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Buxton, the FO, and how to handle players

Posted by beckmt , 25 December 2018 · 2,334 views

bryon buxton falvey levine profar kris bryant
As has been stated before there was a long thread on how the Bryon Buxton September callup was handled. This is to be a different look with regards to damage to the long term franchise.
1. Case 1 Texas and Profar.
Texas did a service time saving manipulation of Profar's time. This worked out very badly for Texas. (Side note Profar's agent is Boras so not all of this may be relevant). The long term result was that went after 2017 or 2018 when Texas tried to get an extension with Profar, the Texas front office was told not to bother without paying market rate or above market rate (my guess based on what happened here). This led to the trade of Profar to the A's for not what I would consider a market rate deal for Texas. Profar is in the same category as Buxton as he was rated in the top 5 prospect list for 2 years running at one time. Without the extension given Texas's time line they were forced to take what they could get (given Profar would be a free agent before Texas became relevant again).
How does this affect Buxton? The Twins do not look as if they are actively planning to compete without a bit of the luck factor in 2019. There are two possible outcomes here: Buxton plays OK this year breaks out next year and hits his maximum trade value about the time the Twins expect to become relevant (2020 - 2024). Twins are then faced with the issue of (do you trade a potential superstar when you are ready to compete or do you hold on to compete and lose Buxton in 2 years for a compensation draft pick).
Then there is the issue of the FO talking about sustainability. That would mean looking at trading Buxton at this time when the best Twins talent is years is arriving and creating issues in the clubhouse and ongoing for the Twins keeping players who could be the face of the franchise. Kyle Gibson (the union rep), has already weighed in by commenting he thought Buxton should have been brought up. This leads to 2 more issues:
1. Having problems with keeping players who are getting good or watching them walk after 6 years. Or being forced to trade them (issue with this is you are dealing with other GM's who on the free spending teams will give you a number of their lessor 4 - 15 type prospects, but put there top prospects off limits in deals like this). This rational being that in 1 - 2 years they could sign them without giving up prospects.
2. Team reputation: Unless you pay more money than anyone else will offer, you will not get good FA's to come here. This leaves you with taking chances or having to sign players with warts (bad clubhouse personalites, lack of hustle, and me first types). You will never win big with these types.
Option 2: If you want to play hardball and Buxton plays into your hands by having a bad spring you could send him to Rochester and leave him for the year. If you as the FO are convinced he is not going to stay here, this might be the winning option. It will now align Buxton with the new upcoming core and you could get 2 - 3 years from Buxton when the Twins might be really good.
Downside: There is this pesky thing called the CBA, this would certainly be noted by the union (especially if Buxton did well in Rochester and was not called up). It would certainly complicate things and might lead to the union holding out for shortened club control be free agency as small and mid market clubs would take note and try to group talent into possible windows. Extreme case is that it might be litigated based on deliberate manipulations with the goal of bringing all sports into a much changed employee - employer relationship (this might be done by dissolving the sports unions).
2. The Kris Bryant - Chicago Cubs case.
This is more of the common case where the Cubs sent Bryant down at the start of the season to gain an extra year of control over him (even though Kris Bryant was clearly major league ready). What this has done to the Cubs is that there is almost no chance he will resign with the Cubs unless they offer more than any other club. Cubs might, but are not guaranteed to do that. Or the relationship may be so far south Cubs would have to do a big overpay to keep him.
Where does thing affect Buxton?
1. It means that the union will almost certainly want changes to the CBA in this area. This could be a big sticking point (if the union decides to exist). This could lead to a nasty strike(which might last for a long time into the season before being settled), or major changes to the length of team control (most of which I have seen is about 4 years). This would in the long run kill the small market teams from being competitive for any length or period of time).
2. Buxton could develop a bad or me first attitude (this would be very bad for clubhouse chemistry) and could try and force his way out early than the Twins would want.

  • mikelink45 and nclahammer like this

I really liked this.Good options, good perspectives.What is the Twins culture?I do not think anyone knows and as we try to develop one we are losing the potential for the young core now there (I know core is a strong word for what they have done) to become disenchanted.  


Bringing in another old vet to steady the ship is not going to work if the vet is a Giminez or Belisle type of player.And who else are they going to get?

Dec 25 2018 05:43 PM

If Buck plays to his potential in 2019, the Twins should offer him a ton of money. That will make both sides happy. The first step in this "happiness equation" is up to Buck.

    • howieramone2 likes this
John Bonnes
Dec 26 2018 08:34 AM

Thank you for posting this. The Profar case is an interesting comp, though his shoulder injury makes everything harder to compare, especially regarding the return they got in a trade. I don't think we're talking about something similar with Buxton, unless the toe injury is recurring or the migraines are a concussion symptom or something else chronic. (Or at least I hope this is the case.)


The main point here seems to be that the move sours the relationship with Buxton, which is probably true. The question is how that affects things when or if Buxton has the power in their dynamic. Ironically, this team hopes that shift happens, as it would mean Buxton is becoming the player they expected. 


I don't see Byron becoming a "me-first" guy, or at least not any more than any other ballplayer is. His head is on straight. But I suspect the relationship between him and the Twins no longer has a lot of fuzziness around it. It's now a business relationship, and the Twins certainly did their part to move it in that direction with their decision. Buxton has every right to treat it as such, and would be wise to do so.

Dec 26 2018 09:37 AM

We're not going to pretend every other team wouldn't have made the same decision we did are we? There are tough decisions and there are easy ones. This was a no-brainer.


If he wants to make the big bucks in the next few years, there is only one team he can talk to. That phenomenon is called team control. If his nose gets bent out of shape and he decides to leave as a free agent, the new regime has proven themselves as being very astute in the trade market. It's a win-win situation. 


Jan 14 2019 01:34 AM
I'm not sure this will affect Buxton's development. My take on his comments are that the feelings of comararderie with his "brothers" as he calls them will not let it affect his efforts on the field. Team Chemistry is as real as Anal-lytics. Buck has tight bondsn with Rosario, Sano, Polanco, Kepler, Garver, Berrios and many others who came up in a similar wave. Im not sure we should be doing wrong things just because other teams do it, but this could light a fire under Buxton that burns hot until October not because of Falvine but in spite of them.