With the start of Spring Training just one week away, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Decisions on recent arbitration hearings loom:
According to the Associated Press, two arbitration hearings have been completed, with decisions pending: the case between the Rays and right-hander Ryan Thompson, and the case between the Angels and outfielder Hunter Renfroe. While Thompson’s hearing was just yesterday, Renfroe’s hearing was over a week ago, with no decision announced as of yet despite more recent hearings having decisions handed down. Thompson followed up an excellent 2021 campaign where he posted a 2.38 ERA (3.11 FIP) with a more pedestrian 2022 where he posted a roughly league average ERA of 3.80 (3.42 FIP). His career mark is a 3.50 ERA with a nearly identical 3.55 FIP across 103 innings. Thompson’s camp filed for arbitration at a figure of $1.2MM, while the Rays countered with a figure of $1MM. Colin Poche, Jason Adam, and Harold Ramirez all also have unsettled arbitration salaries with the Rays.
As for Renfroe, he was traded in November by the Brewers to the Angels, who become his fifth club in as many seasons. Renfroe’s .255/.315/.492 (124 wRC+) line in 2022 was his best in any full season. Following the trade, Renfroe’s camp filed at a figure of $11.9MM, while the Angels countered at $11.25MM.
2. Sano working out for teams today
Today, former Twins first baseman Miguel Sano is set to participate in a showcase for clubs after an injury-plagued season where he struggled to a line of just .083/.211/.133 (9 wRC+) in 20 games before a knee injury ended his season. If the showcase goes well, Sano represents an interesting alternative to Luke Voit and Yuli Gurriel for clubs looking for a right-handed hitter to man first base. Voit’s 102 wRC+ was the only above average season line among the trio last year, making him perhaps the safest bet for any club looking to make an addition, while Sano and Gurriel both come with their own separate risks; Sano’s prodigious power has frequently been undercut by his staggering penchant for strikeouts, while Gurriel is looking for a rebound from one of his worst seasons as he heads into his age-39 campaign.
3. MLBTR Chat Today
Do you have any questions regarding your favorite team or the larger baseball world as the 30 clubs gear up for Spring Training and make their last minute offseason moves? MLBTR’s Steve Adams will be fielding questions from readers today during a live chat at 1pm CT. If you would like to ask questions in advance, you can do so here. That same link will also take you to the chat when it begins if you would like to participate live.
Luke Voit has been disrespected his whole career
I don’t think he was disrespected while with the Yankees. Most Yankees fans liked him a lot but understood the need to upgrade first base and move on from him.
I am surprised he hasn’t gotten a deal yet this offseason.
Voit is strikeout prone, doesn’t possess a respectable OBA, is an average fielder at best. This makes him a one trick pony that doesn’t have much upside.
He was same caliber as Rizzo before this year. Obviously defense and health concerns weigh him down but defense means little at 1B and he had a 137 wRC+ 2018-2021 vs Rizzo’s 124.
I think you may be underscoring defense as there has been a marked difference between Rizzo and Voit’s defense at 1B. Rizzo’s ability to scoop throws is one where infielders can feel more confident rushing throws. Rizzo also has a much longer track record. I did like Voit and his passion though.
Was finally healthy enough to get 500 AB’s and had the least productive season of his career. No one “needs” a 106 ops+ DH. I like Luke, but he has an extremely long swing that’s highly susceptible if not 100% healthy and his range at 1b is non-existent.
Sano: Small sample size of only 20 gms, but a WRC+ of NINE? That’s Chris Davis’ last season played bad. Yikes.
For Love of the Game
That’s only 9 above me and I don’t even play (or get paid to)!
A DH that can’t hit … lol
Not only bad, but the “injury” that ended Sano’s year was more to team dignity than to Sano himself. He would have kept going if allowed:
“While it’s possible he could return for the end of the regular season or potentially the playoffs, both manager Rocco Baldelli and Derek Falvey, president of baseball operations, weren’t ready to make that call. “We’re evaluating a lot of options, and obviously the move we made today makes it challenging to imagine that,” Falvey said of Sano’s 2022 prospects. “… We had some conversations with his agent, with him. There are other procedures being considered. And I don’t want to speak on those until we know exactly what that’s going to be.”
Ah yes, the elusive single-digit WRC+
I would put Edwin Ríos on my first base wish list before Sano. I think you get a similar player for significantly less money.
I would put a 74yr old Dave Kingman at first before Sano.
Last year was a bust, but you wouldn’t take the 2021 version of Sano for 1b/DH?
Of course. As a RS fan, I’d love to have him on a split contract, but someone else will find room on their roster. Some posters are way, way over-emphasizing his 60 2022 ABs.
Formerdraftpick – you moved the goalposts slightly… your original post only mentioned him as firstbase option. As a DH..maybe a minor league deal but he is never an option at 1B. Better off leaving it empty and have a fast 2B cover it.
The Big Yo
Someone is taking a flyer on Sano at DH, unless there’s an injury or something
Mariners! Please pick up Rios on a minor deal!
Did the Angels sign Gio? Probably not smart trading for arb players to build around ohtani last season, and telling them they’re not worth the money
Agree. Renfroe was traded for and the difference is about 10%. Such is important for those with a “real” every day job but I’m surprised both sides haven’t compromised. My question to Bloom in hindsight is would you take 30 homers from Duvall and Turner each? I respect Bloom’s ability to search for undervalued players but again in hindsight, the JBJ return to Boston was bad.
