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  • What’s Next for Miguel Sano?


    Ted Schwerzler

    At the beginning of this offseason, the Minnesota Twins paid Miguel Sano $2.75 million to simply go away. His career here ended with a whimper, and his knee injury allowed him to play just 20 games in 2022. When 2023 rolls around, where is the former top prospect going to be playing?

     

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    Derek Falvey and Thad Levine signed Miguel Sano to a three-year extension worth $30 million right before the 2020 season. Sano was coming off a year as a key contributor to the Bomba Squad. He blasted a career-best 34 homers while playing 105 games. His .923 OPS was easily a career-high, and at 26 years old, he looked the part of a premier power hitter.

    From that point forward, Sano was basically league-average offensively. In 208 games with the Twins from 2020 on, he slashed .207/.295/.441 with 44 homers. Health was an issue, and there were plenty of periods where it looked unnecessary to have him on a big-league roster at all. The 20 games he played in 2022 accounted for a team-worst -0.9 fWAR, and only 20 players made appearances in the majors last season while being worse.

    Now a free agent for the first time in his career, a once highly-regarded prospect will see an expected amount of scrutiny on the open market. Not only does Sano need to prove he can still be an asset at the major-league level, but he’ll need to also show he’s healthy and worthy of a presence in a major-league clubhouse.

    The adoption of the designated hitter in the National League is a welcomed reality, and that gives Sano another 15 teams that realistically could use his services. He’s still relatively young, even if it shouldn’t be expected that he ages well. Sano can handle first base, although he’s a bit below average there. I don’t think any team will get Terry Ryan crazy and put him in the outfield, so his roster flexibility is largely limited. (That said, maybe at this stage in his career, Sano might actually try to become a decent outfielder...)

    Having been paid through his buyout and having made a decent amount on the extension, it would stand to reason that Sano could probably be had for peanuts. If he’s going to get a guaranteed major-league deal, which seems like somewhat of a longshot, a couple of million bucks should do the trick. He could also very likely be headed toward a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training.

    A team with nothing to lose and low expectations could be a good fit for Sano. Maybe Derek Shelton would welcome him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Miami Marlins could be a team to make use of him as a designated hitter, and he’d certainly feel at home in Florida. The Royals and Tigers have taken fliers on worse, but I’d bet they’ve seen enough over the years. Maybe Oakland tried to get something out of him, or the Rockies could be determined that the ball would fly at Coors Field. Seeing him go anywhere with real aspirations seems difficult.

    This is and never was going to be another David Ortiz scenario, no matter how many times it has been mentioned. Sano is not young, and there isn’t some key to unlocking a superstar. He’s a fine slugger that’s a known commodity, and the upside isn’t immense. It will be weird seeing him in another uniform for 2023, but here’s to hoping he makes the most of it.

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    Almost any team should take a flyer on him. But his health is still in question. H kmjight do better abroad, depending on how badly he would like to visit...Asia.

    I'm picturing he might end up starting the year in the Mexican Leagues, unless he gets some Winter Ball play to show he is up to be being back on a major league field. 

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    Financially he should be fine - $30 million is a good amount of money to live off the rest of his life.  So it is not a dire situation and I think the Pirates and Miami both make sense for him.  But I think about the Phillies and Ryan Howard - big man, big power, fell off quickly.  Starting in age 31 season. 

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    I thought his issue is catching up with fastballs and he T”s off on off speed pitches.  Let me know if I am wrong on this, but if that is the case he may be done.  He may get a minor league deal with spring invite but he will have to show he can hit a fastball.

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    7 hours ago, Ryan_K said:

    Hoping the Marlins get him with James again and not having to play in the cold. 

    James Rowson was let go by the Marlins and is now the assistant hitting coach with the Tigers.

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    It doesn’t really make sense for either side, but I see a $2 million minor league deal possibly being sent to Sano. If we were as injured as last year he wouldn’t be a bad depth option.

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    54 minutes ago, MTV said:

    It doesn’t really make sense for either side, but I see a $2 million minor league deal possibly being sent to Sano. If we were as injured as last year he wouldn’t be a bad depth option.

    If that happens, I will seriously consider cancelling my 20 game season ticket package. No thanks, hard pass on Sano returning to Minnesota. 

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    He will get a 1 year deal by some team that needs a bat.  He may be a big star in a new place.  He has always had the ability but never panned out here.  I am sure a team will take a shot at him. 

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    On 11/19/2022 at 1:45 PM, mikelink45 said:

    Financially he should be fine - $30 million is a good amount of money to live off the rest of his life.  So it is not a dire situation and I think the Pirates and Miami both make sense for him.  But I think about the Phillies and Ryan Howard - big man, big power, fell off quickly.  Starting in age 31 season. 

    it might not be enough.  Professional athletes are notorious for blowing their money and being dirt poor after they stop playing.

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    On 11/20/2022 at 5:57 PM, singlesoverwalks said:

    I'm pretty sure the 75% strikeout jags he went on had to be psychological. Maybe getting out of Minnesota, with the history of high expectations, helps him psychologically.

    maybe.  But his eye at the plate was always mediocre to poor except for two seasons when he seem to really connect.  Not everyone becomes a superstar hitter and it looks like Sano is definitely never going to become one.

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    On 11/19/2022 at 4:43 PM, strumdatjag said:

    Japan makes sense.  The Nippon League could be enamored with his big bat for one or two seasons before they get bored with him. 

    yeah they would love him for a year or two and then grow tired of him.  (I spent almost 6 years in Japan teaching english)

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    On 11/20/2022 at 1:02 PM, Trov said:

    He will get a 1 year deal by some team that needs a bat.  He may be a big star in a new place.  He has always had the ability but never panned out here.  I am sure a team will take a shot at him. 

    He won't be a star period.  His hitting is atrocious

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