The Twins have avoided arbitration with infielder/DH Miguel Sano, signing him to a three-year extension with a club option for 2023, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report on Friday night. The new deal, which will buy out what would have been Sanó’s first two free-agent years, will pay him $27 million over the three guaranteed seasons, plus either a $14 million option or a $3 million buyout in 2023, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal:
Third baseman Miguel Sano is in agreement with the Minnesota Twins on a three-year contract extension, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN. It includes a club option for the 2023 season and will buy out two year sof free agency.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 11, 2020
Check that: $3M buyout, not $3M club option. https://t.co/vk5Jyob1cJ— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 11, 2020
Sanó, who turns 27 in May, has had an extremely up-and-down career, frequently receiving criticism for his weight, conditioning, and fielding ability. But when he has it going from an offensive standpoint, Sanó is one of the best hitters in the majors. Though he didn’t make his season debut until May 16 of last year, the corner infielder ended up having his best offensive season yet, hitting .247/.346/.576 with 34 homers. It was a radical turnaround from his 2018 campaign, during which he was optioned to Single-A for five weeks, spent another week in Triple-A, and finished with a .199/.281/.398 slash line with 13 homers and a -0.5 bWAR at the major-league level.
Sanó’s fielding was still somewhat of an issue in 2019, as he posted -5 defensive runs saved at third base. Particularly in the unlikely event that the team ends up signing Josh Donaldson, it’s possible that he may finally make the shift to first base — a move that has been projected by many since the moment he reached the majors. With C.J. Cron gone and Marwin González also having the ability to play both corner infield positions, it’s quite possible that it may be in the Twins’ best interest to move Sanó to first either way and play González at third if they don’t make another move.