Byron Buxton is currently on the injured list due to a fractured hand, but the Twins have given him something to think about while he mends. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Minnesota is hoping to sign Buxton long-term and recently offered him a deal that guarantees him more than $70MM and also includes escalators and incentives — presumably based on health and days spent on the active roster.
Now 27 years old, Buxton was the No. 2 overall draft pick back in 2012 and at various points topped prospect rankings at Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus and ESPN. There were some early growing pains at the plate as Buxton struggled with strikeouts and was unable to tap into his considerable raw power, but in recent years he’s shown the all-around talent that made such a high draft pick and such a vaunted prospect.
Dating back to 2019, Buxton has batted .282/.322/.581 with 33 home runs, 44 doubles, four triples and 21 stolen bases (in 25 attempts). That includes an otherworldly showing so far in 2021, when he’s slashed .369/.409/.767 with 10 home runs and 11 doubles in just 110 plate appearances. Given that Buxton is arguably the best defensive player in baseball, regardless of position, that production at the plate makes him one of baseball’s most valuable players on a per-game basis.
The problem for Buxton, of course, has been staying on the field. That outstanding 2019-21 output came over a sample of just 540 plate appearances, thanks to a barrage of injuries. Some have been fluky in nature — his current injury came when he was hit by a pitch; his 2018 fractured toe happened when he fouled a ball into his foot — but as Rosenthal points out, Buxton has made 11 career trips to the injured list. That number doesn’t even include a quartet of minor league IL placements for various injuries, including a pair of left wrist strains.
There isn’t one nagging injury that continues to hamper Buxton, which is both encouraging and frustrating at the same time. He’s dealt with migraines and concussion symptoms after all-out plays in the outfield, a partially torn a ligament in his thumb while sliding into the bag on a stolen base, surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder, and also landed on the IL due to a variety of strains and sprains over the years.
Because of that litany of injuries, Buxton is one of the toughest players in baseball to assess from a contractual standpoint. The aforementioned .282/.322/.581, 33-homer, 44-double output came in a span of 153 games — roughly one full season’s worth of play. Very few players could put together a stretch that impressive over a full season — and certainly not with comparable defensive value — but Buxton has only played 100 games in a Major League season on one occasion. It’s easy to argue that even a half season of Buxton is worth $10MM-plus, but it’s also understandable if the Twins are reluctant with the extent of their guarantee.
One piece of context that ought to be addressed when looking at any potential extension for Buxton is service time. He’ll be a free agent after the 2022 season and is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter, but that’s due largely to the fact that Buxton wasn’t given a September call-up back in 2018.
Buxton landed on the Major League injured list early in 2018 with what was hoped to be a minimal stay due to migraine issues, but he fouled a ball into his foot during a rehab assignment and suffered a hairline fracture. He attempted to play through the injury at the MLB level but had perhaps the worst three-week stretch of his career while doing so. Buxton was eventually placed back the IL and, upon being activated, was optioned to Triple-A. He then incurred the aforementioned wrist strains, further prolonging his stay in the minors.
Buxton returned from the minor league IL to hit .356/.400/.596 in 12 games down the stretch with Triple-A Rochester, but he wasn’t included among the Twins’ September call-ups. That omission kept Buxton from crossing the threshold from two years of MLB service to three years and pushed his path to free agency back by a year.
GM Thad Levine acknowledged at the time (link via The Athletic) that Buxton’s representatives at Jet Sports Management were “displeased” and “disappointed” with the decision. Buxton himself told the Minneapolis Star Tribune the following December that his omission from the team’s collection of September call-ups “didn’t go over well,” though he later added that he still hoped to spend his entire career with the Twins organization.
The Twins did give Buxton a healthy raise for a Super Two player coming off an injury-decimated season that winter ($1.75MM), but it’s hard to imagine that the September 2018 issue wouldn’t resurface to some extent during present-day extension talks. That doesn’t mean a deal can’t be worked out, of course. It merely adds another layer to what already figured to be an immensely complex set of negotiations.
There aren’t many recent examples of a center fielder with five-plus years of big league service time forgoing free agency and signing an extension, although Aaron Hicks and Charlie Blackmon do serve as potential points of reference. Hicks signed a seven-year, $70MM contract in the spring of 2019 (six years, $64MM of new money). Blackmon signed a six-year, $108MM contract just after Opening Day 2018 (five years, $94MM in new money). Both had five-plus years of service time at the time of their extensions, as Buxton does now, but both were considerably older than Buxton is now. Buxton is also further from the open market at present by virtue of the fact that he’s negotiating midseason rather than during Spring Training of his walk year. Hicks and Blackmon could very well be talking points raised during discussions, but those data points are far from direct parallels.
