Monday, January 14, 2019

Where they stand: Third base

Presumed regular: Miguel Sano

Others on 40: Ehire Adrianza, Ronald Torreyes

Notable nonroster: None

The Twins are all in on Sano at third base this year.

In 2018 and 2017, they had Eduardo Escobar as Plan B, and El De La Pica was a pretty good Plan B. It is quite possible that Escobar is a better player than Sano. In 2016 and 2015, they had Trevor Plouffe as Plan A at third base, which was part of the failed attempt to make Sano an outfielder. And overlapping with those two was Eduardo Nunez.

When Sano went down with injuries, there was always somebody to plug in at third base.

There is no obvious Plan B at third base now. Escobar is with the Diamondbacks. Plouffe is 32 and scrounging for a spring training invite after just 12 major-league at-bats in 2018. And the Twins have Adrianza and Torreyes, shortstops with no power, at the top of their infield reserve ladder.

The Twins say they have been monitoring Sano's offseason more diligently this year, that he is checking in at their Dominican complex regularly. New manager Rocco Baldelli went to the island a couple weeks ago to visit Sano, and a photo of the two on social media suggests that Sano is trimmer than we've seen him in the past.

All that is well and good, but we've see three full seasons since Sano was called up in midseason 2015, and the big man has yet to stay off the disabled list. This year, more than ever, the Twins need that to change.

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