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  • Has Miguel Sanó Increased His Trade Value?


    Cody Christie

    Miguel Sanó has been a polarizing player throughout his professional career. He’s put together solid second-half numbers, and this might be enough to make him an intriguing trade option. Will the Twins try to trade Sanó this winter?

     

    Image courtesy of Michael McLoone, USA TODAY Sports

    Maybe fans should come to expect this from Miguel Sanó. He goes through stretches where he seems lost at the plate. Then he follows those stretches with weeks where it looks like he figures it out and puts it all together. As the season has progressed, Sanó has drastically improved, but many fans tuned out after the team fell out of contention. 

    In the season’s first half, Sanó hit .196/.279/.426 (.705) with 15 home runs and eight doubles in 60 games started. His entire slash line was below his career marks, but his batting average and on-base percentage were higher than his 2020 campaign. Since July, Sanó has hit .243/.340/.505 (.845) with 14 home runs and 15 doubles. His OPS+ is now at 111 for the season, which is six points higher than 2020. 

    Defensively, he ranks near the bottom of the American League when it comes to SABR’s Defensive Index. In his first full season at first base, Baseball-Reference has him worth -1.1 Defensive WAR, and that total is similar to his last season at third base in 2019. He has been worth -3 Defensive Runs Saved, a two-run improvement over last season. He may never be outstanding at first base, but he has the athleticism to be passable at the position. 

    Minnesota has other options for Sanó if the team decides to move him off the position in 2022. Nelson Cruz is gone, and Sanó can slide into a permanent designated hitter role with Alex Kirilloff taking over at first base. Kirilloff is a better defender, and first base is his likely long-term defensive position. 

    Sanó has one year and $9.25 million remaining on his current contract, with a $2.75 million buyout for the 2023 season. Over the last three seasons, FanGraphs puts Sanó’s value at $28.5 million, but $22.2 million of that value came in 2019 when baseballs were bouncing out of ballparks at record rates. In four of his seven big-league seasons, he has been worth more than $9.25 million. 

    Even with a hot second-half, Sanó’s trade market won’t exactly be booming. Power hitting first basemen are easy to come by, and the cost is relatively cheap. Last winter, Minnesota signed Cruz to a one-year, $13-million deal, and he was one of the best power hitters in baseball. Sanó has a similar skill set, but Cruz has been a better offensive weapon. 

    For the Twins, a better option might be to try and package Sanó as part of a deal to acquire controllable starting pitching. There’s no question that starting pitching is the Twins' most significant need this winter, and Minnesota has tradable assets at the big-league level. Sanó might not be the headliner of an off-season trade, but his inclusion might add enough to make another team agree to a deal.

    Do you think Sanó has increased his trade value in the second half? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    He HAS.  And with that, the Twins will keep on dreaming about what he COULD be.  Not sure what Cron's status is with the Rockies after the season.  He's been a good 1B-man for them and he makes more consistent contact than Sano.  But Miami needs offense, and what if the A's go full rebuild and trade Olson ?  Sano's trade value would have to take a BIG step forward however.  MLB Trade Values currently has him as a NEGATIVE asset.  Trading negative assets does NOT get you something useful back.  it only increases the payroll opportunities to deploy that money elsewhere. 

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    He might have increased his trade value but he also looks like a decent replacement for Cruz and he can sub in at 1st base as needed.  He can probably handle third as well on occasion if he DH's more.

    I just don't see the Twins trading him though.  He has the power that they love and at times you can see pitchers don't like facing him in tough situations.  I think they give him one more year to see if he can move that K rate down a bit more and see if he stays in that 800 to 900 OPS range he was starting to find halfway through the season.  Those types of hitters don't grow on tree's.  it has taken longer than hoped but it looks like Sano might be "getting there" as a hitter.

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    If the NL does adopt the DH as many expect, then he may have some value in the trade market.  No team will want to bring him in to play 1B.  He is not elite enough of a hitter to make up for his defense.  For teams that have never had a DH there may be teams willing to go out and take someone like Sano.

