Miguel Sano has offered far more distraction and untapped promise than production lately, so the Minnesota Twins may have to make a tough decision.
A bad moment in Minnesota Twins history came when they decided to release an injury-prone slugger named David Ortiz in December of 2002. Miguel Sano may not become a playoff hero and Hall of Fame candidate with another team, but the team is facing a critical point with a player who was once one of the top prospects in baseball.
Early Sunday morning, in the Dominican Republic, Sano was arrested after a police incident that involved an officer suffering a broken leg. Sano allegedly ran over the officer’s foot, after being stopped for driving without license plates and he was not carrying proper identification. He was released from custody on Sunday, with a promise he’d return to meet authorities Monday morning.
An update later Monday morning said Sano will not face criminal charges for the incident, as it was deemed not to be intentional. He has apparently offered to pay all of the officer’s medical expenses, for what that’s worth.
Last December, Sano was accused of sexual harassment by a female photographer. No charges were filed and MLB did not levy any discipline, but it’s still a black mark.
But Sano followed with perhaps the most disappointing season of what has been an underachieving career thus far.
Working his way back from offseason surgery on his left leg left him out of shape going into the season yet again. That was followed by an April hamstring injury, a demotion all the way down to Single-A in June to get himself right in all facets and a left knee issue cost him most of September. Over 299 plate appearances with the Twins, Sano posted a .199/.281/.398 slash-line with 13 home runs and 41 RBI while striking out 38.5 percent of the time.
Sano is arbitration eligible for three more years, so the Twins don’t have to make an urgent decision on him. But they surely will not consider a multi-year deal for him right now, as ongoing conditioning issues have been met with a decline in performance and off-field distractions.
Fans will be fearful of Sano being let go, then having to watch him figure it all out elsewhere like Ortiz did. But at some point Sano won’t be worth the trouble anymore. Even if this traffic incident in his home country was not the act of malice it first seemed to be, Sano is starting to push things to that point of no return for the Twins.