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Jake Odorizzi, What's going on w/ him?

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Twins Extension Candidate: Byron Buxton

There are certainly high expectations when a player is taken second overall in the MLB Draft. This is the case with Byron Buxton as he was considered the best prospect in baseball for multiple seasons. Things aren’t as shiny now that he has played multiple big-league seasons. Injuries have been part of his professional career so how can the Twins find the right balance while keeping Buxton in a Twins uniform in the years to come.
Image courtesy of David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Byron Buxton
2020 Stats (39 games): .844 OPS, 124 OPS+, 1.9 WAR

Current Contract (2nd-Year Arbitration Eligible, Free Agent: 2023)
In his second year of arbitration, Buxton is likely heading for a contract close to $6 million. To put that in perspective, FanGraphs put Buxton’s value as worth almost $10 million last season and over $21 million during the 2019 campaign. There’s no question about the value he provides to the Twins, but the biggest issue is his ability to stay on the field and be healthy.

Pros of Extending Now
Buxton has shown the potential to be one of the best players in baseball. There’s little question that his presence on the field helps the Twins to win, especially with his elite defensive skills. He can make pitchers better by tracking down balls in the outfield and his offensive skills can be a second thought. Minnesota has tried to work with Buxton to keep him on the field by positioning him further back on defense and working with him to jump off two feet at the wall. These small changes could keep him on the field while making bigger plays.

Cons of Extending Now
He hasn’t been on the field and this isn’t exactly a secret. Buxton still has the potential to be one of baseball’s best players, but his health continues to be a concern. Even in a shortened 2020 season, he was limited to less than 40 games. He likely should have been the winner of the Gold Glove, but his lack of time on the field cost him the award. He’s only played over 92 games once in his six big-league seasons and that’s something a front office can’t ignore.

Possible Extension
Last week, I tossed out a bold idea that the Twins should consider trading Buxton this winter. That likely isn’t going to happen because he still has two years of team control and there have been glimpses of how important he can be to the Twins roster. It’s difficult to predict what an extension would look like for a player like Buxton. He can be the team’s best player, but injuries have been part of his story at the big-league level. He can be as valuable as Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, but there’s no guarantee he will be on the field. Can the Twins pay him like an elite player even if they can’t predict how much he will be on the field?

How much would you give Buxton in an extension? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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18 Comments

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Doctor Gast
Nov 25 2020 06:48 AM

Buxton is important to this team period. 2020 Buxton showed a glimpse of the potential he had shown in the minors until the bean ball that was thrown at his head. The key is to keep him healthy. I`d bet on Buxton, try to mend fences if there's still hard feelings & extend him an agreeable contract.

    • DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan, Scott51104 and 2 others like this

When on the field he is the Twins MVP. Yes, he isn't always on the field, but an extension makes so much sense and I expect with all the uncertainties in the world both sides should have an interest in getting it done.

    • Dman, DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this

Whether Buxton is kept or traded the Twins need another CF with fielding skills.Kepler does not want to play there and shouldn't.Cave and Wade lower the bar too much.With Buxton's health and probably a need to rest him when he is healthy one of our two bench OFs should play CF more than competently. 

 

Whether Buxton is kept or traded the Twins need another CF with fielding skills.Kepler does not want to play there and shouldn't.Cave and Wade lower the bar too much.With Buxton's health and probably a need to rest him when he is healthy one of our two bench OFs should play CF more than competently. 

Agreed Mike, although there are two coming thru the system that are getting close. Granted, neither will likely be an option on opening day, but both Celestino and Lewis could be options later next season. Yes, Center may not be the first choice for Lewis, but he proved in the AFL that he would be very good out there. I actually am warming to the idea that when he joins the Twins he fills a spot similar to what Gonzalez did last year...short, third, and center before taking over at short full-time in year two or three.

 

With those options on the horizon, I don't see getting a backup for Buxton as a major concern this winter.

    • Dman and DocBauer like this
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drivlikejehu
Nov 25 2020 09:30 AM

I don't see how you can evaluate a potential extension without considering what the terms would be. There are always pros and cons, whether it makes sense depends on the dollars.

Buxton is an interesting case study. When healthy he is an All-Star/Gold Glove/MVP caliber player, but he has only played about half of the games he should have at this point in his career. Reminds me of Eric Davis' career at this point, great when on the field but too many injuries keeping him out of line-up. 

 

I am hard pressed to find a reason to offer him an extension at this point (and I really like Buxton). Maybe re-visit at this point next year if he proves healthy and productive, but that may inspire him to not sign and test the FA market in 2023, which is lacking in CF options.

 

Tough call and glad I don't have to make it,

    • DocBauer likes this

4 years $50 million with an option for a fifth. 

 

Yes, Celestino should be groomed as backup starting next season, although he could start the season in the minors playing regularly.

 

Royce Lewis is a possibility until you need to think about replacing or moving Polanco. But the Twins are sorta shortstop rich in prospects right now.

    • DocBauer likes this

I tweeted this out earlier today. I think it's semi-realistic. What does everyone think?