Notably, Rosenthal suggests there’s a chance the Twins could trade Buxton if the two parties can’t come to terms on a contract extension, though such a move would seem likelier in the offseason than when Buxton is on the injured list with a broken hand. That’s something of a surprise in and of itself, as even in spite of their poor 2021 showing, the Twins have a promising young core of controllable hitters and ample payroll flexibility to reload their pitching staff this offseason. There’s no indication that the Twins are gearing up for a lengthy rebuilding effort, and it’d be hard for them to simultaneously trade Buxton prior to Opening Day 2022 and still claim to be aiming to contend next year.
better extend the team health insurance plan then too.
buxton should just bet on himself.
Or the rest of the league
460 games over parts of 7 seasons and a sub-.300 career OBP. There’s no denying his ceiling, but IMHO the Twins would be wise to sell Buxton while his value is high and roll the dice on him being healthy with another team. $70MM could be a lot to commit to a player who can’t stay on the field, especially for a low-budget team that’s staring down a disaster of a season and has other talented young outfielders. This team needs Berrios more than it needs Buxton.
Twins have a middle of the pack payroll at almost 130mil.
It would be a good deal at $70MM.
We don’t know if it’s actually a good deal at $70m because we don’t know the term. Is it 3 years? 5? 7? I think there was near universal approval of the deal for Hicks at the time; not so much, now. Even $10m a year is a lot to pay someone not to play. $15m is difficult. $20m? That’s backbreaking. We don’t know the term so we can’t determine whether $70m is a good deal or not.
“there was near universal approval of the deal for Hicks at the time”
You and I remember things differently.
Sell what? He’s a FA. This isn’t the NBA, there are no sign and trades.
He’s not a free agent until after next season, so not sure what your point is. If they trade him, it’s considered “selling”
You sound really stupid on a baseball website.
Buxton could make a fortune doing Aflac commercials.
Buxton + Berrios to NYY
Frazier + Andujar + Garcia + Breaux to MIN
Phone goes click the moment Twins FO here’s Fra
Not a twins fan but I’m offended at how bad that is for them
Lol sorry that is wishful thinking. They wouldn’t do that for Bux alone let alone Berrios too.
Yankees fans are never gonna give up on Frazier and andujar landing them a star ! Fact is they are more likely to end up like Juan Rivera and Greg bird who they eventually part with for nothing ! Wake up guys the shine is way off on both guys
Oh look, another Yankees fan trying to pawn off Frazier and Andujar.
Only in Yankee-mediadom are these guys still looked upon as significant assets.
I don’t think the Twins do that package even for just Berrios.
Iv said this over and over, the classic garcia-frazier-andujar trade proposals from deranged Yankee fans.
Yankee fans brains: “Lets trade the players we dont want for good players” If you don’t want the players, why would over teams want them? Always the same 75 cents to the dollar logic
Goku the Knowledgable One
Ya chelios gotta be trolling…. but honestly hes probably not
Terry Ryan traded Aaron Hick for JR Murphy.. straight up.. there is a sucker born every minute
Yea it has to be a running gag no way Yankees fans think Clint andujar an Michael Frazier have much value ! Whatever excuses Yankees and esp fans have for why they didn’t work out is the Yankees burden an piper to pay ! It’s not the other teams obligation to send value like the two are at their peak value for the hope of a change of scenery success! No here is a fair trade
Yankees get Michael Pineda
Twins get. Clint Frazier Miguel andujar and 13 million in cash
Both sides should say yea and mlb offices should approve the cash considerations
It’s similar to back in the day where Red Sox and fans even as both where floundering believed a pu pu plater package of Henry Owens and Travis swihart should land them a superstar like mike trout or pre extension mike Stanton ,
Nothing will ever bear though silly braves fans telling Cubs fans they would be so so stupid if they didn’t trade for ender inciarte lol ! He was never relevant between that time and now ever again but for years the Cubs just had to trade for him ! Biggest running gag ever
Braves’ fans and thinking that Tehran was an ace that should bring back a massive return is one I’ll never forget.
And I remember at the time arguing with Yankees fans who were convinced Murphy was the second coming of Yogi Berra and that the Yankees got fleeced. No fan base has as enduring a conviction that all of their prospects are worth the sun and the moon quite like Yankees fans do.
