There's no business like Sano business.
Someone observed the other day that one way we can tell the Twins are better this year is that even their losses are better. This game was an example of that. Yes, they lost, but it was a good game all the way. They only got one run on four hits, but Johnny Cueto is a really good pitcher, and he'll do that to you sometimes. Again, it was a good game, the Twins were in it the whole way, and if not for a fine play by Billy Hamilton at the end the Twins might have at least sent it to extra innings.
Trevor May pitched well, giving up two runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings. Was it good enough to keep him in the rotation? I doubt it, but who knows? My track record of predicting what the Twins will do (as opposed to what they should do) is not very good. We've been told that Santana will start on Sunday, which would be Phil Hughes' turn, but obviously Hughes isn't going out of the rotation. Time will tell, I guess. It always does.
So on to the big Twins news, the promotion of Miguel Sano and the demotion of Kennys Vargas. First, I'm fine with having Sano here ahead of Vargas. I'd love to have them both in the lineup, but unfortunately neither of them has a defensive position right now. Vargas is not going to move Joe Mauer off first base. I'd like to see the Twins eventually trade Trevor Plouffe to open a spot for Sano, just as they once traded A. J. Pierzynski to open a spot for Mauer, but I don't expect them to do it at this point in the season, especially when they see themselves as contending for a wild card spot.
That means they both have to DH, and since you're not allowed to have two DHs, the Twins have to choose. It's not a criticism of Vargas to point out that Sano has always been a more highly regarded prospect that he is. So if--and this is a big if--the Twins are committed to giving Sano a good, long chance and sticking with him when he inevitably struggles at some point, then I think this is a perfectly reasonable move. If they're not, if they're going to play Sano for three weeks and when he doesn't take the league by storm start shuffling him in and out of the lineup, talk about how he needs to cut down his swing and use the whole field, and then send him back to the minors "for more seasoning", then my opinion will change. Again, time will tell.
What I don't understand, what makes no sense whatsoever, is sending Vargas to AA. That's not going to help his development, it's going to hurt it. It feels like the Twins have already given up on Vargas. In fact, I've seen comments, not directly attributed to the Twins but which I suspect are influenced by them, about how Vargas is a "disappointment" and even a "bust". Such comments are incredibly short-sighted.
What Vargas has been is streaky, a problem a lot of young sluggers have. He hit very well in August of last year. He did not hit well in September. He did not hit well in April of this year. He hit very well in May. He did not hit well in June. When you add it all together, though, you get a line of .262/.300/.417 and an OPS+ of 98. That's obviously not Mike Trout territory or anything, but it's not bad for a twenty-four-year old with less than a full season under his belt. It's certainly not bad enough to label him a bust or decide he can't play.
Kennys Vargas has hit at every level in the minors, and he's not done badly in his short time in the majors. There's no reason to think he won't hit in the majors, and every reason to think he will, if he can get with a team that has confidence in him and will stand by him through some early struggles. It does not appear that the Twins will be do that, so I hope he can get to a team that will.
Which brings me back to Miguel Sano. If Sano is to succeed, the Twins are going to have to show confidence in him and stand by him through some early struggles, just as they did not do with Vargas. Will they? Once again, "time will tell". But if you're going to give up on a young slugger every time he has a bad month, you're never going to develop a young slugger. And in fact, the Twins have not developed a young slugger since Justin Morneau, which was a long time ago now.
The Twins, meanwhile, will move on to Kansas City, where Kyle Gibson will face Chris Young. Gibson has pitched in a quite satisfactory fashion lately. Young has been good all year, but can throw a stinker in there occasionally. Perhaps tonight will be one of those occasions. With Sano around, we're certain to start that season-ending eighty-four game winning streak. We'll just have to settle for 125-37!