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  • Have the Twins Seen the End of Miguel Sano?


    Ted Schwerzler

    Following a tilt against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 30, the Minnesota Twins announced first baseman Miguel Sano had a torn meniscus and would undergo knee surgery. He returned following the maximum rehab assignment and now is again back on the injured list after just three games. Is this the end of the line?

    Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

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    Although Miguel Sano spent the maximum 20 days on the injured list, he played in just 12 games. The Twins curiously had part of his rehab assignment take place during the All-Star Break which ate up time that Sano could’ve gotten in at bats. Regardless, he performed extremely well on the farm, slashing .333/.422/.795 split across a few Complex League games and Triple-A.

    Relegated to the back-end of Minnesota’s lineup, Sano got in just six at-bats before returning to the injured list. Drawing two starts but playing just one complete game, it’s clear Rocco Baldelli sees the slugger as little more than a revolving piece at this point. Sano was hitless in his return to action and posted four strikeouts without generating a walk.

    There’s no denying that the front office took as much time as they could to look at options before activating Sano. It appeared a possible DFA was on the table, and that would’ve left the Twins on the hook for the remaining $7 million or so on his deal. In a perfect world, they’d find a trade partner to offload his remaining commitment, but there’s just little reason for anyone to pay for Minnesota’s anchor of an expense.

    So now it remains to be seen what an eventual timeline for a return to play looks like, but it’s hard not to imagine this being the end of the road. We’re into August and the 26-man roster needs to be best positioned for a Postseason run. Gilberto Celestino was optioned to make room for Sano initially, but it’s hard to argue he’s not of more value as a fourth outfielder. Even though Alex Kirilloff is hurt and that takes away an option at first base, the Twins have developed other depth there in the form of Jose Miranda and Luis Arraez.

    If the timeline is short, and it probably won’t be considering the previous handling of the same injury for Sano, a decision would need to be made as to how he factors back in. Another rehab stint could happen, but that would just be delaying the inevitable. If a return can happen in something like 10 days, Sano could find himself as an option given the health of the current roster. Even then, however, that DFA from before could again rear its head.

    Maybe Minnesota would rather not end this era of such a highly prized prospect on a whimper, but it didn’t seem to deter them before. Across 694 games with the Twins during his eight-year career in the big leagues, Sano has blasted 162 home runs. There’s been highs and lows, but I think it’s probably safe to assume this is where it ends.

    Should he not play another game in a Minnesota uniform, what would register as some of your favorite memories for the Dominican product that sparked an entire documentary and put the Twins farm system on the map?

     

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    I know this is the cynic in me, and I expect a pretty fair amount of flak for the speculation, but I am starting to wonder how this team handles the IL.  Guys come and go from it like they use options to shuffle guys back and forth from St. Paul, or juggle the 40 man roster.  Sano was healthy until the last rehab game when he tweaked the knee (the same knee) sliding into 2nd?  He tells no one, comes up and flops, and now we hear it is his knee again?  And right back on the IL, bringing someone else up instead and still giving us time to decide what to do with him.  We go from day to day to the IL and back with almost everyone on the 40 man roster, or at least it feels like that.  Are we truly getting injured at the rate we are, or are we just looking at minor dings and dongs, things players used to play through during a season, differently than ever before and not allowing a player to play with an owie he used to play with.  

    We have way, WAY too many trips to the different IL's, even to the point of the national TV guys commenting on the exorbitant number of injuries to this team.  As someone who remembers the Cal Ripkins of the game, I wonder sometimes if it is the players just not being in the condition they once were, or are teams being allowed to use the IL's as extra options on players to keep them moving around at will.  Set me straight if you think I am out of bounds, here, or am I really?  :( 

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    What would register as some of my favorite memories of Sano?  dunno, the long homers were sweet but then I remember the massive number of strikeouts in important situations and the time he sexually harassed a photographer. I know it isn't my money but if it was, I would DFA him.

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    After a knee surgery, it's not unusual to have an inflammation flare up on a very heavy frame like Sano's, I wouldn't think. It's a tough spot at the moment as Sano won't be eligible to return until after the deadline and I can't see any team having remote interest in him. 

    We'll have to see who the Twins trade away, if anybody, and what impact that has on the depth. Unfortunately, the Twins got almost no look at Sano at all. I'll be the first to admit that while his actual production was poor, it's enticing how baseballs simply rocket off his bat. I could see the front office being suckered in again by the metrics.

    I really don't know what to think. There's a 0% chance anybody picks up Sano's option and there's a 0% chance to trade him now that he's on the IL.

     

    No team will pick Sano's contract up so he'll absolutely pass through waivers if he's DFA'd. At that point, Sano will almost certainly refuse the assignment as there's just no time to make it back to the roster before 8/31 when his playoff eligibility expires. He's free to negotiate an MLB minimum contract across 29 other teams if he declines the assignment. It's just too risky for him to accept an assignment even though he's played so poorly. 

    What do the Twins gain? A roster spot.
    What do the Twins lose? The potential Sano's bat could be valuable in September and potentially the playoffs.