    That being said, he value is still not that high to expect much in return.  He will not get a MLB ready top guy.  Most likely if he is dealt it will be for either a lower level prospect, or for someone in a similar situation, position of possible depth and a change of home may make a difference.  

    Overall, I do not think Sano is going anywhere unless a team really feels they can unlock him and get the player everyone wish he would become.  At this point he is who he is, he will strike out a ton, hit monster HR, and when hot he can carry a team for a few weeks, but when not he will be a very feared number 8 hitter. 

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    I do not see them trading Sano - they will dream of his second half and probably fill the DH with him.  Rooker has not shown that he would give more value and he is the other full time DH option.

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    Yes, his value has improved some.  I think the Twins would like to rotate at the DH spot next year to give some vets time off defensively meaning Sano would mostly be stuck at FB. Hence, if there is a DH market, I believe that they bundle him with a prospect or two for some starting pitching.

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    57 minutes ago, gunnarthor said:

    It really depends on what the Twins plans for 2022 are.

    Exactly - What are the plans? The budget and Twins desired direction will determine how the offseason unfolds and whether we see a possible return to the playoffs or a KC/Detroit rebuild with expected heavy losing. Also, the DH in the NL is a definite factor in Sano's value. Will MLB get its act together? These questions directly impact Sano. He slots neatly into the DH role and Kirilloff at 1B makes the defense better, but I do think a team like Milwaukee would be interested in Miguel. Either way, there is still value in Miguel Sano.

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    A HUGE if...but comments are full of if's....Since July, Sanó has hit .243/.340/.505 (.845) with 14 home runs and 15 doubles.   Give us that for 150 games a year TIMES 2 and I would be one very happy Twins fan...do we think they try to bring Cruz back for one last swan song?  Perhaps, if they don't my gut tells my Sano slots in as DH and Kirilloff plays 1B...if they do trade him assuming the NL institutes full time DH please trade him to the NL so he does not go David Ortiz on us!  Here is to hoping we beef up the pitching talent pool this offseason. 

     
     
     
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    To answer the question in the title, I say marginally as he went for not tradable to hardly tradable.

    That said, it still may make sense for the Twins to move on from Sano if Kirilloff is healthy.  As mentioned in the article it would allow Kirilloff more regular playing time at first and would allow Donaldson to spends some time at DH, possibly opening a spot for Miranda.

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    Sano has been pretty open about having no desire to be a DH. How seriously teams take that will play a role in his value. I think the Twins keep him, and I don't think it's a terrible idea. He only makes 9.25M next year with a 2.75M buyout the year after that, so he has 12M left (I don't see them picking up his 14M option for 2023). That's not terribly high for a guy who can carry a team for stretches of a season. He's not even close to perfect, but if he's hitting 6th or lower in the order he's incredibly useful. If this season taught us anything it's that there's never enough depth. It's not like the Twins have 9 guys who are locked into everyday jobs. Kirilloff's wrist is concerning to me. If he stays healthy he appears to be a cornerstone bat at 1B for the next 8 years, but wrist injuries can be killer. Donaldson isn't getting younger, and while Miranda crushed AA and AAA this year he's still not the asset Sano is until he does it at the ML level. 

    There's a lot of talk on these forums about the Twins having an abundance of offensive depth and I don't really see it. With the number of guys who go down throughout the year, and the number of guys who aren't really everyday bats backing them up, I just don't see this incredible depth. Is Larnach ready to contribute for a whole year next year? I'm not banking on it. Is Kirilloff? Martin? Miranda? Garlick? Rooker? Gordon? Lewis? Can Donaldson and Buxton stay healthy? Can Kirilloff? Arraez? Garver? Are Polanco's ankle concerns gone? What kind of bat will Kepler bring next year? Can Sano change his offseason ramp up and get off to a better start? Can Jeffers or Rortvedt handle a full season in the bigs? I don't see nearly the depth many do and I'd keep Sano. If he gets off to a great start and the team is struggling you can trade him mid-season for just as much as you could this offseason. It's not like you're getting anything great back for him now. Keep him and hope he increases his value to something useful or he helps the team succeed to some extent. If not you decline his option and move on. But I don't see him, or anyone on this team really, as the luxury others seem to see him as.

