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


I agree with many of you that it's very hard to peg what he'd get, but I'm pretty confident of a few things:

1. Anyone who gives Buxton a contract term beyond 3 years is going to want it heavily incentivized, with a lot of outs, or with a lower AAV.  Possibly all of those things.  He won't get a deal longer than 3 years without at least significant protections of that nature.  Again, this is how teams behave now.  The free agent spending binges of years past are not the same.

2. The only way he gets anywhere close to a $20M AAV is on a 1-2 year deal with mutual options and other protections that the team will insist on in order to swing for the fences.  They won't box themselves in.  

I don't think people are looking at the current pay rate of centerfielders in the league when they think he's getting 150 or 200M guaranteed.  That's just not reasonable.  If he had no history or injuries, sure.  But Buxton's track record is ugly and teams are gun-shy when there are red flags.  GMs know they keep their jobs, in part, by protecting the owner's pocket book from ugly contracts.

On top of that, I think a lot of this fanbase is still in love with the myth of Byron Buxton.  He's such a likable player and so easy to root for and it doesn't help that he fuels that for 40 games a season when he's just phenomenal, but GMs can't be starry-eyed fans.  The sober take on this guy is that guarantees in his next contract are going to be few and far between unless he makes significant sacrifices in other areas of the deal.  

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As much as I like Buxton, whoever decides to give him the big money long term is going to be paying a guy to spend a significant amount of time on the I.L.

Because of this, $15M AAV plus incentives for staying on the field is that max I would go.

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41 minutes ago, TheLeviathan said:

On top of that, I think a lot of this fanbase is still in love with the myth of Byron Buxton.  He's such a likable player and so easy to root for and it doesn't help that he fuels that for 40 games a season when he's just phenomenal, but GMs can't be starry-eyed fans.  The sober take on this guy is that guarantees in his next contract are going to be few and far between unless he makes significant sacrifices in other areas of the deal.  

I think you know that I am one of the most skeptical people around, but I think it is worth paying Buxton near his peak market value.

The Twins were 62-25 with Buxton in 2019, and 39-36 without him.  That's insane.  There is every possibility that the 2019 team, record home runs and all, gets ten to twelve fewer wins without Buxton.  Record home runs -> 90 wins?  Wow, that's a flawed team (but also another discussion).

The idea with WAR, and this is what most people believe, is that players only affect a handful of wins every year.  I truly believe that Buxton is a WARbuster, and this is primarily due to his defense.  When he can hit too, which yes isn't always, what he will do during those weeks on the field are unmatchable.

Buxton can provide an incredible amount of value in that half season he is on the field.  More than what nearly every other player can provide given the whole year.  If a team is a mere 5-6 games from sheer dominance, that team should grab Buxton and pay him fairly.  He will help them accomplish their goals.  Teams further back, teams that need more, should not grab Buxton.

Now of course it's a fair point that long-term contracts are risky.  I hate long term contracts for all players, really, so that seems pretty normal.

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I do not believe Buxton wants to be a Twin. Can't blame him totally. He sees dollar signs by signing somewhere else. He feels dis-respected by the Twins. Considering the amount of time he has been on the field for the Twins I understand a deal that is heavy on the incentives. It is tough to know if it is fair or not without knowing those incentives. I think we have seen the last of Buxton (and Berrios also). If we are lucky, one more year. But I personally think we should try to cut the ties sooner rather than later on both, with the hopes of getting a decent return. Probably the best hope for that is an off-season deal.

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14 hours 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

Here's the problem though--since the beginning of 2019, the Twins have played 328 games.  If you assume a player plays in 90% of a team's game (which allows for one 10 day trip to the IL, and 6-8 other random off days), and gets 4 PA's a game, that player would have accumulated 1,180 PA's since the beginning of 2019.  Buxton has had 540.  That's not even half.  So given the ridiculously high risk of missed time due to injury, we can't look at this is 7/$80M.  In reality, this is more like 3/$80M or 4/$80M at the guarantee level--those are still team-friendly IF 2021 April Buxton is a real thing, and not a SSS guy putting it all together in his age 27 season for 4 weeks.  If the true Buxton is a guy who produces offensive numbers similar to 2019, while playing somewhere between 40% and 60% of the team's games, then those 3/$80M or 4/$80M deals are quite fair for both sides.

Now--if the incentives required Buxton to get 600 PA's a year, or finish top 2 in the MVP balloting; if they only added another $30M to $40M in maximum value, then yes, this was not a realistic deal.  I very much doubt that the front office would have wasted time submitting multiple contract offers they had to know would be rejected.  My guess is that Buxton wanted 7/$100M guaranteed, with another $100M in potential incentives, with probably half of that being pretty easily achievable (say at 400 PA's, or making the all-star roster, or winning a gold glove). 

As such, I think Buxton is overvaluing himself, and might be in for a rude awakening come November 2022, particularly if he doesn't play 130 games or come close to matching his April 2021 production.  Buxton is essentially betting on himself, and I can't fault him for that--hell, I admire it.  That said, this is quite different than Berrios, who has a rock solid track record, and it is not impossible that in 15 months, Buxton will regret not guaranteeing himself north of $40M in post-tax income in the next 7 years.