    There's really nothing else at stake here.

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    3 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    After a knee surgery, it's not unusual to have an inflammation flare up on a very heavy frame like Sano's, I wouldn't think. It's a tough spot at the moment as Sano won't be eligible to return until after the deadline and I can't see any team having remote interest in him. 

    We'll have to see who the Twins trade away, if anybody, and what impact that has on the depth. Unfortunately, the Twins got almost no look at Sano at all. I'll be the first to admit that while his actual production was poor, it's enticing how baseballs simply rocket off his bat. I could see the front office being suckered in again by the metrics.

    I really don't know what to think. There's a 0% chance anybody picks up Sano's option and there's a 0% chance to trade him now that he's on the IL.

     

    No team will pick Sano's contract up so he'll absolutely pass through waivers if he's DFA'd. At that point, Sano will almost certainly refuse the assignment as there's just no time to make it back to the roster before 8/31 when his playoff eligibility expires. He's free to negotiate an MLB minimum contract across 29 other teams if he declines the assignment. It's just too risky for him to accept an assignment even though he's played so poorly. 

    What do the Twins gain? A roster spot.
    What do the Twins lose? The potential Sano's bat could be valuable in September and potentially the playoffs.

    There's really nothing else at stake here.

    Except what you said is not gonna happen.👽

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    4 minutes ago, RpR said:

    Except what you said is not gonna happen.👽

    It's 50/50 in my opinion. There's not really a great reason to DFA him, but the Twins' attitude has definitely shifted on Sano.

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    7 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    It's 50/50 in my opinion. There's not really a great reason to DFA him, but the Twins' attitude has definitely shifted on Sano.

    Opportunity cost. If he's on the roster, someone else isn't. He won't be here next year, let someone else get experience. That's my reason to DFA him. 

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    Sano clearly has no place on this team now or the future.  The strikeouts are alarming.  For the few prodigious home runs he's hit and even the few games he's won with Homer's for the Twins,  he just never seemed to adjust to situations.  Where a sac fly or a single may have produced runs he was incapable of doing it.  It was all or nothing for him.  He should be DFA as soon as possible

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    1 hour ago, Mark G said:

    I know this is the cynic in me, and I expect a pretty fair amount of flak for the speculation, but I am starting to wonder how this team handles the IL.  Guys come and go from it like they use options to shuffle guys back and forth from St. Paul, or juggle the 40 man roster.  Sano was healthy until the last rehab game when he tweaked the knee (the same knee) sliding into 2nd?  He tells no one, comes up and flops, and now we hear it is his knee again?  And right back on the IL, bringing someone else up instead and still giving us time to decide what to do with him.  We go from day to day to the IL and back with almost everyone on the 40 man roster, or at least it feels like that.  Are we truly getting injured at the rate we are, or are we just looking at minor dings and dongs, things players used to play through during a season, differently than ever before and not allowing a player to play with an owie he used to play with.  

    We have way, WAY too many trips to the different IL's, even to the point of the national TV guys commenting on the exorbitant number of injuries to this team.  As someone who remembers the Cal Ripkins of the game, I wonder sometimes if it is the players just not being in the condition they once were, or are teams being allowed to use the IL's as extra options on players to keep them moving around at will.  Set me straight if you think I am out of bounds, here, or am I really?  :( 

    The front office uses the IL like a AAAA team, or players they don’t know what to do with. It’s kind of annoying.

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    Very few organizations are going to give Sano a look next year so it will be interesting to see how he responds when the pressure is really on him to approach his potential.  The Twins have bent over backwards for Sano and he's a decent sort.  But, I've always had the feeling Sano's been pampered.  Shoe's on the other foot now.

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    1 hour ago, bean5302 said:

    What do the Twins gain? A roster spot.

    What do the Twins lose? The potential Sano's bat could be valuable in September and potentially the playoffs.

    There's really nothing else at stake here.

    Added for emphasis... A lot of Sano's career, in my opinion, has been based on potential.  Potential which he has not played to these last few years.  We have had a very limited sample size this season, but I can't fathom how he can get his season on track immediately and start producing now, and right now that roster spot is more valuable than Sano's adjusted potential.  I hate to say it but its time to cut and run.  It would be great if we could find someone to trade for him, but DFA is what I think is most likely to happen.

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    I was curious how is Twins career (thus far) compares to David Ortiz in the event Sano is done with Twins and goes onto stardom elsewhere. Seems Ortiz was just sorta coming around for the Twins when they set him free. Sano has had his worst years recently.

    Sano (currently 29) -- 8 years, 2,502 ABs, .808 OPS. Worst year -- arguably this year.

    Ortiz (26 in last full season with Twins) -- 6 years, 1,477 ABs, .809. 

    Not sure anything to learn from this, but would definitely seem like the Twins have given him more than a fair chance to demonstrate his value.

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    After his rookie year when he hit so well I thought the Twins better hurry up and build a team around this guy because they won't be able to keep a super star for long.  After that from injuring himself stepping on a baseball to being a K king it has been a looong way down from that rookie year.