I would argue they have significantly less incentive to compromise since the Angels just acquired them a year before they are free agents. Their relationship will likely only last one season, and they have no preexisting relationship with the players to sour over an arbitration hearing. It is a little different for a guy you drafted and developed in their first or second year of arb to go to a hearing.
Everyone other than Bloom knew that JBJ didn’t belong in a starting lineup at this point but he did it anyways.
Boggles my mind no one has signed sano. Career ops of .800 and yet he has to recognize this is likely his last shot at the majors.
Vet minimum, no mlb guarantee with incentives. “Best shape of his life” is something we’ve heard every year so expect it again, but if it’s not actually true then he’s basically given up
He also has the ugliest K percentage out there. With the limited shift—I. Think his profile is even less appealing.
A lug w/ a questionable work ethic and numbers that are trending down. A virtual lock for a 35% K rate & can’t field anywhere.
95% of the time a strikeout is the same out as a groundout or fly out.
If there’s a runner on second or third and it’s hit the right place is the only way it would matter any.
Also every team has a DH and most DH numbers by team were horrific last year
Not being able to keep the line moving is a problem.
Let’s say we assume what you say is true—that 5% difference is enough to make a guy like Sano not worthwhile.
He’s a double play on the base paths and doesn’t hVe a glove. Have to hit better than 5-8% over the league average to make that work w/ those kind of numbers.
He’s worth a minor league deal—because who isn’t? But, you probably have someone else in your system you’re better off with.
Sano is over. IF he makes contact he’s great…but dude K’s wayyyy too much and can’t be counted on in any situation.
Seeing the names of Sano, Rios, and Voit – guys who can’t really play a defensive position – reminds me of the great line from a scout about Billy Butler:
“He’s standing in left field, but I wouldn’t say he’s actually ‘playing’ left field”
Red Sox should pick up Sano. Pretty good track record of success with Twins released 1B DH types.
Sano has been semi productive pretty recently, you could do way worse on a league minimum deal or minor league deal. He was terrible last year but he didn’t get much of a chance. Ops plus of 112 in 2021 and 105 in 2020.
What baggage is Renfroe carrying? Even though he’s been very productive, 5th team in 5 years screams problem child.
Sano cannot play first base. I know the Twins put him there, but Sano has posted 3 of the worst 5 UZR/150s in history at the position.
2022 = dead last in MLB -57.1 (147 innings) an unfathomable number.
2021 = dead last in MLB -38.4 (996 innings) an unreal number, worst in MLB history for qualified.
2020 = dead last in MLB -15.3 (423 innings) a nearly unplayable number
Miguel Sano owns more dead last UZR/150 finishes at 1B than any other player in MLB history and his total UZR/150 is also the worst in MLB history, by a mile, for players over 1000 innings at the position.
Keep in mind, the difference between DH and 1B is only about 5 runs. He simply cannot be played in the field due to lack of conditioning and effort. Teams expecting Miguel Sano to do anything other than DH are in la-la land.
When looking at Sano’s production in wRC+ and keeping in mind Sano may be as many as 3 years older than listed based on the controversy regarding MLB being unable to verify his age at the time the Twins signed him, the trend is obvious. Sano hasn’t brought a great bat to the table in 5 years, excluding the juiced ball in 2019.
2015 = 149 (a22-25)
2016 = 107 (a23-26)
2017 = 125 (a24-27)
2018 = 83 (a25-28)
2019 = 138 (a26-29)
2020 = 101 (a27-30)
2021 = 112 (a28-31)
2022 = 9 (a29-32)
I think teams are going to be aware of this stuff and Sano gets a MiLB contract with an invite and opt out. Worst case? MiLB contract, invite, no opt out. Somebody will take a flyer on him IF he’s under 270lbs.
I suppose, on the plus side, if Sano shows up at 250lbs somehow, teams will know they’ll get a lot of effort in his attempt to secure a multi-year contract, but you just don’t want to be the team who ever gives it to the guy.
Sano typically starts the season 0 for his first 100 (only a slight exaggeration), then he finally starts making more loud contact (while still striking out a ton) and uses the rest of the season to get his offensive output up to respectable-ish.
His eye at the plate actually looked pretty good in his limited time while making a million outs in a short amount of time last season. (Note that doesn’t mean he was making contact, just seemingly laying off stuff.)
It just always seems to take him a month or so to get his swing going. It’s hard to justify being that patient with him going forward. Pelotero seems like a lifetime ago.
I think a lot of stats folks look at Sano’s walk rate and o-swing rates and determine Sano’s plate discipline is solid. The thing about Sano is where pitchers pitch to him. They don’t just throw him pitches which miss the strike zone a little, they throw utter garbage at him because he’ll still swing at a lot of it and make little contact when he does swing. Both Sano’s whiff rate and his called strike rate are very high.
There’s no doubt Sano utterly punishes mistakes, but he seems to become an automatic out once he gets behind, and he gets behind in the count pretty often, and that auto out status can be observed by his WPA. Remove 2015, and Sano’s career WPA is actually negative due to him posting negative WPA’s in 4 of his last 5 seasons. Ouch.