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THE ATHLETIC: Buxton, Twins Cannot Come to Terms on an Extension


The Minnesota Twins had been engaged in contract extension discussions with Byron Buxton in recent weeks but The Athletic is reporting the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement. What does this mean for Buxton and how might this impact other members of the Twins?

Here is the link to the original report, which comes from Dan Hayes and Ken Rosenthal. Per that report, the Twins originally brought a seven-year, $73 million offer with a “unique incentive package” but Buxton’s camp countered with an undisclosed offer. The Twins increased the guarantee up to $80 million but it still did not satisfy Buxton and his agency.

Here is a video in which I offer my reaction to the news and discuss a potential domino-effect of these negotiations.

It’s important to note that in the headine at The Athletic they specifically called out that this increased the chance of an offseason trade. Buxton is still not back to health, so it’s unlikely any team would target him as a trade piece between now and Friday’s trade deadline.

Another item of note from the report is the likelihood of Taylor Rogers being traded was characterized as “likely” as the demand for relievers increases. 

Buxton is currently on the Injured List with a fractured left hand he suffered on a hit by pitch. In 110 plate appearances this season, he’s hit .369/.409/.767 (1.176 OPS). He’s making $3.075 million via arbitration this year, and with a small sample of stats to increase his case, I can’t imagine his projected salary through arbitration will escalate a great deal, depending on what else he does this season. After that, he’s set to become a free agent entering his age-29 season.

I decided to get a poll going over on Twitter to see whether or not people thought this was a fair extension offer. Here it is below, you can see the results in real time after you vote. Let me know down in the comments how you feel.

Joe Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million extension is (of course) the largest in team history. The biggest free agent contract the org has ever inked is Josh Donaldson’s four-year, $92 million deal. Some recent extensions signed by the club are Randy Dobnak’s five-year, $9.25 million deal from March and the deals signed in February of 2019 by Max Kepler (five-year, $35 million) and Jorge Polanco (five-year $25.75 million).

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I really need to know what Buxton’s camp countered with before choosing sides. 
 

In any case, I don’t think this situation is set in stone yet as I don’t see any team giving the Twins a deal based on his potential at this time. I’d guess he won’t be moved until this off-season at the earliest.

Though, one “star” player probably makes ownership see dollar signs more than a team full of decent players. One way or another, if push comes to shove, I’m not convinced the current group in charge will be the ones making the call when the Buxton resolution is concluded.

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So my thought process on this is why do negotiations need to stop at this point?  I mean why would the Twins draw a line in the sand and say if we don't have a deal done by this date then we are done negotiating?  I mean what value does that give the Twins?  So why would an article come out like this that basically says everyone failed in their negotiations? (Unless the Twins gave up for good?).  I mean why wouldn't the Twins and Buxton.....er his agent just keep the lines of communication open?  Doesnt really make sense to me.

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It never ceases to amaze me that people still believe that Buxton may stay with the Twins.

The writing has been on the wall for at least 6 months and to me for 12-18 months.

He has been pissed at the Twins for service time manipulation and mixed messages for hitting instruction during his development for years now.

He is going to free agency and he is going to get paid and the Twins are going to lose any bidding war.

Time to pull head out of sand and get maximum trade value.

This is all tired PR spin on the Twins part (We tried soooooooooo much); but clearly this still works on a lot of people so I guess I can't blame the Twins for deploying such a tired strategy.

 

 

 

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How many years will it be before his injuries slow him down?  How long does he have left to be elite?  The Twins have already paid him for all his lost time.  They have invested in him and I do not know how long I would make the investment.  I might see the $80m over 4 years and then walk away.

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20 minutes ago, D.C Twins said:

80 million over 7 years guaranteed is laughable. He will get waaaaaaaaaay more on the open market.

The Twins know it... clearly a face saving PR stunt offer.

Yaaaaaawn.....this situation is tired. Wake me up when a trade happens

It smells like Torii Hunter.

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56 minutes ago, D.C Twins said:

It never ceases to amaze me that people still believe that Buxton may stay with the Twins.

The writing has been on the wall for at least 6 months and to me for 12-18 months.

He has been pissed at the Twins for service time manipulation and mixed messages for hitting instruction during his development for years now.

