The Minnesota Twins have rebuilt their pitching staff during the course of one off-season. However, the work is never done, and there are still moves that can be made.
The Minnesota Twins look poised to make noise in the American League during the 2018 season. The Twins have been active this off-season has and are set up to contend during the 2018 season. However, there is still the possibility that Minnesota adds more pieces during the season. One name to keep an eye on as a possible trade candidate is Miguel Sano.
Sano has been everything the Twins thought they were getting when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. He has shown power during his brief career and has quickly made a name for himself in Major League Baseball.
Sano is a .254 hitter with 71 home runs and 195 runs batted in during his brief two and a half year career. He has also been better than people realize defensively at third base, with a career .941 fielding percentage. However, if you take out his disastrous 2016 season, he has been better than average in the field.
Last season was a career year for Sano, and the Minnesota Twins should capitalize on that success. He hit .264 with 28 home runs and 77 runs batted in while helping the Twins reach the postseason. He also enjoyed his best season defensively, while commiting only seven errors in 209 chances at third base.
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Why trading Sano makes sense
Sano doesn’t turn 25 until May of this year and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season. That kind of team control is extremely valuable and is why Minnesota should look into what they can get for him.
Sano is young and controllable, and that’s exactly what teams look for when making trades. However, he doesn’t come without faults, and and he will need to step up during the ’18 season. He enters this season having to prove that his leg is healthy, and that he can hold up over the course of a 162 game schedule. Sano has yet to play more than 116 games in a season, so his durability is definitely in question.
Sano’s body type isn’t suited for third base, and has proven problematic in the past. I think Major League teams have learned from the likes of Pablo Sandoval and are more hesitant to offer big money deals to bigger players not playing first base. That’s where a position change comes in and may be the best thing moving forward for Sano.
The Minnesota Twins can use Sano as the centerpiece to a trade for a true Ace starting pitcher like Chris Archer or Marcus Stroman. This team is ready to contend now, and Sano might be their most valuable trade chip.
However, now isn’t the time to trade Sano because his value is at its lowest. Sano can rebuild his trade value with a solid couple of months to start this season. That’s when Minnesota shouldn’t hesitate to dangle him for another top-end starting pitcher.