The deal happened within the whirl of a trade deadline bout, and it’s so subtle that it ran away without notice or emotion.
Twin Miguel Sano was put on the infected list for 60 days Last week, he marks the end of his playing days in Minnesota.
shrug my shoulder.
Now back to worrying about supply.
The indifference to Sano’s news was surprising as this wasn’t just another daily deal involving a player with marginal ties to the team.
Sano was once hailed as organizational savior, along with Byron Buxton, two unmissable prospects set to become stars as she leads the twins out of a bleak period in the team’s history.
Compare that photo to reality progress, and Sano’s quiet exit with his damaged left knee after 13 years with the organization leaves an awkward dance between the team and the veteran player and fan base that has already turned the page.
Sano is 29 years old and should be at the height of his career. Instead, he’s hit 083 in 20 games this season, and during his brief comeback from knee surgery, several people, including myself, have expressed concern that Sano’s presence could drive away the young players who deserve to be in the squad over a range of years. The third highest salary in the salary scale.
The head of baseball operations for the Twins Derek Valvey hasn’t entirely ruled out a potential comeback for Sanu if the team makes the playoffs, though the timing of his assignment to IL “makes it hard to imagine,” Valvey admitted.
Common sense says his season is over. His career is in Minnesota as well.
Sano’s contract expires after the season ends. The team has a $14 million option for next season, which obviously won’t be selected.
So how should one view Sano’s legacy in Minnesota?
When examining his eight seasons in their entirety, his impact is best described as unrealized given the hype that accompanied it. The promise of stardom never materialized after a few productive seasons and periodic hot streaks that were a tease.
Back in 2009, the team signed the 16-year-old Dominican player for the largest international signing bonus in franchise history – $3.15 million. Senior scouts in the organization believe Sano reminded them of the great Miguel Cabrera.
Sano was ranked the 11th best prospect in all of MLB in 2015, with Buxton retaining the number one spot. Sano started his career in the big league with great fanfare, finishing third in the 2015 Player of the Year vote in a half season of performances. The noise seemed justified.
There were other high points. He made the All-Star Team in 2017 and reached 30 home runs twice.
Every time he launched a ball into orbit or put a series of jogs on his turf for three weeks, the reaction was always the same: he finally caught it and this version of Miguel Sano is special.
It didn’t last long. There was always something standing in the way of him becoming a steady force in the middle of the lineup.
injuries. strikes. Concerns about his weight. Correct domain disaster.
Sano has never made the necessary adjustments as a hitter to reduce avalanches and attacks. His home runs were amazing and caused great reactions on the field. Well, that was 6% of his speculation.
Since his debut in July 2015, Sano has the second most hits in the MLB at 1042, trailing only Eugenio Suarez at 1091. Suarez has had nearly 1,100 more bats than Sano during that time.
Sano has a career strike rate of 36%, and has hit 1,000 strikes faster than any player in Major League Baseball history.
His occasional home run hasn’t been enough to offset a whiff of his influence or to justify keeping him in the squad, even when he’s healthy. Now he is getting injured again as his team seeks a place in the play-off.
The realization that Sano would almost certainly not play another game in the Twins costume hardly made a ripple in the public discussion. What a sad ending to something that once held so much hope and anticipation.