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There  are two parts to the Buxton discussion.

1. What will he be worth on the open market? Answer: Significantly more than the Twins are offering (and they would have to be HIGHER than other clubs because they have done nothing to ingratiate themselves to him). Again... this is not if YOUR AGREE with what he will get on the open market... just what HE WILL get on the open market. He is not going to take incentive based contract when someone will give him guaranteed money. Using Hicks contract as a starting point for guaranteed money is BAT #$%& Crazy!

2. Should they offer him market value?  Answer: Now THIS is where the discussion lies. Good arguments to be made on both sides.... personally, I would give him a 5 year 125 million contract (that would at least be an offer that would show the Twins are doing something other than PR damage control). I think his likely WAR justifies it even if he only plays 100-110 game a year. But, I completely get the counter argument. We can all agree High Risk/High Reward.

In summary, the Twins are clearly not offering market value and they know it

But, IF they should offer market value is a very fair discussion.

 

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4 minutes ago, Loops said:

I do not believe Buxton wants to be a Twin. Can't blame him totally. He sees dollar signs by signing somewhere else. He feels dis-respected by the Twins. Considering the amount of time he has been on the field for the Twins I understand a deal that is heavy on the incentives. It is tough to know if it is fair or not without knowing those incentives. I think we have seen the last of Buxton (and Berrios also). If we are lucky, one more year. But I personally think we should try to cut the ties sooner rather than later on both, with the hopes of getting a decent return. Probably the best hope for that is an off-season deal.

I'm sure Buxton was very upset about getting optioned towards the end of 2018.  That being said, he had an OPS of .383 in 2018.  NOT OBP.  OPS.  He also hadn't played in a game since May.  It's not like he was putting up an OPS above .700 while playing every day in August.

That being said, do we have any kind of proof at all that almost 3 years later, Buxton is still so upset that he won't even sign with the Twins, even if they gave him the best offer?  I'm not saying he doesn't feel that way, just that we should stop assuming that he does, and ascribing that belief to his every action.  Buxton seems like an intelligent enough fellow--I would imagine that he can at least see the Twin's side of things (given his horrendous 2018 production, perhaps in retrospect he understand that the Twins wanted him to regain some confidence at AAA, instead of get another month of failure at MLB).

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So ... that's it? An offer (that we don't know all the specifics of), a counter (that we don't know specifics of), a counter-counter and done? Are we to assume that 'can't reach an agreement' implies that that's it? (I don't have a subscription to The Athletic, so can't read the article.) Wow, I've been involved with many negotiations over the years, and they have all taken more than that. If that truly is it, then, hmmm.

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10 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

I'm sure Buxton was very upset about getting optioned towards the end of 2018.  That being said, he had an OPS of .383 in 2018.  NOT OBP.  OPS.  He also hadn't played in a game since May.  It's not like he was putting up an OPS above .700 while playing every day in August.

That being said, do we have any kind of proof at all that almost 3 years later, Buxton is still so upset that he won't even sign with the Twins, even if they gave him the best offer?  I'm not saying he doesn't feel that way, just that we should stop assuming that he does, and ascribing that belief to his every action.  Buxton seems like an intelligent enough fellow--I would imagine that he can at least see the Twin's side of things (given his horrendous 2018 production, perhaps in retrospect he understand that the Twins wanted him to regain some confidence at AAA, instead of get another month of failure at MLB).

There are no indications that I have found that he is so upset about the service time that he doesn't want to sign with the Twins.  He last statements in the Trib just before these negotiations had him essentially saying he would like to play for only one team his entire career.  That doesn't sound like a disgruntled player that never wants to play for the Twins again.

He also stated playing the game wasn't about the money for him.  Here is the deal though.  I thought I had heard somewhere that Mauer wanted to do more of a hometown discount with the Twins but the players association and agents generally frown on such things because when players perform well they have a chance to up the market value of all players by getting as large of a contract as possible.  It is one of the few ways players have to battle owners. A rising tide lifts all boats theory.

Whether Buxton wants to play for the Twins or not seems irrelevant in contract negotiations to me. His Agents and the players association are working in his best interests to gain the most value they can for a player whose talent might be unmatched in baseball if he ever plays a full season.  He is injury prone and that is why they seek a longer term deal as it protects the player long term and obviously he is a player that needs that type of protection.  Believe me the agent has a good idea what other teams would be willing to offer for Buxton and the Twins being a mid market revenue generating team will not be able to take the same level of risk a higher revenue team can.  So I think Buxton might get closer to what he wants on the FA market but I guess we will have to wait and see.

I agree with you though that the theories Buxton doesn't want to be here because of the service time issue's are highly unlikely. Cruz just left essentially saying this is one of the best orgs he has ever played for and he was sad to leave.  The Twins have done their best to keep Buck healthy and supported him through every injury.  His latest statements make me think he would like to stay but this game is also a business.  The Market is where players go assess their true value.  The Twins would likely have to overpay to keep him IMO.