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    If he's raised his trade value then he's also made his case to stay on the team.

    He now has 3 consecutive months with OPS in the low 800s. That's above-average hitting across the entire league.  But 1B and especially DH demand something a little higher than that, to be an actual asset at those spots in the lineup; it's not above-average among those players.

    You can live with Average-ish at any given position, but to be competitive you want something more than that for several of your players. Otherwise you are looking at a .500 team (if your pitching can also achieve Average-ish).

    His salary isn't outrageous, but also is not an inducement for a team to take him on.

    So, no, I wouldn't say Sano has any particular trade value.  What team will say, yeah, that's the guy who can help solidify our .500 aspirations, so let's give up some elite prospects to nab him?

    But he's at the cusp of having value, if he could turn it up a notch, to say a .900 OPS. That's why two months of Nelson Cruz brought back something of value at the deadline.  And again, that would be an asset you wouldn't trade away, unless looking at a lost season.  It's somewhat counter-intuitive just how nonlinear are the calculations of player valuation.

     

     

     

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    Simple - Sano stays another year. The hope is 0.240, 35 dingers, and 100 RBIs serving primarily as the DH. 
     

    If he does that he will stick around in 2023 with his $14MM deal.  
     

    Actually he’s in a great spot to earn that last year by playing well next year. 
    Really a win-win situation for both club and player next year. 

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    IMO, they will trade him before they have to pay him more.  Very very sad!  I like him as a player and when Buxton goes he will be all we have left from our "contending" (LOL) team.  We have been or already starting another 10 years of rebuilding so why not let him go to a real contender.  

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    Sano is a relatively easy out for any pitcher with good control and delicious off-speed stuff. His HR's are memorable for distance rather than impact on game outcome. He doesn't drive in many non-HR runs. His WAR is among the lowest compared to players with a similar skill set. The Twins will let him play out 2022 and move him even though he should be traded in this off-season. 

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    His trading value is still very low, although you could find a trading partner you'd get nothing in return. I'd rather keep him and find some one to help him with his swing. Sano is sooo strong if he shorten his swing he could hit more HRs and strike out less. The problem is, he takes too much pride in hitting those monster ones.

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    6 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

    Sano has been pretty open about having no desire to be a DH...

    I haven't heard of this, but I have no reason to doubt it. That said, a scrub level MLB talent like Sano doesn't really have a lot of say in what position they play or if they even get an MLB contract at all. If Sano wants an MLB contract after 2022 which involves standing on the field when that team's pitching staff is on the mound, he's going to need to field dramatically better. Sano's defensive value is actually lower than full time DH, Nelson Cruz, this year. I mean... a -48.3 UZR/150 at first base? How is that even possible?

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    4 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

    His trading value is still very low, although you could find a trading partner you'd get nothing in return. I'd rather keep him and find some one to help him with his swing. Sano is sooo strong if he shorten his swing he could hit more HRs and strike out less. The problem is, he takes too much pride in hitting those monster ones.

     

    Totally agree. In my opinion it is too late to change Sano and his swing. He just doesn't appear to be very coachable.  Has he ever had a good spring at the plate? I do not recall one. He often comes to camp overweight, injured or sick. Fielding is terrible, just look at his numbers. He has one thing in mind, "me hit those dingers!"  Let him go and maybe, but not likely, get something for him. He is no Ortiz.

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    3 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    I haven't heard of this, but I have no reason to doubt it. That said, a scrub level MLB talent like Sano doesn't really have a lot of say in what position they play or if they even get an MLB contract at all. If Sano wants an MLB contract after 2022 which involves standing on the field when that team's pitching staff is on the mound, he's going to need to field dramatically better. Sano's defensive value is actually lower than full time DH, Nelson Cruz, this year. I mean... a -48.3 UZR/150 at first base? How is that even possible?

