Hot Corner Consideration: Potential Third Base Alternatives to Miguel Sano
Image courtesy of © Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsMiguel Sanó
Sanó had a monstrous season and returns as a cog in the lineup. Here are Miggy’s numbers in a full season with AL ranks:
HR: 52 (1st)
RBI: 122 (2nd)
SLG: .576 (5th)
OPS: .923 (7th)
Sanó has broken out at the plate, but his defense is less promising. He led his position in errors and his UZR was a poor -6.7. Rocco Baldelli recently said in an interview with Do-Hyoung Park that there are not any plans to move him over to first. If Falvey and Levine do indeed keep him there, C.J. Cron will likely be resigned for a projected $8 million arbitration salary.
Here are acquisitions that could improve the defense:
Donaldson is a free agent after signing for one-year and $23 million with Atlanta last offseason. Donaldson rewarded the Braves with a .900 OPS and 6.1 WAR.
Donaldson has been hampered by injuries since his torrid three-year stretch in Toronto where he won MVP with 41 homers and a .939 OPS in 2015. Donaldson is an elite third baseman, saving 68 runs above average in his career.
Given is age, he will likely demand a two or three year contract worth $22-28 million annually. If the Twins miss on Cole and Strasburg, they will have plenty of money to spend elsewhere. Donaldson has also played in 39 career postseason games.
Bryant, unlike Donaldson, is under arbitration. Bryant earned $12.9 million in 2019 and MLB Trade Rumors projects him to get $18.5 million in 2020.
GM Theo Epstein says “change is coming” this offseason and there is speculation that Bryant will be moved. Bryant is a star, owning a career .901 OPS, a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP honor, and a World Series ring. There is no doubt that he would require a substantial haul. Writer Jon Morosi says there will likely need to be a top 30 prospect involved.
Luckily for the Twins, they have two: Royce Lewis (No. 9) and Alex Kiriloff (No. 15), according to MLB Pipeline. Bryant is under team control until 2022, so the Twins will need to gauge whether expending Lewis and/or Kiriloff is worth it. Bryant is a slightly below average defender with a career -0.8 UZR and -1 DRS.
Moose has a mutual $11 million option, but Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports Moustakas will likely opt out after posting a 3.2 WAR and 35 homers in 2019.
Moustakas is a three time All-Star and received MVP votes in 2015 after winning the World Series with Kansas City. Playing over 1,000 games at third base, his UZR and DRS are both positive.
In 2019, Moustakas was an average defender with a 0.2 UZR and 0 DRS in 105 games. The Twins would figure to spend a bit more than they would for C.J. Cron, but Moustakas would be a massive upgrade defensively and adds another strong bat to the lineup.
What should they do?
Looking at the chart below, we can see that Donaldson was the premier defender in 2019, and given his experience and prowess at the plate, he would take this team and infield to the next level. Pay the man, reap the rewards.
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