That’s just horrendous, possibly the worst trade scenario I’ve ever seen
Baseball trade values website rates that as 66.10 points of value going to the Yankees and 6.10 points of value going to the Twins. lol
I kinda thought the days of “give us your good players for a quantity of trash” were behind us
Definitely sell to a contender for some prospects. You won’t get much, but it’s better than nothing. Not worth signing someone so constantly injured to a long term deal.
I feel like teams often think they are the one who can keep X player healthy even guy like Buxton.
This would be a steal. I don’t buy in to the whole “injury bug” narrative as much as most fans do. Most of his injury history has been freakish and not necessarily something that’s predictive of future health. If it were all consistent back issues, knee trouble, or something of that nature maybe, but it more seems like he’s had some incredibly bad luck.
That’s the thing most people don’t factor in, Buxton has always had availability issues. His production and potential are always off the charts but he’s always injured.
Goku the Knowledgable One
he’ll never have anywhere near as much potential as Clint Frazier or miguel Andrujar tho
Twins fans have always been dreading this day. Either they sign Buxton to a big contract and he stays injury prone, or they trade him and he becomes Cal Ripken Jr. for the remainder of his career for another organization. Those are the only two options for how this plays out.
Minnesota sports fans are never happy, so it really doesn’t matter which one happens.
He gets hurt because he always gives 110%. For Buxton that means he’s going VERY fast. Still never seen anyone win against the wall.
All said he’s the most exciting player to watch on any given night, even if he only gave 97% imo.
The Twins are in a hard situation here. If you trade him now, you could get decent value since he’s young enough for a team to dream on his health. But if he does hit his potential for another team, you traded away a top 3-5 player in baseball, and I don’t think you can get that kind of value in return for him now.
But if you keep him and he never gets healthy, you’re essentially letting him walk next year for nothing, anyway. Or trading him for pennies on the dollar. If you sign him longterm, you’re assuming a lot of risk, and it only goes up depending on how much you sign him for.
I do think the Twins are on the right track here. If you can get him for an Aaron Hicks-type contract as the base with lots of incentives built in, that would be a no-brained. $10m is tough to pay a player not to play, but it’s worth it for Trout/Betts-level potential. If he refuses to sign for that amount, then you trade him to fill areas of need either now or in the off-season. It’s tough to lose a great player, but the Twins need high-end pitching more than anything else now, and Buxton could bring that in. Watching Buxton find it for another team would be hard, but easier to swallow if you’ve jumped back to competitiveness in part because of the return, and even more so if you happen to win anything before he does.
Cards trade— Carlson, Thompson, Knizner and Perez
Twins trade— Buxton and Polanco
That’s not the. Cards style esp during the season! More likely they trade one of the latter 2 acceptable rental
Oh I 100% agree. We don’t trade until guys are atleast 30 and we hold onto prospects in the minors leagues until they are broken
Hmmmm did you forget about Arrozarena or Adolis Garcia? Hahahaha 🙂
Those dudes were never gonna play for the cards. They are too much in love with Bader and Bro Neil.
Goku the Knowledgable One
I don’t see any point in any spectrum of reality of trading Carlson for Buxton.
In no way shape or form does trading Carlson for Buxton make any sense.
There’s absolutely not a plane of existence that would accept the idea of trading Carlson for Buxton.
..I hope that answers your question 🙂
Yeah your right, twins wouldn’t take Carlson for Buxton.
Goku the Knowledgable One
Carlson is a 22 year old rookie with 5 tool potential who isn’t even Arb 1 eligible until 2024
Trading that for a pending UFA thats going to command around 100 mil over 7 years , and has a vast history of injuries
Makes complete and total sense to who again?
Carlson is a guy who cannot hit left handed but takes most of his at bats from that side. His value to trade is higher now than it will ever be. Hitting in front of Nado and Goldy he should be raking. I’m tired of these 22 year old white bread plain outfielders getting shoved down our throats. This team needs some attitude and spark.
Buxton is under team control for next year, FYI. Not a pending FA
Goku the Knowledgable One
Carlson is a rookie and already might surpass Buxton in innings played by the end of this season
I was think a little different but same route
Twins- Bader,Evan K. Lane Thomas and Zach Thomas and another low level prospect to go with that
I would love if the twins would be crazy enough to accept this trade. Zack Thompson is the only fringe top 100 guy in that group. Lane Thomas likely wouldn’t get claimed on waivers, Bader is a no bat great defender. Barrios could get that package by himself if not more.