 

 

I think I'd offer 3 years, $27 million...
2021 - $7.0 million
2022 - $8.0 million
2023 - $10.0 million
2024 - $15.0 million option with $2 million buyout
2025 - $18.0 million option with $2 million buyout

    • DocBauer likes this

 

4 years $50 million with an option for a fifth. 

 

Yes, Celestino should be groomed as backup starting next season, although he could start the season in the minors playing regularly.

 

Royce Lewis is a possibility until you need to think about replacing or moving Polanco. But the Twins are sorta shortstop rich in prospects right now.

 

His teammates just rave about how talented Celestino is. First they talk about his defense in center, but then about his incredible athleticism and strength. So yeah, I don't think they'd have any intention of him being a fourth outfielder, at least night right away. 

    • DocBauer and tarheeltwinsfan like this

I tweeted this out earlier today. I think it's semi-realistic. What does everyone think?
 
 
I think I'd offer 3 years, $27 million...
2021 - $7.0 million
2022 - $8.0 million
2023 - $10.0 million
2024 - $15.0 million option with $2 million buyout
2025 - $18.0 million option with $2 million buyout


I like this and think it's fair. I might bump it up to $30M to make the first couple of guaranteed years a little more enticing.

NOBODY can debate what he does when healthy or his potential. But Buck and his agent also can't deny his limited time on the field thus far. I can't blame him for a FB to his head at the end of last season. And I can't blame him for a crazy foul ball that injured a toe, or a weird cleat caught in the OF making a play. And you'd like to think good luck/karma would assist along with a few tweaks like playing deeper, jumping on 2 legs, holding back here and there vs sacrificing your body, etc.

Waiting another year, a full season, might be the smart thing to do. But if he's healthy for 2021 and plays 120-140 games, his $ value goes up. So the Twins are in a very awkward situation here. But so is Buck banking on better health and luck going forward.

Were it me as his agent, or Byron himself, and the Twins offered my something like this, I'd jump at it. I MIGHT lose $ in the future, but I'd also have guaranteed life changing money in hand.
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

His teammates just rave about how talented Celestino is. First they talk about his defense in center, but then about his incredible athleticism and strength. So yeah, I don't think they'd have any intention of him being a fourth outfielder, at least night right away.


Going to disagree with you slightly here, Seth.

I see Celestino the same way I view Lewis. The Twins are built to compete RIGHT NOW barring something obscene happening. I don't feel, right now, especially coming off no milb season despite the reserve list at St Paul and development time at Ft Myers, that the Twins are in any shape to just promote for the sake of promoting and looking towards the future. We've done that a couple of times in the past, and we HAVE been rewarded when we did so.

I feel Celestino and Lewis don't have to be penciled in over the next couple of seasons as a lock. I feel both will be brought up, hopefully soon, as bench pieces to get their feet wet without being counted on as every day players. And there's nothing wrong with that.

And if Celestino is what we hope he can be, it could change the perspective of a Buxton extension. But he is still a prospect at this point. But I see both he and Lewis coming up as fill ins and utility players initially.
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IndianaTwin
Nov 25 2020 10:10 PM

I so want to extend him, but with concussions in at least 2014, 2019, and 2020 and migraines in 2017 and 2018, I don’t think I can commit to 2023.

 

 

    • DocBauer likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Nov 26 2020 10:37 AM

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.

 

Don’t see a fit right now. Twins would want to be protected against injury and Buck has nowhere to go but up. He’s got no reason to sign a Twins friendly deal.
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Major League Ready
Nov 26 2020 11:33 AM

 

I tweeted this out earlier today. I think it's semi-realistic. What does everyone think?

 

 

I think I'd offer 3 years, $27 million...
2021 - $7.0 million
2022 - $8.0 million
2023 - $10.0 million
2024 - $15.0 million option with $2 million buyout
2025 - $18.0 million option with $2 million buyout

 

I would do this in a heartbeat but why would Buxton accept. The only way he does not get more than $10M/year is if he has an injury that keeps him out for an extended period. He gets one guaranteed year at $10M which could end up being an absolute bargain.The $33M would have to be guaranteed for there to be any chance he accepts, IMO. 

 

For me, a piece factor in extending Buxton is how the FO sees the probability of Lewis sticking at SS. I guess he could end up at 3B but I would think his next greatest value would be CF.

    • bobs likes this

I'm 53 and a life-long Twins fan.I don't remember many players who present as much of an enigma for a FO like Buxton.Bets will have to be hedged when looking to extend him.We know he's injury prone.The FO knows he's injury prone.If Buxton realized he's injury prone a reasonable extension might be possible.If not, it could get messy.

    • DocBauer likes this
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Richard Swerdlick
Nov 27 2020 05:41 AM

How about a decent guaranteed salary with incentives for games played. 

My guess, if he were to sign now, it would take 7-8 years for around 15 mil a year and last few years player option.He has huge upside when healthy.I would say if not for health issues it would cost at least 20 mil a year.  

 

I would not give him too long of a contract if it was me.His speed has been what has carried him so much, and when he loses that as he ages, unless he starts to show much more consistent bat, his value will be almost nothing.I do not know when his speed will drop, may not be tell he is much older, but I would not be willing to tie myself to him for that long.  


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