While browsing around for notes on the status of Miguel Angel Sano, aka, Hanley Pujols, I noticed that no two media outlets had the same information. One source said the Pirates had made an offer. Another denied this. One reporter said the Orioles weren’t in on Sano. Another said they were leading the race.
The only thing that was consistent was this: MLB has not concluded their age verification of Sano.
Considering Sano is the top prospect in the international signing period, I don’t understand what is taking so long for MLB to get the tests done. You would think he would be a top priority. My theory is that MLB is trying to draw out the news period for the international signing period. While July 2nd only marks the start of the signing period, a lot of top players get signed right away, as we saw yesterday, and maybe MLB is trying to draw the process out. Or maybe they’re just being extremely diligent in their investigation, as this would be a huge black eye (and MLB is running out of eyes) if Sano wound up older than he claims, especially after an investigation by MLB.
The Sano rumors were all over the place. To try and make some sense of everything, I’ve got the following notes:
-The Pirates and Twins are widely regarded as the top two teams, with Baltimore considered a dark horse. I have a feeling Pirates fans elevate Baltimore’s chances simply because Baltimore got Matt Wieters when we passed on him, and this would be like history repeating its’ self.
-There was also the back and forth between Dejan Kovacevic of the PPG and Jorge Arangure of ESPN. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but here is the recap:
Yesterday DK wrote that the Pirates were believed to have made their first formal offer to Sano.
JA denies this, saying that his sources say that no offer has been made from the Pirates (at around 11 AM EST).
DK cites two sources around 3:30 PM that say the Pirates have made an offer to Sano, and visited his home. DK also says that the Orioles are the front-runners for Sano.
JA says that the Orioles aren’t on the verge of anything, and that his source wouldn’t label the O’s the favorite. In response to the reporting of DK, JA had this to say: “Visited with him yes. Offer, no. Again, there are no offers from the #Pirates for Sano from Wed visit. Believe me.” He also ranked the Pirates first in the race, with Minnesota second, and Baltimore third.
One thing could clarify what’s going on here, and that is mentioned in these two comments from Arangure:
“Dejan’s a great reporter so i really can’t say why we differ. But like i mentioned we may be dealing in technicalities.”
“Ultimately we may be dealing in semantics, parameters of a deal, etc. But i was assured no offer from #Pirates has been made.”
It seems that the big hold up here revolves around the definition of the word “offer”. From where I’m sitting, it seems that the offer DK is citing can involve contingencies, as in “this offer is contingent on you passing the MLB investigation”. It also seems that “offers” according to JA’s sources are more of the “this is our offer, if you accept then sign on the dotted line and you’ll be a Pirate regardless”.
I could believe that the Pirates have made an offer contingent on Sano passing MLB’s investigation. This would make both of these reporters correct in the process. From other sources:
-La Velle E. Neal III says the Twins have made an offer around $3 M, contingent on verification of Sano’s age and identification.
-Roch Kubatko says that the Orioles won’t be signing Sano in the immediate future. I don’t think this means they’re out of it, but I think it means they, like most other teams, will be holding off until the age tests are complete.
-Jennifer Langosch has a timeline, in which she confirms that no offer was made around noon, but that the Pirates were working through things with Sano around 2 (or at least that’s when the update was).
-Also, in regards to the $2 M budget the Pirates have for international signings, both DK and Langosch have said that Sano doesn’t count towards that, but would be extra. Kind of like a regular free agent, totally separate from the international free agent budget.
Overall it seems we’ll be getting “non-news” until MLB completes the age and identification tests on Sano. Once that happens, we’ll see who he ends up with. However, based on the flurry of inconsistent rumors today, I’m not going to believe anything until Sano is signed.
The MVP Tracker
The MVP Tracker is updated through the 7/1 loss. Today’s loss was a tough one, in which there were great performers, and horrible performers. Here are three of each:
1. Adam LaRoche: .373 WPA
2. Robinzon Diaz: .235
3. Garrett Jones: .113
1. Paul Maholm: -.295
2. Matt Capps: -.291
3. Jeff Karstens: -.208
-I forgot to post this yesterday, but Brian at Raise the Jolly Roger talked to Doug Mientkiewicz via Twitter about the Nyjer Morgan trade. Check out the recap. It’s good stuff, giving the view from the players’ side, coming from a great clubhouse leader.
-The first edition of the daily prospect watch is up. I’ll be doing that as a separate post from here on out.
-New Pittsburgh sports blog to check out: Steel City Heros, which is run by frequent live blog participant Jake.
-The Pirates did make a splash in the international signing period, signing three Taiwan players: outfielder Ping-Hung Chi, right-handed pitcher Sheng-Chin Hung and first baseman Chih-Wei Hsu. It’s all worth it for this video (especially the 0:45 mark):