5 years seems to make sense for $70 guaranteed (if that’s what the term is). He’d have to have a hell of a 2022 to get 5/100+. I like this play for MIN.
Goku the Knowledgable One
Makes way more sense for 5 years
Umm……..He’s made of glass, not fine china !
I remember when the Cardinals signed Chris Carpenter. Everyone knew he was a huge injury risk but you also knew if he was healthy you had a shot to win it all. And we did. The Twins can’t afford the top top guys or better yet those guys don’t want to play for the Twins. Signing Buxton makes sense to me.
ask Mike trout.. its all meaningless unless the team is going to make an open public commitment to spend and trade and do everything they can to build a World series winner… playing on a so-so team should never be the goal..
I get your point, but I don’t think Mike Trout cries himself to sleep in his money stuffed pillows every night.
Also, LAA has the 6th highest payroll. They are spending. It just hasn’t worked out.
1. Buxton may well be at his peak right now. Maybe it’ll last a year or two more. An athlete can’t go through all those injuries and not have it affect his/her future play. The body may heal, but bones, muscle, and tissue are weaker.
2. His kamikaze style of play is just dumb. Saw Grady Sizemore do this – had HOF possibilities but as he grew older his play deteriorated quite a bit. This current MLB style of play to try to get onto a cable TV highlight reel every night is ridiculous. “It’s a Marathon not a Sprint” is true, but players don’t understand it. Bryce Harper learned his lesson when he ran into a wall and knocked himself out. He’s a much better OF today. A valuable player is not helping his team when he’s on the IL. Let some of the balls in front of you drop for singles – get the ball in and keep the DP in order. For balls over your head stay away from the wall/fence, play the carom and don’t let the batter take an extra base.
Learn to pick your spots. Marathoners don’t try to sprint throughout the race. Neither do jockey’s handle race horses that way. The object is to win in late September and go into the playoffs healthy. I have no idea who’s dumber – modern day baseball players or their front offices. The owner / fans are paying these players millions of dollars a year. Next to no position players play 150 games; next to no starting pitchers make 30-plus starts; and next to no relief pitchers can take their regular turns without having to sit for 3-5 days because they burned out their arms. Anyone that thinks that a team loses their chance for the playoffs because of a game in April, May, June, July or even August, has no sense.
Dude Harper used to be a really exciting defensive player. Now he’s not. He’s healthy and that’s very important for sure. But he’s nowhere near the defender he used to be.
Bad move. They already control him until age 30 basically. Why risk signing him past then when history shows the reward is minimal at best?
Admittedly we don’t know all the terms, but on its face I have to say Buxton would be a total fool not to take this. This is the first season he’s been in legitimate star territory on offense, and it’s only been 100 ABs. It’s been four years since he’s even been within spitting distance of playing a full season, and eventually the injuries and aging are going to start reflecting in his defensive and baserunning stats.
On its face this looks like potential highway robbery to me in Buxton’s favor.
Any Buxton contract extension is contingent on the Twins receiving permission from the Commissioner’s Office permitting Buxton to wear a suit of armor under his team uniform !!
Future MLBTR headline: “Twins sign Buxton to 10-day contract with seven years of weekly options”
Buxton’s agent is wetting himself at thought of his client getting 70 mil guaranteed when he hasn’t averaged 70 games played in a season during his “youthful” years.
70 million is a team friendly deal and he’s turned down every other team friendly deal supposedly (terms unknown). He’d take 70 if it were a 3 year deal, I think.
I’d be ok if the Twins gave him 5/100 guaranteed and then bonuses if he plays more. I’m not sure if he’d even take that and honestly it would not surprise me if some team would pay him way more than that guaranteed just because some teams basically are unable to be handcuffed by contracts due to boatloads of revenue.
Hey, that’s great. I hope the Twins extend him out 10 years. As a fan of a rival, I’d love to see the Twins use all the resources you and he wants to keep him on their IL.
The Twins have 50 million guaranteed on the books next year. Probably 90-95 if arb is included. Buxton would have to be paid 40 million per year to handcuff the Twins, but you go ahead and keep thinking that way.
The DL is considering signing Buxton to a multi year contract with a no trade clause to the Twins. Sources say the deal is remarkably similar to the one he had before.
Comrade Tipsy McStagger
Mackenzie Gore for Buxton, straight up, or maybe another prospect if the Twins feel it is necessary. BUT it comes with a catch — an extension would be needed for the Pads to makes this worthwhile.
Why do you change your username and have conversations with yourself Tipsy McStagger aka trillaryhump16 aka AustinKearnsIsNotGod?