes this
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Parker Hageman
Dec 10 2015 11:10 AM

 

Twins say it was entirely Sano's decision. Sano told DR media that it was Twins. Interesting.

 

 

According to Berardino's report, Ryan told reporters that he specifically did not shut Sano down. It may have come from someone else in the organization (Brad Steil?) but it did not come from Ryan. 

    • nicksaviking likes this

I don't really have a problem with it.  It's December.  He should have some time off. It'll be a long season for him next year so he should be rested.

    • howieramone2 likes this

 

So we have a guy who actually wants to continue to get better, play more baseball, work on his swing, his 3rd base defense etc in the offseason, instead of shutting him down we should be commending him for his effort. Instead, poor roster management has lead us to shutting him down so we can monitor him for a diet in order to have him be something he is not (an OF)

Except he has only played 15 games, missed 10 games while attending a trade show in Chicago and apparently took advantage of the opportunity to eat some pizza there. Does that look like a guy working on his game or a guy on vacation playing in a beer league a couple times a week? Roster management will probably work just fine if Sano comes in at around 250 lbs.  Not so well if he comes in at 300 and then you will be criticizing the Twins for not keeping tabs on one of their best players or insisting that he get in shape.  300 pounds really doesn't play that well at 3rd base or at the plate either.   

    • Oldgoat_MN, 70charger and howieramone2 like this

 

Twins say it was entirely Sano's decision. Sano told DR media that it was Twins. Interesting.

 

 

Someone else referenced this, speculating that someone other than Ryan made the call. That's possible. Another possibility is that there was some confusion translating the original report (I'm assuming a Spanish language publication) into English.

 

In any case, I really don't think this is the emergency some people see it as. It's December. They want Sano to rest. So what?

    • birdwatcher and dxpavelka like this

 

If he is hitting 40 bombs a year and posting a .950 OPS I could really care less about his weight, he shouldn't be running down fly balls in the OF anyways, and especially shouldn't be forced to do it because he is "blocked" by a league average player like Plouffe.

If he's hitting 10 bombs a year because he can't get off the trainers table, all we'll hear here is "why didn't management take care of him?"  Perhaps putting him in the OF is the best way to make Sano think about pushing away from the buffet table one plate sooner.  "Hey, I'd better stay under 300lbs if I have to run 50 feet."

 

According to Berardino's report, Ryan told reporters that he specifically did not shut Sano down. It may have come from someone else in the organization (Brad Steil?) but it did not come from Ryan. 

We know how much pressure these guys are under to play for their home teams. It doesn't surprise me that the 'plan' should be that the Twins take the fall for Sano not playing during the regular season. And he may still be allowed to play in the Caribbean league playoffs if his team makes it.

 

If he's hitting 10 bombs a year because he can't get off the trainers table, all we'll hear here is "why didn't management take care of him?"  Perhaps putting him in the OF is the best way to make Sano think about pushing away from the buffet table one plate sooner.  "Hey, I'd better stay under 300lbs if I have to run 50 feet."

Putting him in the OF is also a way of making a potentially once in a generation type of hitter overthink the defensive part of the game at the potential expense of his offensive game.Leave him at the spot he's comfortable at.If somebody needs to move let it be Plouffe.It would only increase his eventual trade value.

    • nytwinsfan likes this

He probably wanted some time off. Which is fine by me. Wanted to let them down easy and say the Twins didn't want him to play. Ryan would make a terrible wingman. You should just go along with the lie at that point.

    • TRex likes this

I started reading the headline: "Twins Cut Miguel Sano........"

Luckily I was wearing Depends.

    • glunn, jbissell and Platoon like this

 

Putting him in the OF is also a way of making a potentially once in a generation type of hitter overthink the defensive part of the game at the potential expense of his offensive game.Leave him at the spot he's comfortable at.If somebody needs to move let it be Plouffe.It would only increase his eventual trade value.

 

I really don't think there's any reason to believe this. It's not as if standing in RF will make Sano suddenly forget how to swing a bat. Remember, he wasn't at third base when he was playing as the DH. Some people say they feel uncomfortable if they don't play defense. I don't think it affected Sano at all.

 

There is also a contemporary, glaring comparison we could make. Miguel Cabrera has rotated positions throughout his career (3B, 1B, DH, and yes, LF). I don't know. I think he's a pretty good hitter. Thinking more broadly, I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make regarding the affect playing outfield has on one's offensive performance. Are you speaking generally or about Sano in particular? Is it that OF isn't Sano's "native" position? Because there are some pretty good hitters who have played OF. Trout. Bonds. Griffey Jr. Mays. Ruth. Etc.

He did just have Tommy John surgery 20 months ago. Rest makes sense to me, even if he's not a pitcher.

No matter the specifics, no matter who's decision, it does seem odd that the Twins would allow him to play winter ball, he'd choose to play winter ball, and then all of a sudden, he's not going to play winter ball.

 

There could be benign reasons for this, but let's not kid ourselves...there are no GOOD reasons for this.

    • Parker Hageman, Jerr, nicksaviking and 2 others like this

Sano is obviously a HUGE (no pun intended)foundation of this franchise moving forward.  It makes sense that knowing publicly they have stated they want him playing in the outfield next season that the process of the transition starts sooner rather than later.  My guess is that they want him to drop some weight so his body is able to hold up along with covering more ground in the outfield.  I would think he will also play some 3rd along with DH'ing.  I can for see Trevor spelling Joe at 1st on days Joe DH'S and Sano coming in to play 3rd on a few of those occasions.  


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