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Diving Into The Offseason: A Sano Extension?

In the last week, we have considered potential contract extensions for Brian Dozier and Byron Buxton. Today, we will attempt to consider what a possible long-term extension might look like for Third Baseman/Designated Hitter Miguel Sano.

Sano came up and showed his promise in the 2nd half of the 2015 season. He struggled in his sophomore season of 2016, a struggle that still included 25 home runs. In 2017, he was having his best season yet, but it came to an end six weeks too early when he fouled a ball off of his shin, causing a stress reaction.

While there are obvious short term and long-term concerns with Sano, it is very clear that he can be a game-changer in the middle of any lineup in the game. He’ll likely set strikeout records, but he can also produce like few can.
Image courtesy of Evan Habeeb, USA Today
Sano will turn 25 in May. He ended the 2017 season with 2.095 years of service. He’ll be eligible for arbitration following the 2018 season unless an extension can be worked out. Sano signed back in 2009 for $3.15 million. He’s made league minimum, or a bit above the first three seasons in the big leagues.

In the Byron Buxton article, I mentioned the salaries of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. While I didn’t put Buxton - and won’t put Sano - in their level, there has to be an understanding that that is the level of player that the Twins tandem could become. Could. That is the risk in a long-term contract for Sano. He could make more going year-to-year and become a free agent at age. That’s the path that Manny Machado has taken.
Or, he could take some serious cost certainty for a long time. There are several really good sluggers who have taken the cost certainty of a long-term deal. Here are a few:

Posted Image

Those numbers give us something to start with. Paul Goldschmidt is one of the best, most underrated, perennial All Stars who have an MVP you’ll find. Anthony Rizzo’s deal looks like a steal now, but it was signed a year or two earlier in the process. Now obviously Ryan Zimmerman and David Wright signed their first long-term extensions a long time ago, so we’ll have to adjust from there. Kyle Seager, as you can see, signed a year later, and that’s how he got his deal to $100 million level.

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** Before we get to unveiling what a potential Miguel Sano contract extension might look like, here is a quick pitch for your quintessential Hot Stove guide: The 2018 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook is now available for preorder. Click the link to claim your copy, and you'll get it as soon as it's ready, after the postseason concludes. Same deal as last year: name your price. Recommendation is $5, but you can pay as little or as much as you wish. We appreciate any and all support! Plenty more details are on the way in the coming weeks. You can check out last year's edition for an idea of what to expect. **

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Here is what I would throw at Sano as an offer. Feel free to discuss.

Posted Image

So that is a six year, $66 million deal with an option for 2024 at $25 million with a $5 million buyout. In that deal, the Twins buyout Sano’s final pre-arbitration season, three arbitration seasons and two free agency seasons (with an option for one more). Assuming the Twins would pick up that 2024 option on Sano’s contract, he would then become a 31-year-old free agent with the potential for one more huge payday.

So what do you think? Is this a contract that the Twins should like? It may feel a little low, but it does include the $1 million pre-arbitration number and a reasonable arbitration-one season. There needs to be incentive for the Twins to make such a deal, rather than going year-to-year. Sano has shown a lot of potential, but he hasn’t done a lot of the things that Goldschmidt or others listed above had at this point in their careers. The dollars in the game are higher, so there’s some adjustment for that.

Of course, Sano’s side would ask for more. The Twins side would likely ask for a little less. But to me, this feels like a good medium ground.

One other possibility would be a three year deal to buy out two of his arbitration years allow him to get an arbitration offseason and become a free agent. Or, the two sides could re-evaluate the dollars in the game and Sano’s value in it.

What would you offer?

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49 Comments

I like it Seth.You can wrap that deal up when you join the front office.Since they picked up John Manual I figure you are next. Who follows prospects more than you do?

    • glunn and tarheeltwinsfan like this
Nice article! I think you meant eligible for arbitration after 2018, not free agency.
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Old Twins Cap
Oct 18 2017 08:50 PM

Nope.

 

I go year to year with this guy.

 

Make him work, make him prove it.

 

He does not respond well to being on easy street.

    • USAFChief, Blake and Jerr like this

Nope.
 
I go year to year with this guy.
 
Make him work, make him prove it.
 
He does not respond well to being on easy street.


