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Twins Blogosphere

Is the Time Right to Trade Byron Buxton?

Last winter the Twins made a franchise altering trade by acquiring Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers. Maeda finished runner up in the AL Cy Young race after a dominating first season in a Twins uniform. On the heels of a season with less revenue, teams might have to get creative this winter to add impact players to the 2021 roster. So, does that mean the time is right to trade Byron Buxton?
Image courtesy of © Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Byron Buxton is coming off a strong season where he led the Twins in WAR even though he only appeared in 39 of the team’s 60 games. He combined to hit .254/.267/.577 (.844) with 13 home runs and three doubles. Granted it was a small sample size, but his OPS and his slugging percentage were both career highs. It might seem silly to trade away a player of his caliber, but this is going to be an offseason unlike any other.

Buxton’s name has come up in trade talks before. At the 2019 trade deadline, the Twins were looking to upgrade their rotation for a potential playoff run. One of the teams Minnesota had discussions with was the New York Mets. The Twins were interested in acquiring starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, but talks stalled when the Mets insisted that Buxton be included in any trade. Minnesota wasn’t willing to deal Buxton then, so what might have changed?

One of the reasons the Twins might be more willing to deal Buxton is his current contract situation. Minnesota only has team control of Buxton for two more seasons as he enters his second year as an arbitration eligible player. He will likely be making somewhere between $4-6 million this season and next year would be a higher in his final arbitration year. Two years of team control might be the sweet spot for trading away a player, because the team acquiring him isn’t getting an expiring contract.

The Twins can also go in a different direction with Buxton if they wanted to try and sign him to an extension. Minnesota was able to work out extensions with some of the other young core players like Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano. Would Buxton be willing to sign a deal that bought out his remaining arbitration years while also giving the Twins more team control?

Approaching a Buxton extension is a little trickier than the names mentioned above, because of the way his career has transpired. There’s no question that he is a dynamic player, but injuries are part of his career that can’t be ignored. He’s only played more than 92 games in one big league season. The Twins have tried some creative approaches to keeping him on the field including having him start further back defensively and trying to jump off of two feet instead of one foot when attempting catches at the wall. Other teams know his injury history too and that might make a deal tougher to find.

Minnesota would have a big hole to fill in center field if Buxton were traded. Max Kepler can take over in center, but he has expressed concerns in the past about the wear his body goes through when playing at a more demanding defensive position. Other options on the 40-man roster include Jake Cave, Gilberto Celestino and LaMonte Wade Jr. A more intriguing choice would be promoting Royce Lewis, but he has only played a handful of games above the High-A level and he’s played limited defensive innings in center.

Buxton’s trade value may never be higher as he enters the prime of his career and he has two years of team control. Minnesota is a better team when he is on the field, but this off-season is going to force teams to make some tough choices. Trading Buxton would be a difficult decision, but if the deal was right, it might be the time to move in a new direction.

Do you think the time is right to trade Byron Buxton? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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The migraines worry me more than the on-field injuries - that latter classification can be improved somewhat by modifying his behavior, but I don't think they have a handle on the former. And my thinking is that the migraines are not simply an on/off switch, but a spectrum of disablement, that would explain why there are periods where he seems unable to recognize pitches, and other times he can.


I'm sure the team has better medical analysis than my guesswork, though.


They’ve offered him and Berrios extensions the previous 2 offseasons and declined. You need a quote to interpret his intentions?

Agreed, but the landscape looks a little different now with the uncertainties of Baseball's near future. Player financial security might speak a little louder these days and a guaranteed contract probably looks real nice right now.

    • DocBauer likes this


They’ve offered him and Berrios extensions the previous 2 offseasons and declined. You need a quote to interpret his intentions?

I remember the Berrios extension rumors, but not Buxton. Sorry. No need to be insulting about it.


Also, these are conversations that happen behind closed doors. Contract discussions that make the papers are generally rumors. It's often helpful to get a feel for what's going on, but it's not the full picture. So whatever was reported in 2018 is not necessarily reflective of anything in 2020.

Provided the Twins will be able to have some level similar defensive replacement value, I would be in full support of trading buck.He is one that will not age well because so much of his value is based on speed, and he has never been a super solid hitter, and little faith that will develop at this point.He has had stretches of great hitting, but stretches of swinging and missing at anything.  


I believe you should always trade a guy a year early, than a year late.Remember Willingham, he crushed first year with Twins and so much trade chatter was out there, and Ryan held onto him, and then he lost all trade value.I am not saying we need to trade buck, but I would not say he is untouchable and would listen to deals.I would not shop him at this point, but if he gets traded I would not be upset, provided the value is there. 

Major League Ready
Nov 20 2020 09:36 AM


Has he commented on this?


(If so, wow they ask them early these days...personally I wouldn't even be having the extend or trade conversation for another year.)


He is worth a lot more in trade with 2 years of control vs 1 so it makes perfect sense they would test his willingness to extend before the last year of his contract. In addition, some players are going to be less inclined the closer they get to free agency.


Having said this ... trading him for an established player(s) is not easy. Anyone interested in trading for him would do so because they are in win now mode. What team is giving up front line pitching when they are in that mode? I don't see us trading for position players. We have a plethora of outfield talent. Replacing any of the infielders would not be enough of an upgrade to make it a net gain losing Buxton in CF.

Why do we ALWAYS have to talk about trading our talented players?They may not sign extensions because they want to go to a team that can go deep in a pennant chase.This team doesn't appear tobe able to do this.Keep them all at the $$$$ they deserve.Why go back to dumpster diving.Players leave here in droves and go on to successful careers.I thought this management team would somehow be different but are they going cheap because of the Pohlads?They may cost money but they bring in the fans.My favorites are anytime Berrios pitches, anytime Buxon gets on base and the excitement of Sano and Cruz is what makes baseball fun.That was what I did not like about Mauer he wasn't exciting after his concussion and even before as he watches the first few pitches and at first was very talented at getting on base if he was down.Not so much at the end and it appeared he didn't really care (I am sure he did but he didn't show it).We have the players we have been waiting for and if the coaches can't bring out their best then we should focus on them.  

Nov 24 2020 12:35 PM

In the half seasons that Buxton plays, he is able to get the Twins over the hump for the division crown. His defensive ability is insane.


Could the Twins get a guy who can play a full season, with slightly less ability, who would still provide enough value over the course of a full season to help win the division? Yes -- but -- that person would be incredibly expensive.


Will Buxton ever have a career-ending injury or a career-changing injury? I doubt it. Buxton's spirit is not going to change, he will always put it all out there.


The Twins are probably best off keeping Buxton and having a backup who doesn't embarrass himself, at least until it's time for Buxton to get a big contract.

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