He is going to free agency and he is going to get paid and the Twins are going to lose any bidding war.

Time to pull head out of sand and get maximum trade value.

This is all tired PR spin on the Twins part (We tried soooooooooo much); but clearly this still works on a lot of people so I guess I can't blame the Twins for deploying such a tired strategy.

 

 

 

Maybe I shouldn't believe Buxton but he has said he wants to stay with the Twins and while he wasn't happy about the service time issue it didn't appear to change his attitude toward the Twins.  Seems everyone in the industry is having a tough time trying to determine what Byron is worth given his penchant for getting injured so it is a tough contract to find common ground.

I don't know the terms being discussed but I can see each side.  The Twins are worried they could be on the hook for a player that barely plays or might never play again if concussions become a thing for him.  From what I read Buxton's camp doesn't feel there is enough protection in the contract if stays healthy and becomes a top 10 to 20 league player. If they left him severely underpaid for performance they would be selling their client short. That wouldn't be for Byron or his agenct\agency. Both sides have good points and given I don't have the details it is hard to say who is more right or wrong.

Honestly it just seems like both sides ran out of time to determine if Byron can stay healthy for a season or not.  It never really happened so his value is up the air.

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47 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

How many years will it be before his injuries slow him down?  How long does he have left to be elite?  The Twins have already paid him for all his lost time.  They have invested in him and I do not know how long I would make the investment.  I might see the $80m over 4 years and then walk away.

This is my concern as well.  With Betts down with some hip injury and Buxton was out with a hip flexor are those issues really going to be less frequent in the future?  All it takes is one wall collision or diving for a ball for him to get another concussion and maybe never be the same player.  

On the other hand he has the talent to be the best center fielder in baseball and if he does stay healthy possibly double digit war player.  It just feels like a lose, lose no matter what.

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Before we rush to call the Twins cheap skates, shouldn't we know a bit more about the "unique incentives package" and Buxton's counter-offer?

Hayes seems to hint that Buxton wants more assured money in case he gets hurt again, which is totally reasonable, but isn't it also reasonable for the team to be wary of that?  If the incentives are low-ball and meaningless, then I'd say the Twins are being cheap.  If, however, he can hit 20M a year by just getting on the field, say, 60% of the time than I'd say they aren't being cheap at all. 

Only ten players in the entire league have gotten contracts in free agency over 4 years in the last three offseasons.  Only 5 that have gotten 7 years or more in term: Harper, Machado, Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg.  Teams don't hand out deals like this much anymore, so it wouldn't take those incentives being all that elaborate for them to be well in line with MLB behavior right now.  (I'd argue they would be acting very generously on the term aspect relative to the rest of the league)

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5 minutes ago, TheLeviathan said:

Before we rush to call the Twins cheap skates, shouldn't we know a bit more about the "unique incentives package" and Buxton's counter-offer?

Hayes seems to hint that Buxton wants more assured money in case he gets hurt again, which is totally reasonable, but isn't it also reasonable for the team to be wary of that?  If the incentives are low-ball and meaningless, then I'd say the Twins are being cheap.  If, however, he can hit 20M a year by just getting on the field, say, 60% of the time than I'd say they aren't being cheap at all. 

Only ten players in the entire league have gotten contracts in free agency over 4 years in the last three offseasons.  Only 5 that have gotten 7 years or more in term: Harper, Machado, Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg.  Teams don't hand out deals like this much anymore, so it wouldn't take those incentives being all that elaborate for them to be well in line with MLB behavior right now.  (I'd argue they would be acting very generously on the term aspect relative to the rest of the league)

So he takes twenty for two years in free agency. Then does it again. 

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1 minute ago, Mike Sixel said:

So he takes twenty for two years in free agency. Then does it again. 

Except there is significant risk in that.  And Hayes said part of his reason for rejecting it was more security in the back end of the deal.

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Until we know what the unique escalators were in that offer, I'm not complaining. Was it 7 years with potential for $120? $150? $200?  Both sides need to be realistic if they want an agreement. Heck, Sano will make $14m next year, so no way it was less than that. 