    I don't disagree. But if he's going to be an even worse hitter as a DH I'm not really sure what you do with him. And it hurts his trade value that he's publicly stated he needs to field to stay locked into the game and hit better. It'd be a real bold move for another team to give up anything of use for him to take on his deal (which I don't think is a completely outrageous deal) and play him as a DH if he's going to have an OPS in the 700s. I wouldn't be broken up about it if they move on from him, but I don't think it'd be smart to have him lined up as a DH only like Cruz. I'd want him as part of a DH rotation with guys like Arraez and Donaldson to keep them fresh.

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    I would be lying if I said Sano hasn't  been a disappointment based on talent, projection and ability. Injuries, similar to Buxton, have curtailed a portion of his career numbers as well. But speaking of career numbers, let's just pause to look again at his career slash line.

    .237/.328/.818

    Mediocre BA, solid OB and big power.

    Despite a losing 2021 for the team, and a really disappointing first couple of months for Sano in particular, he's got 23 Dbls, 29 HR and 71 RBI. And as the OP states he's been a much better hitter since the first few months.

    Has he increased his trade value? The answer is NO. The Twins, and everyone else in MLB, know who Sano is. Healthy, he's generally a .240-.250 hitter with a decent OB and tremendous power. He will slump and he will destroy. But he is not the guy, usually, you want daily in the 4-5 spot. But he is very dangerous, despite his streaky nature, as a 6-7 hitter. 

    Is it possible at 28yo that there is room for improvement? Call me crazy but I believe there is. His new-found mentor Cruz never found himself until age 28/29. And I am NOT saying Sano will be anything close to Cruz going forward! NOR am I suggesting in any way he could suddenly be another "lost" Ortiz. BUT, I will say that mental, emotional maturity is different for everyone. We are STILL seeing Sano trying to tweak his approach. He seems to be SLOWLY recognizing that at times he needs to attack early vs being patient. Were he just to accept and follow a similar path as Cruz, he would mentally accept being a DH and part-time 1B and work and study and find a balance of aggressiveness vs laying off the crazy outside stuff. 

    Again, has he improved his trade value? Not really. Teams know who and what he is. His trade value is about two things:

    1] With a universal DH, which should happen in 2022, there could be a number of teams who would love to have him as a DH/1B and emergency 3B who could give them something in the lower half of their lineup they just don't have currently. He could be a great 2nd part of a trade.

    2] As part of point #1, his value could increase because a team really believes their coaching their approach, and their belief he's STILL making adjustments and figuring it out could unlock another level of sustained success. 

    And as Ash pointed out, if there is a chance for real growth and potential, then isn't his value better just to keep and see?

    I'd trade him if the value is there. But I'd keep him for now and see what happens in 2022.

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    If you want to contend you want (or most likely already have) someone better than Sano. In the offseason you can usually find someone just as good for a lot less money. The only hope of a trade is for another equal player at a different position. I don't see an equal shortstop on another team with a $10M contract so a trade is unlikely.

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    46 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    I don't disagree. But if he's going to be an even worse hitter as a DH I'm not really sure what you do with him. And it hurts his trade value that he's publicly stated he needs to field to stay locked into the game and hit better. It'd be a real bold move for another team to give up anything of use for him to take on his deal (which I don't think is a completely outrageous deal) and play him as a DH if he's going to have an OPS in the 700s. I wouldn't be broken up about it if they move on from him, but I don't think it'd be smart to have him lined up as a DH only like Cruz. I'd want him as part of a DH rotation with guys like Arraez and Donaldson to keep them fresh.

    Agreed. No team is going to give up anything of value for Sano unless the Twins eat a big portion, if not all of Sano's contract and I really don't see the Twins eating anything on him. There's right about a 5% chance the Twins or any MLB team he could be traded to picks up the option on him so Sano's 2022 will be all about whether or not he gets much more than a minimum contract for 2023. I'd think he realizes that based on his work to cut down his K rate etc. It's late in the game to put in the effort now, but the Twins could benefit from his commitment to getting another payday after 2022.

