Miguel Sano, the imposing slugger for the Twins who could crush a baseball to the deepest part of most ballparks, but who also struck out at an alarming rate, has become a free agent after the Twins declined to pick up his contract option.
In addition to Sano, the Twins also declined the options for pitchers Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer, both of whom underwhelmed this season.
Sano spent 13 years in the Twins organization and was certainly the talk of the franchise when he made his big league debut in 2015. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year vote that season and was named an All-Star in 2017. He hit 162 home runs over his eight seasons with the Twins, but he also struggled with injuries, his weight and he struck out more than 1,000 times. Even in the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, in which teams played 60 games, Sano led the majors with 90 whiffs in 186 at bats, striking out 50 percent of the time.
The only worry this fan has — and I’m not alone in thinking this based on the number of online comments I have seen — is what becomes of Sano if he signs with another team? And it’s not just any team, just one: the Boston Red Sox.
Twins fans are paranoid because to see Sano is to be reminded of former Twin David Ortiz, who played six seasons with the Twins before embarking on a Hall of Fame career with the Red Sox. For the Twins, I think Ortiz’s departure is now considered one of the great missed opportunities in club history and for fans something they don’t want to see the team repeat. As for Sano, I think the Twins understand the kind of player he is, including his limitations.
Why do I pause? Because the concerns look something like this: Sano signs with the Red Sox, they insert him into the lineup between Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, he never sees another breaking pitch and he hits 50 doubles off the Green Monster with 50 home runs. The Red Sox win the World Series while the Twins are chased out of the playoffs by, oh, I don’t know, how about the Baltimore Orioles? The paranoia is real.
-The Twins did pick up the contract option for pitcher Sonny Gray while shortstop Carlos Correa has decided to opt-out of his contract after one season to become a free agent. He was free to do so because that was the structure of the deal that brought him to Minnesota in the first place.
One might wonder: Why not take a longer look at Correa for this blog? Something along the lines of, “We hardly knew ye, Carlos Correa.” It crossed my mind, but if Correa is only going to give the Twins one season, I can’t be bothered to recap it.
Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com