After accidentally hitting a police officer with his truck last weekend in the Dominican Republic, it’s safe to say Miguel Sano’s offseason hasn’t gotten off to the best start. Thankfully, however, the Twins don’t plan on just leaving Sano to his own devices all winter — they are actually making Sano’s offseason a huge priority.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, CBO Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine outlined what they had in mind for the third baseman. The team plans to keep a close eye on Sano’s progress all winter using frequent check-ins with team personnel, including “extended stays” at Ft. Myers. You may remember that Sano came to spring training last year with what Thad Levine called a “generous carriage”, and Sano struggled with it all the season. The Twins ended up sending Sano all the way down to Single-A in June specifically because they wanted him to stay at Ft. Myers, which has superior conditioning facilities. Sano was able to lose around 30 pounds during his mid-season stay in Florida, but still has more to go.
In early September Sano expressed a strong desire to lose more weight and get get his conditioning and career back on track. “I’ve been working hard all season because I had my surgery and they put in a rod. It’s been bothering me the whole year,” Sano told Dan Hayes of The Athletic. “I’ve got this offseason to work hard and come back ready to do my job and try to help out team the most I can.” The third baseman also told Mike Berardino that he had plans to work out with an old Dominican friend named Yon Soriano, who is an Olympic sprinter. Apparently, Sano used to run track with him? Who knew?
In addition to Sano’s own plans, however, the front office wants Sano to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, which runs from October 13th to December 17th.
“This is going to be the time where we put resources around him and create a certain level of expectations for him that we need to monitor throughout the winter to put him in the best position to earn the opportunities that he needs to have here at the major-league level,” Falvey said, per Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Of course, to really get started with any of this, Sano has to be healthy, which the team is unsure of at the moment. Sano only played four games in September because of a persistent knee injury, which is apparently still bothering him a little bit. The team plans to have him checked by doctors at their Dominican Academy facilities next Monday, according to Brandon Warne, and then go from there.
I’m pretty sure most Twins fans would agree that giving Sano a plan to follow and keeping a close eye on him over the offseason is a good idea. Based on previous years, Sano appears to be the kind of player who needs a big of babysitting while baseball is not in season. Not that he doesn’t work out at all — who can forget the video on his Instagram with his workout catcher sitting on two cinder blocks while he caught — but it seems like he does better the more structure he has.
Additionally, what these offseason plans seem to indicate is that the Twins don’t intend on getting rid of Sano. There’s a segment of fans, especially in recent days, who have called for the big guy to be traded or cut entirely, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
Who knows? Maybe if Sano sticks to his promise of getting back in shape, along with structure and help from the Twins, he can get back into All-Star form.
I’m going to wait until I see it before declaring all of these plans a success, though.