Looks like the Pirates missed out on Miguel Angel Sano; it was announced today that he signed with the Twins for $3.15 million. I would have liked to see Sano sign with the Pirates as much as anyone, but this is absolutely not something to get worked up about. After the Cardinals were forced to renege on their contract with Wagner Mateo due to existing medical problems, I really have a problem getting upset over not breaking the bank to sign a 16-year old. As much as Latin American scouting has improved recently, there’s still a huge part of it that’s a crap shoot.
UPDATE: I should explain myself better. The reason I’m not even a little bit upset about this is because I don’t think Rob Plummer ever had any intention of letting Sano sign with the Pirates. The quotes in the Post-Gazette story seem incredibly personal, basically taunting Pirate fans and rubbing it in that Sano didn’t sign with the Pirates. But wait! ESPN’s Jorge Arangure, who’s incredibly well plugged in to the Latin American market, wrote earlier today that Plummer didn’t like the relationship between the Pirates and Sano, even saying that the Pirates weren’t even given a chance to match the offer made by the Twins.
That seems insane, but then read Jen Langosch’s blog post about the signing to get this quote from Plummer:
“The Twins were really patient. I communicated with [vice president of player personnel for the Twins] Mike Radcliff weekly through the process. Once he was cleared to sign with a team, I spoke with Mike. Once he got the OK for the money with the owner — they had a four-hour meeting — we negotiated for 15 minutes on the phone. We did a deal without even having a second phone call. The major reason it happened like that is I’ve known Mike for something like 14 years. We trust each other.
Here’s what I think happened (with no way of knowing this for sure, of course). Rob Plummer knows Mike Radcliff and knew Radcliff was interested in Sano. He wanted to help a friend out, so he antagonized the Pirates to try to get them out of the bidding because he knew that if he left it up to Sano to sign, his family’s relationship with Rene Gayo and possibly other members of the Pirates’ staff could cause him to take a lower offer from them. When the Twins made a big enough bid, he went right to Sano’s family without asking the Pirates to match, because there was a chance that they might actually do it or come close enough to make Sano choose their offer.
I don’t think the Pirates failed to sign Sano; I don’t think Rob Plummer ever had any intention of letting his client sign with the Pirates and he manipulated the situtation to his favor. And so, I think it’s really hard to blame the Pirates for not signing the kid.