It’s no secret the Twins offense has been pretty bad lately, and the lack of, well, anything from Miguel Sano has been a big part of the problem. Since returning from the disabled list back on May 25th, Sano has been particularly abysmal, hitting only .191/.247/.353 with two home runs, his last of which came May 31st. Molitor has even been electing to sit Sano during games lately, putting the hot-hitting Eduardo Escobar at third instead.
Paul Molitor didn’t even bother pinch hitting Sano for Robbie Grossman or Jake Cave in the ninth inning of the Thursday’s 3-1 loss against Tigers, which seemed like an ominous message. So just let me take a sip of this pipping hot coffee and check out my post-game Twitter feed...
Twins option Miguel Sano, an All-Star in 2017, to Class A Ft Myers.— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) June 14, 2018
WHAT IN THE JESUS JOSEPH PATRICK MAUER!?
That tweet is not a joke. I literally thought it was at first, but then I saw all these:
Miguel Sano is headed to Fort Myers. Jake Cave is headed to Rochester. Joe Mauer and another player will he added tomorrow.— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesMLB) June 14, 2018
I’m sorry. That’s Single-A for Sano, Triple-A for Cave. https://t.co/B4DiqvDg1Q— Brian Hall (@MNBrianHall) June 14, 2018
Miguel Sano, an all star with 28 homers in 114 games a year ago, has been demoted to *Single-A.* https://t.co/d0IJUeMy8j— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) June 14, 2018
The Twins are, uh, pretty damn clearly sending Miguel Sano a message here that he needs to get serious about getting back on track with baseball.
Paul Molitor told reporters that the move is in Sano’s best interests, and the idea is for him to work on all components of the game. Phil Miller of the Star Tribune said Ft. Myers was picked particularly so Sano would be based at the team’s spring training headquarters and would receive more “hands-on supervision[.]” Derek Falvey also told Miller the team really wants Sano to go back to a “blank canvas” and start over in the most supportive environment possible. Considering the team has everything down there, not just coaches, but also conditioning equipment, dorms, a cafeteria, and dietitians, the team probably really does want him to work on everything.
Sano is reportedly taking the news well (if not also somewhat oddly):
“I’m not mad, I’m happy,” Sano said, to get a chance to solve his slump in FtM. “They love me.”— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) June 14, 2018
As you probably remember, Sano fouled a ball of his leg in August of 2017, causing a stress reaction that later required surgery to insert a titanium rod in his leg. The surgery meant Sano wasn’t able to walk for a lot of the offseason, and he came to spring training looking rather, uh, well-fed. Sano also suffered a hamstring strain earlier this season that had him on the DL for almost a month. There have been questions about Sano’s conditioning stretching back to last year.
The move is surprising because it’s basically never been done before (that I know of), and isn’t the “normal” approach in these situations. However, reading more of the front office’s reasoning behind the move, it seems like it was made based on a lot of factors, not just trying to punish or send a message to Sano.