The first positive is that it pushes his arbitration clock back almost two years. What does that mean? Instead of him making the league minimum in 2014 and 2015 and getting a nice raise in 2016, he now won't be up for that raise until 2018. This will give the Twins more years of his prime if for some reason they cannot sign him long term if he comes up and is the real deal.
The second positive is that now we will have control of him longer, he will be coming up with some of our younger talented prospects instead of possibly being gone by the time they get here. There was so much talent in A+ and lower last season that is still a couple years away from the majors and now they are likely to be right behind Sano. Stewart, Berrios, Eades, Gonsalves, Sulbaran, Jorge, and Thorpe are all starting pitchers with very high upside who could be right behind Sano now heading to the majors. Position players like Rosario, Kepler, Polanco, Harrison, Santana, and Vargas now will be right behind him as well. It seems like Buxton will for sure now beat Sano to the majors. When Sano gets healthy and is major league ready instead of being one of the first pieces of the puzzle up in the majors, he could be that difference maker who takes us over the top. We could actually have a very good, very young rotation. We could have one of the best lineups in all of baseball, that would be missing that power right handed bat that Sano could fill.
The next positive is that we can now slow down Meyer and Buxton a little bit and make sure they are ready for good when we bring them up. The reason we can slow them down is because now we don't have to sell hope like we would have had Sano been healthy. This season was going to be so so until the All-Star Game, then afterwards we were suppose to start seeing our future in Sano, Buxton, and Meyer. Since Sano won't be here at all until maybe July of 2015 at the earliest, we might as well slow Meyer and Buxton up too. Meyer had shoulder issues last year so now the Twins can really monitor his innings and make sure he is major league ready before bringing him up. Plus it would give the Twins an extra year of team control, which is very useful since he is a Boras Client and is unlikely to sign an extension before hitting free agency. I say at the earliest a September call-up. Same goes for Buxton. September at the earliest. He is only 20 and not played a single game in AA yet, so there is no need to rush him. Let him get some seasoning in AA and AAA and make sure he will be up here for good when he arrives. Then of course sign him to a long term deal as soon as you can.
Finally by slowing down Meyer and Buxton and with Sano being out this gives some Twins this season to prove they still belong here. Plouffe will have this season to show that even once Sano arrives he could still be an asset to this team. He must improve defensively and become much more consistent at the plate. Slowing Meyer down gives Worley, Diamond, Deduno, and Gibson more opportunities to prove their worth for the future. Worley and Gibson have both looked good thus far this Spring and both have the highest upside of the four mentioned. If both pitch well, there is no need to force Meyer into the rotation any earlier, and it also forces him to force his way into the rotation in 2014. It also give Hicks and Arcia time to hopefully turn into the major leaguers we think they can be. We can only hope that Arcia being sent up and down all last season and Hicks not being sent down early enough, didn't fracture their confidence for good.
Twins fans have the right to be depressed and upset with how this situation was handled. Yes, it was reported that in October the MRI revealed a 10-20% tear of Sano's UCL. Yes, it was reported that it was Sano that didn't want surgery and got the go ahead from Dr. James Andrews, the ligament king of doctors. The organization, in my opinion should have still persuaded him to do the surgery then. He's not a pitcher, for a position player Tommy John isn't as bad as it is for pitchers. He will be able to swing a bat 4 months from the surgery. If he had the Surgery in November, he would just now be swinging a bat and wouldn't miss the 2014 season at all. He could have DH'd until he was able to throw again. Then he could have went to the Arizona Fall League to get a little more seasoning defensively and be on the Opening Day roster come 2015. Now, we'll be lucky to see him in 2015.
All in all, if Sano is truly the real deal this surgery will not affect his career, it will only affect the timing of his career. While it is a huge negative right now for Twins fans, there are some positives that could help us with our bright future. It will Sano at Target Field at some point in the near future, unfortunately not as early as we had hoped.
Written by Nick Calo, follow me on Twitter for more updates and sports thoughts @PRH1987