Concur.
    • Blake, Jerr, tarheeltwinsfan and 1 other like this
I have a feeling that people would feel differently right now if he hadn't fouled that ball of his leg, and finished with 35 HRs and 100+ RBI.

But, there are a number of people out there who honestly believe that the injury is somehow correlated to his size or a lack of work ethic.

I'm in favor of signing all of these young guys to long contracts right now before they're ridiculously expensive. But, let's be honest, it's easy to say that because there's no real opportunity cost here. The roster will be the same whether they extend them or not. Saving that money isn't going to bring a premium FA. They'll add a mediocre peice or two, and if doesn't work with this group it'll be another 10-year rebuild.

My worry is they string Sano, Buxton, Berrios, etc out through arbitration, and they get close enough to free agency where it's impossible to sign them. Then, best case scenario, they end up trading them for cents on dollar.

I still have a hard time believing that this franchise will operate any differently with the dismissal of Ryan. I'd like to think Falvine has the where withal and freedom from ownership to prevent that, but we'll see.
    • raindog, kellyvance and Vanimal46 like this

Great series Seth...here's what the updated running total of the Extension Series would look like using the 

 

Twins Payroll Tool

 

$116 Million for 2018 with Kintzler at $5M $6M $7M and Chatwood at $12M $12M $12M

 

Will the Pohlad's release that many Moth's from the old Wallet?

 

Twins Payroll Tool   Seth's Extensions

 

    • caninatl04 likes this
I might try to front load the contract to make those fa years left. Add 5 million to each of first 3 seasons and subtract 6 in each of last 3 or so.
    • BuxtonBandwagon likes this

This seems pretty light for Sano. I don't see what he gains from giving up prime earning years at such a discount.

    • Mike Sixel, clutterheart, markos and 2 others like this

You most definitely don't go year to year with someone like Sano (or Buxton). If he realizes 75% of his potential (a very good player) then he goes FA when eligible and you are left competing with the big market teams. If you wait until he has 2 or fewer seasons left before FA then you are getting a small discount on what basically becomes a FA sized contract. The proposed contract is a steal for his potential and he doesn't even need to improve much to be worth it. Staying healthy would be needed though.

I would increase the arb years a little (add 2M to each) and make this deal without thinking long about it.

    • howieramone2 likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Oct 19 2017 06:18 AM

I think you lock him up as well. I'm not sure where this lack of work ethic stuff comes from. If it's just a number on a scale, then I think people really need to rethink what work ethic is and is not, and to be fair to Sano, that is what it looks like from here.

 

The Twins see him in the locker room and in the trainers room. I think they will have a much better understanding of that particular issue. Perhaps there's something to the perception, who knows... but as someone else noted, if you go year to year, he's gone when he finishes arb. I'd like to get a couple of those FA years to extend our window. Both Sano and Buxton are looking like stars, and the longer we can keep them together, the more likely we see a ring during that timeframe.

    • gunnarthor and howieramone2 like this

You lock him up.Teams like the Twins need to lock up their young talent as soon as they can and Sano is absolutely a game changer.

    • kellyvance and BuxtonBandwagon like this

I am thinking that this is way light.After arb 1(which may be a little light say $6 million), I think $12 million, $16 million, FA1 $22 million, FA 2 $25 million FA 3 $25 million, FA 4 $25 million, plus options.  

There is a lot of risk here, but you have several players going to break the bank after 2018 and these numbers will look way light then.

Do it now,If he turns down a reasonable offer, start looking for ace pitchers to trade him for.  

You may be looking at the next David Ortiz here, are you willing to let him walk also?

    • kellyvance likes this
No problem with such an extension, Seth.

But I am of the opinion that of all the players talked about, Sano should be at the top of the list to be traded. Perhaps, such an extension would help by giving the buyer a longer term return.

Not certain to the timing, although I doubt it should be this winter. Perhaps next July, but probably next winter.

My biggest concern is related to his role in the 'chemistry' of the Rosario/Sano/Berrios/Polanco/Buxton/Kepler/Vargas group on the team. If he is that critical leader, my interest in trading him goes down.

I believe the Twins are going to have to trade someone to get that young starter every bit as good, or better, than Berrios. Not another prospect, but someone who has one or two very good years under their belt. Toss in another prospect (coming to us) and I would pull the trigger to put the rotation at a championship level. (I am assuming at least one of the guys at AA last year is going to make it big)

Why Sano? Too many questions, weight, defensive (he has done better than most of us expected) uncertainties amongst others. Also, he has the potential to be great and should bring the return we need. Could probably get that from he and Buxton and Buxton should not be traded, period!

