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Minnesota Twins Activate Slugger Miguel Sano


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Out since April 30, Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano is set to return to the lineup. After suffering a knee injury which led to surgery repairing a meniscus injury, Sano completes his rehab assignment and rejoins a first place Twins club.

 

In order to make room for Sano, the Twins optioned Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A. After owning a .359 average and .860 OPS through his first 28 games this season, Celestino has hit .202 with just a .503 OPS across 38 games since. Celestino looks the part of a legitimate big league defender, but he may benefit from a reset similar to what he experienced last season with the Saints.

Needing a spot on the 40-man roster as well, given Sano was placed on the 60-day injured list, the Twins transferred reliever Danny Coulombe to the 60-day injured list.

At the time of Miguel Sano's knee injury, the Minnesota Twins were 12-9 with a three-game lead in the American League Central Division. Sano himself was carrying a terrible .093/.231/.148 (.379) slash line that saw him record just a single extra-base hit in 65 plate appearances.

Although it was cold and the ball wasn’t flying to start the year, Rocco Baldelli needed Sano to step up at first base with second-year player Alex Kirilloff dealing with a nagging wrist issue. Minnesota saw Sano as the only true first baseman on the roster, and it wasn’t until Luis Arraez was forced into action at the position that he emerged as an eventual All-Star and held down the fort.

The Twins are now 52-44 with a three-game lead in the division, but both the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Guardians continue to breathe down their neck. Horrible pitching performances have stunted the opportunity to expand on the lead over their competition, but far too often the lineup has gone dormant as well.

Obviously, Sano would love to be returning to better numbers, but if you’ve been a fan of Minnesota for any amount of time, you know how quickly Sano can go on one of his hot streaks. He was making loud contact at the big league level prior to his knee injury, and the rehab stint has provided some room to hope. Across 12 games with the Triple-A Saints and FCL Twins, Sano owns a .333/.422/.795 line. He recorded three doubles and blasted five homers while compiling an 12/6 K/BB.

Sano returns to somewhat of a crowded situation at first base with Kirilloff and Arraez now both being well established at the position. Rookie Jose Miranda has gone on a tear since a slow start, and while he's more suited at the hot corner, he too has provided value at first base. Sano will draw starts at designated hitter as well, and that role has become less crowded with the injury to Ryan Jeffers.

In order to make room for Sano, the Twins optioned Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A. After owning a .359 average and .860 OPS through his first 28 games this season, Celestino has hit .202 with just a .503 OPS across 38 games since. Celestino looks the part of a legitimate big league defender, but he may benefit from a reset similar to what he experienced last season with the Saints.

The Twins have just five games left in the month of July. They remain on the road until August 1st, at which point they return home to face a bottom-feeding Detroit Tigers team. Minnesota would love for Sano to parlay hit hot-hitting during his rehab assignment into renewed production at the highest level.

It would seem to be a fair assessment that Minnesota would be open to dealing Sano should an offer come their way. He’s still due roughly $12 million even with his 2023 buyout, and opening up the roster spot rather than DFA’ing him for nothing could be a positive outcome. The Major League Baseball trade deadline in 2022 is on August 2nd.

 

 


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30 minutes ago, Nine of twelve said:

Incomplete report. What was/will be the corresponding roster move to make room for him? If that has not been announced please say that.

It was in the middle of the article...but moved to the top so it's not missed...

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I'm not surprised by this, and it's exactly the way I would have played it.

Sano seems to be "locked in" coming off is rehab and will probably carry that over here in late July since the weather is good and he's been playing daily. He has a chance to possibly help the club on their playoff push. It stinks for Cestino, as I think he's a legitimate ML OF with defense and offensive potential.

Understand, I like Celestino quite a lot. But he's young, and he had an option remaining to allow for this move. Personally, despite his strong finish with St Paul in 2021, I didn't feel he was ready to be the Twins 4th OF. In fact, not adding a decent, solid option was a mistake by the FO. And despite getting off to a great start here in 2022, some of his numbers just seemed unsustainable. And that's proven to be true. I expect him to play daily at St Paul and put up some really good numbers and be back before the year is done, and to be even more ready for future contributions to the Twins.

Say what you will about Sano, but he's a dangerous hitter when "on" and has a career OPS above .800. While I just don't see a future in Minnesota, he can help. Further, nobody, especially a mid market team, is going to just dump a player like Sano, and just get nothing for him. And I don't see where anyone would trade for him until they see him at the ML level, healthy, playing, and hitting the ball again. Time is running out quickly for Sano to be offered as part of a trade for ANYTHING. But I do believe he might be sent to a team before the deadline for SOMETHING, OR, he could be part of a deal to a team looking for some RH power at 1B/DH if the Twins eat some/most of his remaining salary. They might even throw in the $3M 2023 buyout where a team could basically use him as a free 2 month rental, and then negotiate a new deal if they want him, with the Twins covering said buyout. 