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17 minutes ago, HrbieFan said:

Until we know what the unique escalators were in that offer, I'm not complaining. Was it 7 years with potential for $120? $150? $200?  Both sides need to be realistic if they want an agreement. Heck, Sano will make $14m next year, so no way it was less than that. 

Sano makes $9.25 million next year. 

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Right now, with what information has been put forth, we don't really know what the Twins offer to Byron Buxton was or what their counter offer entailed. It is likely we will never know either. 

It just seems such a shame that a foundational franchise cornerstone, even though flawed and unpredictable, as BB currently is cannot come to terms with the Twins. Money cannot be the issue here. The Twins seem to have doubts as to the expected production from Buxton due to his past history of residing on the IL. In theory this makes sense, but the variety of injuries do not point to long term disabilities and speculations about Buxton's decline in speed or skill are baseless. Fears of a lost investment in Byron Buxton hold some weight, perhaps considerable, but the potential for huge production on a consistent basis is still there and the gamble to win rests on management. They make huge pocket money to make these calls. The wrong call may cost them their positions. In any event, Byron Buxton is a combustible player, for sure.

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Buxton is not a free agent and will not be a free agent at the end of this year. I think the speculation, even though it's fun, about what Buxton might command in the free agent market right now is interesting, but moot. In regard to that, if Buxton was a free agent this offseason, I can't imagine any team in baseball offering him more than 1-2 years. The only way Buxton gets that big AAV along with several years is to play a full season and produce more value in that season than he's ever done in his career.

Buxton's situation makes it really hard for the Twins to extend an offer which would likely keep him. Since Buxton is virtually guaranteed of $25-30MM over the next two years between his 2022 salary and the QO he's going to receive, it makes a big impact on how low of an AAV he'll accept on an extension.

Even if Buxton remains very good, but injury prone while playing 1/2 seasons from here on out, he'll still make $70MM over the next 7 years. However, Buxton putting together 2 full seasons in 2022-2023 would put him into a position to  cash in hugely. I'd think he could pull in $170MM over the next 7 years on a 5 / $150MM year deal. A mid way point where I think Buxton would sign is 7 years $125MM, but if he remains injury prone or slows down, it's an albatross contract for the Twins similar to Jason Heyward's contract with the Cubs.

Thus, the Twins cannot reasonably offer Buxton significantly more than the low end of Buxton's value over the next several years and Buxton can't accept what the Twins can reasonably offer.

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I would love to know a) what the incentive/escalator clauses looked like, b) the total potential value of the contracts the Twins offered, and c) what was the Buxton counter-offer. And I think it's wise to withhold judgment until those things are known, because without that information we're in the land of wild speculations.

For those who think this is just the Twins being "cheap": They used Aaron Hicks contract as a baseline, not exactly out of line for an oft-injured CF, with potentially much more money available. And without knowing what the total package value actually is, calling the team cheap is a bit silly. If the escalator/incentive package increases the total value to $200M are they still being cheap? we have exactly the same amount of information that the maximum value is $200M as it being $100M. None.

For those thinking the Twins are just covering themselves with the fan base with low-ball offers they know won't be accepted before dealing Buxton: y'all are already crushing the team presuming this is the case. Why exactly do you think the team is filled with people who think they call bluff Twins Nation into buying this with a vocal part of the community already hunting for them? Besides that, the counter from the Buxton camp hasn't leaked yet. If the Twins were trying to pull this maneuver, they would have leaked the counter immediately to let the world decide if it was reasonable or not, especially if it's wildly divergent from the Twins offer.

I want Buxton to stay and get extended, but this is the hardest contract I've ever seen to assess risk and fair value. You have a player with massive ability and terrible health. star power combined with part-time availability. prime years that might never be realized. danger of accumulated injuries creating declining athleticism and an early decline phase. I literally have no idea what Buxton gets on the open market.

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In every negotiation, the two sides do not come to an agreement...until they do.

Will that be the case here?  Who knows?  My only thought on the issue is that I think going for 7 years is a bit too long.  Probably can offer a better 'per year' deal if the contract is shorter, ie, reducing total risk.

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20 minutes ago, roger said:

In every negotiation, the two sides do not come to an agreement...until they do.

