The transaction unfolded in a whirlwind of commercial frenzy, so subtle that it slipped away without much notice or emotion.
The Twins placed Miguel Sano on the 60-day injured list last week, signaling the end of his playing days in Minnesota.
Raise your shoulders.
Now back to worrying about pitch.
The indifference to Sano’s news was striking as it wasn’t just another daily deal involving a player with fringe ties to the team.
Sano has already been hailed as a savior to the organization, along with Byron Buxton, two key prospects destined to become stars while lifting the Twins out of a dark period in the team’s history.
Compare that image to the current reality, and Sano’s quiet exit with a damaged left knee after 13 years with the organization leaves an awkward dance between the team, the veteran player and a fan base that has already moved on.
Sano is 29 and should be at the peak of his career. Instead, he’s batted .083 in 20 games this season, and in his brief comeback from knee surgery, many people, including me, expressed concern that Sano’s presence might ward off the young players who deserved to be in the lineup for a player with the third highest salary on the payroll.
Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey hasn’t completely ruled out a possible Sano return if the team makes the playoffs, though the timing of his move to IL “makes it hard to imagine that. “, recognized Falvey.
Common sense says his season is over. His career in Minnesota too.
Sano’s contract expires after the season. The team has a $14 million option for next season, which obviously won’t be selected.
So how should we view Sano’s legacy in Minnesota?
Looking at its eight seasons in their entirety, its impact is best described as unsatisfactory given the hype that has accompanied it. The promise of stardom never materialized beyond a few productive seasons and periodic hot streaks that served as teasers.
In 2009, the team signed the 16-year-old Dominican prospect for the biggest international signing bonus in franchise history – $3.15 million. The organization’s top scouts thought Sano reminded them of the great Miguel Cabrera.
Sano was ranked the 11th-best prospect in all of MLB in 2015, with Buxton retaining the top spot. Sano started his major league career with a bang, finishing third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2015 in half a season of performances. The hype seemed warranted.
There were other highlights. He made an All-Star team in 2017 and hit 30 home runs twice.
Every time he threw a ball into orbit or set up a three-week home run streak, the reaction was always the same: he finally got it, and this version of Miguel Sano is special.
It never lasted long. Something has always kept him from becoming a constant force in the middle of the roster.
Injuries. Barred. Worries about his weight. The debacle of good ground.
Sano never made the necessary adjustments as a hitter to minimize drops and strikeouts. His home runs were prodigious and generated big reactions in the stadium. OK, that was 6% of his at-bats.
Since his debut in July 2015, Sano has the second most strikeouts in MLB with 1,042, behind Eugenio Suarez with 1,091. Suarez has nearly 1,100 more batters than Sano in that span.
Sano has a career strikeout percentage of 36% and he has reached 1,000 strikeouts faster than any player in Major League Baseball history.
His occasional home run wasn’t enough to make up for his flushes or to justify keeping him in the lineup, even when healthy. Now he’s injured again as his team battles for a playoff spot.
The realization that Sano will almost certainly not play another game in a Twins uniform has barely made a ripple in the public debate. What a sad end for something that once held so much hope and anticipation.