Let's hope we see the GOOD Sano and he can bring back, or help bring back, something the Twins could use.

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Is there a level of performance where the Twins should retain their control of Sano for next year?

I think I would focus on the strikeout rate, walk rate and exit velocity. Those were already better than career norms in April. They need to continue in that trend. His April launch angle of 31.3 isn’t going to lead to success and that must drop.

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If the Twins pick up his 14 million option for next year then the FO people should be fired.  I'm not a Sano hater but his time here has run its course.  Yes as sime people always seem to mention he can get hit and carry a team for a short period of time.  But his other streaks of striking out 2 or 3 times a game last much longer.  Often those strikeouts are with runners on base and he normally doesn't deliver consistently.  It's all or nothing for Sano.  We all knew he was coming back.  I hope he is helpful.  I won't like the days when he takes at bats away from better players.  Does anyone think it would be great for Aareaz, Miranda, kirilloff to lose at bats to Sano?  He's coming back.  He played 17 games and he is hitting .093.  I sincerely hopes he helps but I am more worried that his performance and presence may hurt.  

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27 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

No. There is a 0% chance they pick up his $14 million option. Zero. 

Agreed. Even if they wanted him back, it would be on a re-negotiated deal. 

But even then, I just don't see a fit for 2023 unless the FO makes an intense, groundbreaking BOOM of a thunderclap type of deal and move a couple guys off the ML roster. Out of character and doubtful, but it's the only way I see room for him going forward.

Have to admit, I wonder what the rest of the league thinks about him. I mean, he won't turn 30 until next May, an .800+ career OPS, 1B/DH age better than other positions....if the Twins throw cash in with prospects on a deal, could he tantalize a team needing offense AND some quality prospects?

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6 minutes ago, DocBauer said:

Agreed. Even if they wanted him back, it would be on a re-negotiated deal. 

But even then, I just don't see a fit for 2023 unless the FO makes an intense, groundbreaking BOOM of a thunderclap type of deal and move a couple guys off the ML roster. Out of character and doubtful, but it's the only way I see room for him going forward.

Have to admit, I wonder what the rest of the league thinks about him. I mean, he won't turn 30 until next May, an .800+ career OPS, 1B/DH age better than other positions....if the Twins throw cash in with prospects on a deal, could he tantalize a team needing offense AND some quality prospects?

If I were Falvey and Levine, I’d be working really hard over the next week to find a salary dump trade for Sano. The only way we get a prospect worth a damn in a trade is if the receiving team gets Sano for the minimum. I think he’s going to have a really difficult time fetching an MLB deal this winter. Most likely an MiLB deal with spring training invite. 

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It didn't surprize me that they activated Sano. I heard that he was trying to level out swing and that's encouraging, I wouldn't be surprize that Sano would go on a tear for the rest of the season. He has to be super motivated to preform or he is out the door. Even so IMO they won't take up his contract.

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48 minutes ago, LewFordLives said:

This is not right. Can Sano play CF if Buxton's knee is acting up?  Is he going to take at bats from Kirilloff and Miranda?  Given they are in a tight playoff race, they should field the best team possible. The Twins did not get better today.

No but Nick Gordon can.  With Gordon and Celestino on the roster, it was pretty redundant having a light hitting option on the bench.  Without an option for Gordon, this move made sense, especially considering how much Celestino had been struggling at the plate.

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1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

Agreed. Even if they wanted him back, it would be on a re-negotiated deal. 

But even then, I just don't see a fit for 2023 unless the FO makes an intense, groundbreaking BOOM of a thunderclap type of deal and move a couple guys off the ML roster. Out of character and doubtful, but it's the only way I see room for him going forward.

Have to admit, I wonder what the rest of the league thinks about him. I mean, he won't turn 30 until next May, an .800+ career OPS, 1B/DH age better than other positions....if the Twins throw cash in with prospects on a deal, could he tantalize a team needing offense AND some quality prospects?

I don’t think even a re-negotiated deal is a practical possibility. For the Twins to sign him requires them to spend $2.75 M more than another team.

If the Twins come through with even a $5 M offer, Sano is likely to say, “No thanks, I’ll take the buyout money and try my luck at getting more than $2.25 M elsewhere.” And with the other options they have, I don’t see them offering even $5 M

Realistically, though I like Sano and can still remember the yell I let out when he hit the slam against Cleveland a year ago, I agree that he may have a tough time getting an MLB contract. But some team could get a steal with a deal that’s heavily incentive driven. 