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    I'm far more worried about Kepler, who should be much more consistent. He shows flashes in one game and then goes into a funk for three or four games. I agree that Sano can DH for the Twins and play first on occasion. Put Arraez at first. Despite his short stature, he is a much, much better fielder.

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    Something else to consider for his trade value: exactly what is his natural position?  He was always going to be the Twins' 3B for at least a decade - then came the signing of Donaldson and he had to move to a new position, with struggles at first.  Now, he's serviceable as a 1B, but enough that teams would want to trade for him?  I don't think so.  As for his streaks of brilliance, I equate him with that streaky shooting basketball player - when he's hot, keep feeding him, but once he goes cold, he becomes a liability. 

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    12 hours ago, DJL44 said:

    If you want to contend you want (or most likely already have) someone better than Sano. In the offseason you can usually find someone just as good for a lot less money. The only hope of a trade is for another equal player at a different position. I don't see an equal shortstop on another team with a $10M contract so a trade is unlikely.

    Like who?  He is probably the best we have or can get on this team.  Why let him go?  He certainly has move value than others.  Kepler needs to go if Sano needs to go.

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    22 minutes ago, LanceJS said:

    Something else to consider for his trade value: exactly what is his natural position?  He was always going to be the Twins' 3B for at least a decade - then came the signing of Donaldson and he had to move to a new position, with struggles at first.  Now, he's serviceable as a 1B, but enough that teams would want to trade for him?  I don't think so.  As for his streaks of brilliance, I equate him with that streaky shooting basketball player - when he's hot, keep feeding him, but once he goes cold, he becomes a liability. 

    I agree with what you say but I feel like many teams would want him.  Won't have to give up much but who doesn't a power hitter?

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    Ideally we see Donaldson and Garver split the large majority of DH at bats in 2022. 

    Kiroloff is already an equally valuable, if not more valuable, 1B. Maybe Sano to 1B and Kiroloff to RF against LHP?

    In fantasy land where the Twins roster is healthy the whole season, Sano probably should only get 80 or so starts between CI and DH. 

    But in reality, where any or all of Donaldson, Kiroloff, Garver and Jeffers are likely to miss time, Sano becomes the largest beneficiary. Possibly even when a corner OF goes down, sliding Kiroloff to OF.

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    20 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    I haven't heard of this, but I have no reason to doubt it. That said, a scrub level MLB talent like Sano doesn't really have a lot of say in what position they play or if they even get an MLB contract at all. If Sano wants an MLB contract after 2022 which involves standing on the field when that team's pitching staff is on the mound, he's going to need to field dramatically better. Sano's defensive value is actually lower than full time DH, Nelson Cruz, this year. I mean... a -48.3 UZR/150 at first base? How is that even possible?

    Scrub-level? tell us how you really feel about him. (PS: he ain't scrub level)

    Sano's trade value hasn't changed that much because sluggers with limited positional flexibility are relatively easy to find, but also because outside of the elite players they can have a fair amount of variance year to year. If a team was confident that second-half Sano is who he's going to be next season, they might be interested, but the risk of inconsistency weighed against his contract is going to be too high for most teams. Basically, no one is going to trade for Sano at $9.25M with a $2.75M buyout if they can get CJ Cron for $7M total. or if they can sign someone like Cron at league minimum on a make-good contract like the Rockies did this year with Cron. That's the fundamental problem we have in dealing Sano: last off-season someone like Cron was available for basically nothing. And there's almost always going to be that guy on the market...but it's a guessing game as to which one pans out.

    Sano had such a rough start (and played pretty poorly last year) that it feels like opinions have hardened on him. There's a lot of people in Twins Territory for whom he will probably never be able to do enough to satisfy, because he's never going to hit .300, and he's never not going to have 150+ Ks. But second-half Sano, or 2017 Sano, or 2019 Sano is a dangerous force in the lineup. Kinda feels like a lot of people have already decided that he's going to be 2018 or 2020 Sano in 2022. 

     

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