Does he become another Cabrera? Maybe, but not certain I care if we get the right starting pitcher that makes us a contender for the next ten years.
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tarheeltwinsfan
Oct 19 2017 06:54 AM
I may trade him for a healthy. true ace pitcher, who is under 30 years old, right now.
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Old Twins Cap
Oct 19 2017 07:14 AM

The other issue with Sano:the low outside slider and curve, aka, sucker pitch.

 

At the beginning of the year, he could lay off, or hit it hard to right.

 

By year's end, even when everyone, including Sano, knew it was coming, he K'ed.Over and over, he K'ed.

 

Sure, Aaron Judge, HR's, can't teach strength -- I get it.

 

But, put him on easy street with 50 million bucks, you may or may not get results.

 

Apparently he's got quite an entourage and not talking about body weight.

 

 

    • caninatl04 likes this
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EddieMatthews
Oct 19 2017 07:18 AM

I think Sano wants to play in the Big Apple.  Manage his playing time and salary accordingly.  His value as a (designated?) hitter will determine long term pay.  His value as a fielder will decrease over time until it reaches Ortizian levels.

 

In the current MLB roster crunch where teams need to carry 13 pitchers, a full-time bench player is a liability for many teams.

    • matthew0211 likes this

I appreciate the efforts put in to compare to other similar deals, but this is way, way light for Sano to consider. Sano and Buxton are going to be different ballgames for extensions this offseason.

 

Berrios/Polanco/Kepler/Rosario and to a lesser extent Dozier are the ones who will follow the normal rules (if the Twins decide to extend).

    • tarheeltwinsfan, kellyvance, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this

 

I think Sano wants to play in the Big Apple.  

What leads you to think this, if I may ask?

 

Nope.

 

I go year to year with this guy.

 

Make him work, make him prove it.

 

He does not respond well to being on easy street.

 

How a player/person will handle that kind of future security is a huge consideration in any long-term contract extension... And right or wrong, that it going to be a much larger concern for Sano than it will be for Buxton. 

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, Major Leauge Ready and 3 others like this

I don't think he signs an extension with the 

 

I think Sano wants to play in the Big Apple.  Manage his playing time and salary accordingly.  His value as a (designated?) hitter will determine long term pay.  His value as a fielder will decrease over time until it reaches Ortizian levels.

 

In the current MLB roster crunch where teams need to carry 13 pitchers, a full-time bench player is a liability for many teams.

 

I was about to say he spends a lot of time there in the offseason.I wonder if he even signs an extension with the Twins.If he turns down one or two reasonable offers they need to trade him in a package for an ace caliper pitcher i think.

    • beckmt and tarheeltwinsfan like this

God, I hate that Souhan and his ilk have influenced fan's opinions on Sano. The guy works hard. Lock him up. 

    • Thrylos, EddieMatthews and BuxtonBandwagon like this

 

Nope.

 

I go year to year with this guy.

 

Make him work, make him prove it.

 

He does not respond well to being on easy street.

 

 I agree in principal as well.He needs to prove it.I wouldn't throw him everything at once.I respect him as a hitter and how he has improved at 3rd but i need to see more. Buxton is a much easier decision if you ask me, but Sano not so sure yet.  

 

This seems pretty light for Sano. I don't see what he gains from giving up prime earning years at such a discount.

 

Way light.

Just like Buxton, whatever it takes to get it done I'm on board with. Both him and Buxton will most likely need north of $100 million to consider an extension. 

    • howieramone2 and BuxtonBandwagon like this
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Tom Froemming
Oct 19 2017 08:38 AM

While statistical analysis has evolved greatly, the valuation process in arbitration hasn't, and I don't believe it will. Sano puts up the kind of numbers that make you the big bucks in arbitration (HRs & RBIs mostly) so I think it would be a good idea for the Twins to try to get some cost certainty and lock him up.

 

But, if they're going to try to do it this winter, I'd expect a bit of an uncertainty discount given his injury. If he really ends up needing a titanium rod in his leg, who knows how he comes back from that.

 

With all that said, I doubt anything gets done. It's just kinda weird timing for both sides.

    • glunn, ken and caninatl04 like this

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