The baseball notes page that appears in the Sunday Boston Globe included speculation the Twins were looking at the possibility of adding Clay Buchholz or Jeff Samardzjia as a top-flight starter.
I’m hoping that Nick Cafardo’s source for this rumor can maintain his anonymity, or his baseball team might call that person in for a drug screening.
The Twins are capable of making mysterious decisions, but all the hallucinogens in the world would not cause the team’s brain trust to give up well-regarded assets for starting pitching.
Billy Beane tried that with Oakland last season. He added Samardzjia and Jon Lester to a good ballclub. The A’s squeezed into the playoffs and lost a wild-card game to Kansas City. It was a failed attempt at postseason glory that cost the A’s infielder Addison Russell and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
The Twins do not have a good ballclub. They have a fair ballclub.
The silliest debate among Twins fans lately has been: “Should the Twins go get a veteran hitter — a bopper — to add some punch to the lineup?’’
Next question: “For what purpose … to finish third in the AL Central, rather than fourth?’’
On Wednesday, the Twins did exactly what they should have done: They called up Miguel Sano from Class AA Chattanooga.
It turned out to be a swap of large bodies, with the 290-pound Kennys Vargas being shipped to Class AA, and the 265-pound Sano getting his first shot in the big leagues.
Already, we are being warned not to expect too much, based on Byron Buxton’s 11 games of futility at the plate before his latest injury, and Vargas getting himself out with some of the worst hacks in franchise history.
Maybe Sano will join the overmatched. Or maybe he will follow the example of Eddie Rosario, who looks like a player here to stay.
The frames and the swings are totally different, of course. Sano’s swing is forceful, Rosario’s quick.
Still, two years ago Sano had turned 20 and the Twins were saying that his bat was almost ready for the big leagues. They wanted him to get better in the field.
Then, he injured his right elbow, had Tommy John surgery in March 2014 and missed last season. When he started this season at Chattanooga, he was putting up 0-for-4s with three strikeouts regularly.
Recently he’s gotten back to being dangerous.
Sano is going to strike out, which isn’t much of an issue in the 2015 version of baseball.
There’s also the strong possibility that Sano has more maturity than Buxton as a hitter — that he’ll be willing to pounce on first-pitch fastballs and to pummel a pitcher’s mistake with a breaking ball.
What would mess up Sano thoroughly is if the Twins decide that there is a need to let him see semi-regular action at third base.
I have solid information from Southern League sources that the only position Sano is equipped to fill as a big leaguer at this moment is DH. No matter what the Twins try to say about his hands, Sano would make the Trevor Plouffe of two years ago look like Adrian Beltre at third base.
The Twins are nothing if not stubborn. They insisted that Sano keep playing third at Chattanooga, even if his enormous size screams that he play first base in the majors.
Third or first … that shouldn’t be an issue starting Thursday night.
Presumably, Sano will be hitting fifth or sixth and serving as designated hitter in Paul Molitor’s order. Let Sano worry about that — hitting — for the second half of the schedule and nothing else.
He can play third when Plouffe goes on paternity leave this month, and maybe fill-in there once a week, but Sano should be with the Twins for one reason: to bat.
Also remember this, when making Vargas and Buxton comparisons:
• Sano and Vargas were never in the same universe as power-hitting prospects. Sano was the deal; Vargas was a suspect.
• Based on pro experience, Sano always was considered to be more advanced as a hitter than Buxton.
The American League’s new-model Miggy can’t field. He might be able to hit. And that would be more than enough.