Will that be the case here?  Who knows?  My only thought on the issue is that I think going for 7 years is a bit too long.  Probably can offer a better 'per year' deal if the contract is shorter, ie, reducing total risk.

You would hope that possibility was also discussed.  The Twins could just wait until the end of next season.  Buxton is not getting a big guarantee if he does not play 140 games at a high level next year.  He has never sustained big offense numbers.  Other teams are not going to value him based on this year's production especially given the low # of ABs.  I see the odds of them just holding Buxton and making a QO next year as higher than holding on to Berrios.

I would like to see them move Donaldson this year.  They will have to pay part of his salary.  However, they could do that this year and next year and have the acquiring team take full 2023 salary.  That would put us in a position to not only retain Buxton but have budget room for pitching.

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1 minute ago, Major League Ready said:

You would hope that possibility was also discussed.  The Twins could just wait until the end of next season.  Buxton is not getting a big guarantee if he does not play 140 games at a high level next year.  He has never sustained big offense numbers.  Other teams are not going to value him based on this year's production especially given the low # of ABs.  I see the odds of them just holding Buxton and making a QO next year as higher than holding on to Berrios.

Good points, however, that's assuming there is a QO in the next CBA that will be in effect after next year.  

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This is a hard one. I think a lower base with incentives and/or games played contract hurdles is the only way a team can be financially responsible while providing the player with fair/good compensation. If Byron holds a grudge against the Twins for past treatment then maybe no contract can be done. Also, and this might be the Buxton camp's hope, never underestimate the possibility of some team over paying him with some ridiculous guaranteed contract, right Artie?

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This is really one of the most difficult contracts/negotiations I've EVER seen in sports.  And as many have said, it's hard to have a strong opinion when so little is known about what Buxton is asking for.  That said, he's NOT getting traded at the deadline because:

He's still hurt.

Nobody is sure when he's actually going to be ready to play.

If the Twins cannot sign him, he will either be traded this winter (when his value is still waaay to low) or at the deadline next year as a rental.  MLB Trade Values has Buxton valued at 20.5.  To put that into perspective, a guy who was playing at a level equal to Mike Trout is valued less as an asset than the following Twins:  Berrios 42.9, Kepler 30.4 and Arraez 56.1 !!!

(just to name a few).

The Twins simply won't get value for Buxton until he builds it back up.  Buxton KNOWS he's got to get back on the field, play well and STAY healthy.  But for any contract extension to work there need to be escalators and incentives that make sense.  We haven't been told ANY of that.  If Buxton comes back and tears it up and finishes the season without further injury his value will appreciate (tremendously).  If not, (injuries continue to slow him) 7 years and 80 million may look better.  Honestly, I can't understand why BOTH the Twins and Buxton wouldn't be looking at 3-years, 40 million guaranteed, with yearly incentives to push the deal to as much as $54 million (avg. value $18 million per year).  It allows the Twins to retain Buck for 3-more years at a level that shouldn't destroy the franchise and it allows Buxton the opportunity to put two good injury free seasons together (gotta figure there would be one clunker in there) thus making him a possible 3-year $35 million per year kind of player.  Buxton's inability to stay healthy AT ALL has permanently damaged his ability to get a 10-year $300 contract.  It just AIN'T gonna happen.  But the Twins can't expect him to sign a SEVEN year deal for $10-$12 million per year either.  

And for all his speed, with his desire to hit for power (almost exclusively) and Rocco's inability to just turn Buxton loose on the basepaths (injury fears? Rocco sits on his A$$ and wiats for 3-run HR's) his speed offensively is not something the Twins capitalize on.  His speed defensively is undeniable.  But all these nagging injuries (especially the hip flexor) make me wonder when he will eventually lose a step (or two).   

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I agree that we can't really judge without knowing both sides. Given Bucks injury problems, I would want to sign him to a reasonable guarantee with several escalators built in if I was running the FO. As a player of course I want the big salary guaranteed. Question is will some other team pay that? Answer is probably yes. If the current FO feels that way then I guess the only responsible move is to get the best package they can in a trade. Hate to see him go but in a mid size market I don't think you pay 1 player 20 mil+ a year to play less then 100 games.

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