Friday, November 27, 2015

Outfield options: Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano finished
third in the Rookie
of the Year voting.
Miguel Sano told at least one reporter at the end of the major league season that he'd be playing third base for his Dominican team in winter ball. Any other positions? the reporter asked. No. Third base, was the response.

A few weeks later, the Twins started talking about Sano as an outfield option and said they would ask his winter league team to play the young slugger in the outfield.

If that has indeed happened, word of it has yet to reach me. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't happen; Caribbean teams are not beholden to a major league parent, and they are trying to win. Estrellas de Oriente is no exception.

Still: We know a healthy Sano is going to be in the Twins lineup. They have veteran incumbents at third base (Trevor Plouffe) and first base (Joe Mauer); they presumably will have a pricy import (Byung Ho Park) at DH/1B; and they have outfield positions available. So there is some logic to the idea.

I continue to have a difficult time taking it seriously, however.

There are no 260-pound outfielders running around in the majors these days; that's Sano's listed weight, and that might be a tad light. The Twins have no shortage of legitimate outfield talent on hand; unproven talent, to be sure, but talent. One thing that helped improve the 2015 Twins was better outfield defense; stuffing Sano out there figures to be a step in the wrong direction.

Give Paul Molitor enough time to talk about Sano as an outfielder, and he'll concede that the big guy might never actually play out there for the Twins.

My expectation is that Plouffe will be traded in the next few weeks, and that will make Sano the likely third baseman for 2016. That would be for the best.


  1. I am curious as to why the Twins aren't considering Plouffe for a super utility role. He could rotate in at third, first, right, left, and DH for five games a week giving the others a rest and potentially helping with lefty / righty platoon match ups. At this point I would rather have him patrolling RF, than Arcia or Sano, until Kepler is ready. I also fear that Rosario will struggle a bit like Santana in year two. To me, increasing his versatility could increase his market value when he reaches free agency.

  2. I would hate to see Plouffe go! It is like when the Twins traded Burnansky for Herr. They gave up a productive teammate and popular player and get next to nothing back. Too much risk. They will not receive Trout in exchange, if they would then perhaps the motivation to trade would be different.