    The Twins are generally a thoughtful group so hard to say what they ultimately decide on Sano for this year but there is no room for him next year so a DFA makes sense. I guess it just depends on how the Twins FO see's things.

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    Memories of Sano:

    The slam in Clev.

    Big smiles.

    The dude with the broken leg and gunshots in DR.

    Damning response to sexual harrassment allegations.

    Sliced foot on the stage in DR.

    Is he back this year? Probably not. Definitely not next, unless on minor league deal.

    Wherever he lands, good luck. He had a few moments here, but just a few.

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    If the Twins have to eat his salary no matter what, then they should offer that as part of a trade to a contending team who could use a bat off the bench the rest of the way.  They should also pay his buyout if it help bring back a "better" prospect.  Honestly, it could be hard for a lot of teams to turn down a potential big bat down the stretch for zero cost except a bottom 20 range prospect. 

    If no one bites, then just DFA him because he currently serves exactly zero purpose to this team.  There could be at least 5-6 better options in AA or AAA that could use a shot to impress the club for next year.  Giving him more and more chances to strike out and embarrass himself is completely pointless now.  Let a borderline guy take those ABs and see what he can do with them.  Know when to fold a losing hand.  

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    1 minute ago, KnoblauchWasFramed said:

     There could be at least 5-6 better options in AA or AAA that could use a shot to impress the club for next year.  Giving him more and more chances to strike out and embarrass himself is completely pointless now.  Let a borderline guy take those ABs and see what he can do with them. \

    That is what AA and AAA are for, not the Major League Season, but by your reasoning Jake Cave should be in the Bigs.

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    3 minutes ago, RpR said:

    That is what AA and AAA are for, not the Major League Season, but by your reasoning Jake Cave should be in the Bigs.

    I was meaning players like Palacios, Steer, or Wallner.  DFA'ing Sano will free up a 40 man spot and Steer or Wallner could take it and fill in for Kepler at the same time he's on the IL.  Might as well find out if these kids can catch on with the club and be ready to take on a roster spot for next year.  Hell with Cave.  I don't even understand why he's still on this club since Celestino usurped him.  

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    1 minute ago, KnoblauchWasFramed said:

    I was meaning players like Palacios, Steer, or Wallner.  DFA'ing Sano will free up a 40 man spot and Steer or Wallner could take it and fill in for Kepler at the same time he's on the IL.  Might as well find out if these kids can catch on with the club and be ready to take on a roster spot for next year.  Hell with Cave.  I don't even understand why he's still on this club since Celestino usurped him.  

    I wonder how long Celestino stays up,  his batting is not keeping him here, and his fielding is no better than Cave but he is still better than Gordon.

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    7 hours ago, Mark G said:

    I know this is the cynic in me, and I expect a pretty fair amount of flak for the speculation, but I am starting to wonder how this team handles the IL.  Guys come and go from it like they use options to shuffle guys back and forth from St. Paul, or juggle the 40 man roster.  Sano was healthy until the last rehab game when he tweaked the knee (the same knee) sliding into 2nd?  He tells no one, comes up and flops, and now we hear it is his knee again?  And right back on the IL, bringing someone else up instead and still giving us time to decide what to do with him.  We go from day to day to the IL and back with almost everyone on the 40 man roster, or at least it feels like that.  Are we truly getting injured at the rate we are, or are we just looking at minor dings and dongs, things players used to play through during a season, differently than ever before and not allowing a player to play with an owie he used to play with.  

    We have way, WAY too many trips to the different IL's, even to the point of the national TV guys commenting on the exorbitant number of injuries to this team.  As someone who remembers the Cal Ripkins of the game, I wonder sometimes if it is the players just not being in the condition they once were, or are teams being allowed to use the IL's as extra options on players to keep them moving around at will.  Set me straight if you think I am out of bounds, here, or am I really?  :( 

    Cal Ripken is in the MLB hall of fame and holds the record for most consecutive games played. 
     

    totally fair comp

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    There remains a chance that Sano's latest setback is brief and nothing more than a "tweak". Little scar tissue situation or a small hyper extension, that sort of thing. So he rehabs and rests, goes back to St Paul, mashes a couple of days, and then takes a week to settle in and look bad before connecting on a few hits, take a few walks, and hit a couple of bombs.

    So he just MIGHT give the Twins a month and a half of solid production, maybe a couple big moments, as sort of a "parting gift", not including the possibility of him, potentially, making some noise in the post season at the bottom of the order.

    But that's it. He doesn't fit this team in 2023, and is now probably untradeable. So we might see him, especially due to other injuries. But if we do, it's a last hurrah.

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    Ummmmm.  Yes.  Two words...Jose Miranda.  I'd rather see Miranda in the lineup 100 times out of 100 at this point.  We've seen what Sano is....except when Garvin Alston was around.  Is he still in Miami?  Maybe the Marlins would trade a couple dozen baseballs for the chance to "get him right".  After 8 seasons, I've seen more than enough.

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