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What to do about Miguel Sanó?

Same struggles, different season

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Hello there, friends!

When news broke the other day that Miguel Sanó had sprained his knee needed to have meniscus surgery, a few thoughts crossed my mind. Before we knew it was a meniscus repair issue, I was genuinely curious if the limping around might be a way to save face for his standard start-of-the-season struggles and the inevitable demotion to “rehab stint” in St. Paul. (2018 saw him demoted all the way down to single-A ball after being a 2017 All Star, but in more recent years it’s been ‘hamstring issues’ or some such ailment that led to some time on the IL/AAA roster for rehab.)

Whether the meniscus issue is serious or not, the struggling slugger has decided to have surgery and his return timetable is up in the air. I’m no doctor, but I do know that many people can deal with a torn meniscus without surgery for months or at all. I’m not saying it’s not painful, I’m only pointing out that it’s not one of the more serious knee injuries out there, like a torn ACL or broken patella, etc. The fact that he’s a professional athlete being paid millions of dollars might make the decision to have surgery the right solution to get back on the field faster, rather than dealing with it with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and some Advil. But I can’t help but wonder if he’s using this surgery as his standard early season time out.

Do I feel like a total a-hole even thinking these kinds of thoughts? Absolutely. I don’t know what kind of pain the man is in and it very well could be the reason he’s hitting just .093/.231/.148 in his 17 played games this season. But if we’ve learned anything from Sanó over his previous seven seasons, it’s that he takes a while to get his bomba on. I don’t have the attention span to break down stats and analyze the bejesus out of them, but there was a very good article by CJ Baumgartner over at Zone Coverage about how Sanó is just a slow starter if you want to delve into this further. But knowing that Miguel takes a while to warm up each year.. wouldn’t one think that maybe the Twins would have him doing more in the off season? Like, how can we get July/August/September Sanó all season long?

I’ve often wondered how long the Twins will put up with this half-season trash and half-season badassery, and ultimately deal him to Boston or New York where he fulfills his destiny as Papi 2.0? There have been so many articles about this very question over the last few years. However, one of the best came from The Athletic last year. The TL;DR cliff’s notes: The patience each season often pays off and his contract is almost up (he has a $14 million club option for 2023 that will likely be declined in favor of a $2.75 million buyout).

All that being said, and despite having a first baseman that is hitting an abysmal .093, the Twins have somehow managed to be ridiculously good this season so far. The Twins keep on winning, and they’ve done it without much from Sanó’s bat. His one major success was a clutch hit followed up with bonehead running blunder that by the grace of all that’s holy turned into a walkoff win.

According to my poll last week, many of you think the Twins will have a shot at staying this good this season if Buxton stays healthy. But the majority of you also feel that the Twins have had a pretty cake schedule so far, but have potential to stay good. So think about this: as the Twins head into a more difficult schedule in June, with a slugging first baseman rather than a guy that is hitting less than 10% of the time, they’ll likely be legit contenders.

I do love that 22 of you are praying to Jobu. Keep that shit up.

So imagine, if you will, that the Twins are gifted with an IL stint for Sanó, and we get to see them call up a very talented prospect, José Miranda. Now that this has become the reality, what happens if (when) Miranda comes in, starts kicking ass, and then Sanó completes his rehab stint in St. Paul, starts tearing it up, and is ready to come back to his spot in the lineup? Will the Twins start shopping Sanó because this timing will likely coincide with early summer and a looming trade deadline? But what happens if Sanó milks this injury and stays on the IL past the trade deadline? Will they then send Miranda back to St. Paul and welcome Miguel back to his corner of the infield and watch as he hits 30 home runs again, even with a very shortened season? Would they send someone else to St. Paul and keep Miranda on the squad to let Sano split his time between DH and 1B? The possibilities are endless, really.

The Twins are going to have to come up with a Sanó solution sooner rather than later. His history makes things so difficult, because (take your pick):

  • He sucks.
  • He’s amazing.
  • He’s slow to start.
  • He’s a beast that launches homers to the moon.
  • He strikes out all the time.
  • He’s learned patience.
  • He’s awful.
  • He’ll never realize his potential.
  • He’s about to realize his potential.

He’s all of these things all at the same time, and depending on if you are an optimist, pessimist, or realist, your vote on his future with the Twins can literally change with the wind. So I ask you, friends: Just what would YOU do with Sanó?


What should the Twins do with Miguel Sanó when he’s done with this IL stint?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Demote him to St. Paul and keep him there if Miranda is playing well. Cut our losses when his contract is up.
    (87 votes)
  • 4%
    Get him back to the lineup ASAP. His rehab should be enough time to get his head back on right.
    (16 votes)
  • 10%
    Keep Miranda on the roster and have him share 1B with Sanó
    (40 votes)
  • 47%
    Trade him while we can still get more than a pack of gum and a player to be named later in return
    (184 votes)
  • 12%
    Renegotiate his contract to give him a short term deal like Correa, riddled with performance bonuses
    (50 votes)
  • 2%
    Renegotiate his contract to a long term deal (but with performance bonuses because we’re no dummies)
    (11 votes)
388 votes total Vote Now

Until next time!