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Pretty logical move. The Twins would move Sano in a heartbeat if they had a buyer, and they'll probably be shopping Urshela hard as well. Moving Miranda to 3B, while keeping Kirilloff at 1B and Sano at DH technically works, but Arraez needs playing time, too. Quite the logjam.

Guessing Sano has a very short leash before DFA if there are no buyers.

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Just now, bean5302 said:

Pretty logical move. The Twins would move Sano in a heartbeat if they had a buyer, and they'll probably be shopping Urshela hard as well. Moving Miranda to 3B, while keeping Kirilloff at 1B and Sano at DH technically works, but Arraez needs playing time, too. Quite the logjam.

Guessing Sano has a very short leash before DFA if there are no buyers.

I can't see them shopping Urshela much.  The depth at 3B is Urshela and Miranda,  trading Gio and an injury to Miranda means....Arraez? starts at 3B?  No thanks.  Don't deplete your depth if it's not necessary.  

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This was the obvious move.  Celestino could use some time in StPaul to see if he can grow as a hitter.  With Sanchez catching 80% of the time, Sano can DH.  It also buys the FO some time to see if he can continue what he started at AAA at the plate.  If he goes back to April 2022 Sano, they can always DFA him later.

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56 minutes ago, SwainZag said:

No but Nick Gordon can.  With Gordon and Celestino on the roster, it was pretty redundant having a light hitting option on the bench.  Without an option for Gordon, this move made sense, especially considering how much Celestino had been struggling at the plate.

Well, sort of redundant. Is Buxton ready to go tomorrow? Is Kepler's foot ok?

If the answer to either question is no then this is a move that makes them pretty thin in the outfield, even if just for one game. There is a chance we end up seeing an outfield of Gordon, Kirilloff, and Garlick tomorrow, with no subs available.

That probably won't happen, it's probably just one or two games at most, and if the answer to both questions is yes then there really isn't much of a depth problem at all.

Still, knowing Buxton can't play CF every game, it's not ideal roster construction. Over the medium to long term, we probably get a little more Gordon than we should, and a little less Miranda.

I understand the move, and obviously it's happening now because the only other option is just to let Sano walk for nothing while eating all of the rest of his guaranteed money. Still the timing isn't ideal with Kepler's foot now a bit of a question.

Hopefully it's only through the trade deadline. Larnach should also be ready to return in about two weeks, and it will probably be a lot harder to justify keeping Sano on the roster against Larnach than it is against Celestino.

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Interesting reading this thread.

Was just looking over his career numbers on baseball reference: just 7 years ago he finished 3rd in the AL rookie of the year, albeit by a mile, to winner Carlos Correa, then Lindor.

But after the anticipatory hype, he flashed 18 HR, 52 RBI, .916 OPS in a half season of work as a 22 year old, and it looked like superstardom was in the cards. All Star at 24, with 2 20+ homer seasons under his belt. A monster 26 year old season in 2019 with career high 34 homers, and a .923 OPS.

Since then, bupkis. His whiffs create a breeze like the storied blower fans at the Metrodome.

I watched this guy's career play out - I couldn't have been higher on a prospect in 2015. Let's just say, it hasn't worked out as expected.

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Sure seems like a last stand for Sano; barring becoming a post season hero, it will soon be over. Should be good work for him next year though, plenty of NL teams still haven’t figured out this DH business yet.

I know he’s not popular in many fan corners, but as far as “bust” prospects go, he was a pretty dang good one.

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3 hours ago, SwainZag said:

I can't see them shopping Urshela much.  The depth at 3B is Urshela and Miranda,  trading Gio and an injury to Miranda means....Arraez? starts at 3B?  No thanks.  Don't deplete your depth if it's not necessary.  

The narrative that Arraez is some terrible black hole in the field is baffling to me since the metrics and logic don't really support the position. Arraez is fine at 2B and should be fine at 3B, though I certainly don't expect he'll win gold gloves at either position. Arraez doesn't have the range of Polanco, but has a better arm.

Depth is good... but it only helps when you need it. When starting caliber players aren't playing regularly because they're "depth" and a team has holes elsewhere which need to be filled, the depth is a liability.

Miranda -> Arraez -> Gordon -> Palacios -> Steer

The Twins are overloaded on infielder depth right now.

 

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4 hours ago, bean5302 said:


Depth is good... but it only helps when you need it. When starting caliber players aren't playing regularly because they're "depth" and a team has holes elsewhere which need to be filled, the depth is a liability.

Miranda -> Arraez -> Gordon -> Palacios -> Steer

The Twins are overloaded on infielder depth right now.

 

Which starting caliber players are not playing regularly? 

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