The Twins announced this afternoon they’ve declined their respective options on Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer and Miguel Sanó. Minnesota also confirmed the previously-reported decision to exercise their option to retain starter Sonny Gray. None of those come as a surprise, as they were each easy calls for the Minnesota front office.
Bundy signed a $5MM guarantee last offseason, with the Twins rolling the dice he’d bounce back after an injury-plagued 2021 campaign in Anaheim. The deal came with an $11MM club option for 2023, giving them some extra contractual upside if Bundy righted the ship in the Twin Cities. The right-hander did stay healthy enough to take the ball 29 times and soak up 140 innings, but he didn’t put up the kind of numbers the front office had envisioned. Bundy managed only a 4.89 ERA with a well below-average 15.8% strikeout rate and a modest 9.7% swinging strike rate. He demonstrated excellent control, walking fewer than 5% of opponents, but he didn’t miss many bats and surrendered 24 home runs (1.54 per nine innings).
A former fourth overall pick and top pitching prospect, Bundy has seen his velocity trend downwards as he’s battled injury concerns throughout his career. He averaged only 89 MPH on his four-seam this year, the first time his already pedestrian fastball has dipped below 90 MPH on average. Bundy, who turns 30 later this month, will collect a $1MM buyout and head back to free agency. He’s likely looking at one-year offers as a depth arm again, and it’s possible his next deal will come with a lower base salary than this’s year $4MM figure.
Archer was also an offseason signee, joining Bundy as part of Minnesota’s efforts to bolster the back of its rotation. He inked an incentive-laden deal that guaranteed him a $2.75MM base salary and a $750K buyout on a 2023 option. He tacked on $3MM in incentives by making 25 starts this year, bringing Minnesota’s ultimate outlay to $6.5MM. Rather than trigger their end of a $10MM mutual option for next season, Minnesota sends the two-time All-Star back to the open market.
The 34-year-old posted a 4.56 ERA across 102 2/3 innings as Twin. That was his biggest workload since 2019, but Archer still had a pair of injured list stints due to hip and pectoral issues. When healthy, he posted a below-average 19.2% strikeout rate and walked batters at an elevated 11% clip. The righty still averaged 93 MPH on his heater, but this year’s 9.5% swinging strike percentage was his lowest mark since 2014.
Sanó, meanwhile, hits free agency for the first time in his career. Today’s move, while without suspense, looks as if it’ll officially close the books on his 13-year tenure in the organization. A high-profile amateur signee out of the Dominican Republic and subsequently one of the best prospects in the game, Sanó made his big league debut in 2015. He hit the ground running against MLB pitching, showcasing the massive raw power and lofty walk totals but huge strikeout rates that’d define his entire tenure in Minnesota.
The burly slugger looked capable of carrying a lineup at his best, including a .247/.346/.576, 34-homer showing in only 105 games in 2019. That earned Sanó a $30MM extension the following offseason, but that proved to be a misstep for the Twins. He posted only slightly above-average offensive numbers from 2020-21 and had an almost completely lost 2022 campaign. Sanó played in 20 games this year, putting up an .083/.211/.133 line in 71 plate appearances while battling persistent knee issues. The 29-year-old returned briefly from early-season knee surgery but spent the last two months on the IL.
Minnesota makes the easy call to pay Sanó a $3MM buyout rather than trigger a $14MM option on his services. He hits the market as a buy-low option for teams seeking first base help, with his huge power sure to get him some attention from another club.
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