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I take no pleasure in saying this, but it's certainly beginning to feel as though Falvey and Levine are losing control of the franchise.  Other than the Nelson Cruz signing, this front office has been pretty abysmal. They've made one horrendously bad free agent signing after another, routinely undervalued their own prospects only to see many of them flourish in other organizations, and are now on the verge of completely and utterly botching contract extension talks with the club's two best players: Berrios and Buxton.  The ugly truth is that the one-off success of the 2019 season covered up what has been a mostly inept administration. There's no chance anyone is going to be fired or replaced -- so these guys will have the opportunity to conduct what's looking like will be a near total rebuild.  But for my two cents, I can't see how a front office that has been so wrong on so many different fronts is going to successfully pull this thing off.

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I think everyone wringing their hands about the fact that Buxton doesn't want to play for the Twins or that negotiations are over need to take a deep breath,

1. Nowhere in Rosenthal's article does it state that negotiations are over.  The Twins offered $73 million guaranteed and the Buxton camp made a counteroffer.  The Twins followed that up by offering $80 million and Buxton rejected that.

2. If Buxton simply didn't want to play for the Twins, would his camp have even made a counteroffer?

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It's hard to choose sides here without knowing the incentives the Twins included on the 7 year $80 million offer. I don't blame Buxton for rejecting that as that's obviously not going to get it done.

I'm at the front of the "Extend Byron Buxton" train. The first month of the season he was by far the best CF in MLB. He is the least replaceable player on the roster. The team is clearly better when he plays. I would go as far as to say I'm not against using Berrios extension money to get Buxton extended, if Buxton can stay healthy.

As everyone knows, the problem is "when he plays" or "if he can stay healthy" is a huge caveat for Byron Buxton. Taking a peak at his baseball-reference page is rough. Buxton clearly wants a longer term guarantee, and the Twins are attempting to provide him that. It simply does not make financial sense for the team to guarantee him $100 million+ over 7 years with his track record.

I want him extended as much as anyone. He is my favorite player to watch and I have been following him for a long time. The Twins will either need to shorten the years or be very creative with the contract for it to make sense.

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1 hour ago, cjvirnig said:

I take no pleasure in saying this, but it's certainly beginning to feel as though Falvey and Levine are losing control of the franchise.  Other than the Nelson Cruz signing, this front office has been pretty abysmal. They've made one horrendously bad free agent signing after another, routinely undervalued their own prospects only to see many of them flourish in other organizations, and are now on the verge of completely and utterly botching contract extension talks with the club's two best players: Berrios and Buxton.  The ugly truth is that the one-off success of the 2019 season covered up what has been a mostly inept administration. There's no chance anyone is going to be fired or replaced -- so these guys will have the opportunity to conduct what's looking like will be a near total rebuild.  But for my two cents, I can't see how a front office that has been so wrong on so many different fronts is going to successfully pull this thing off.

I disagree with this strongly.  This year has been mostly an unmitigated disaster (although it bears noting that one of the free agents the Twins signed prior to this year was Nelson Cruz).  Other than that?  The initial signing of Cruz was genius.  The trade for Maeda was a strong move, and signing Donaldson was also (at least to this point) a very good move.  Pineda has been a great get for the front office as well.  The Odorizzi trade is one of the few times a team has clearly beat the Rays, and getting MLB value for a guy pitching on a team called the Unicorns (Dobnak), is excellent as well.

As for routinely undervaluing their prospects, I assume you're talking about Akil Baddoo and Lamonte Wade?  Baddoo certainly looks like someone we'd like to have back, although he still has less than 300 MLB PA's, so let's not pretend it's impossible that he regresses and ends up as 4th/5th outfielder.  Wade has put up only 1.2 WAR this year, is only providing defensive value in LF, and will be 28 before the 2022 season starts.  If those are the worst prospect mistakes a team makes, then that team is pretty good with prospects.  Let me know if I'm missing someone, but I can't think of any true prospects who have gone on to be first division regulars, other than potentially Baddoo.

They've hardly flubbed contract negotiations with Buxton or Berrios either.  Berrios has been very open about wanting to test free agency.  You would need to pay him a premium to get him to forgo that, in essence overpaying on the overpay that is free agency.  With Buxton, without knowing what he realistically wanted, it's almost impossible to know if the offer that's been reported was a good one or not.  As I previously mentioned, if the incentives were small and difficult to achieve, then yes, the FO screwed up.  I very much doubt that is the case, as they would be at a real risk of having Buxton's camp "accidentally" leak that.  My guess is the incentives were in the $50M-$70M range, and were moderately hard to achieve, while Buxton wanted more guaranteed, and $80M-$100M in incentives which would be moderately easy to achieve.  The Twins would be foolish to guarantee $100M to a player who's about to turn 28, and has had only one month of actual superstar level production.

I do think that this year has been a step backward, and most of the rep the FO built in 2019/2020 is now gone.  They will have to demonstrate some real acumen to move back towards being viewed positively.  That said, pretending like this FO has spent almost 5 years in charge, and has only done one thing right is just asinine.

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14 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

I disagree with this strongly.  This year has been mostly an unmitigated disaster (although it bears noting that one of the free agents the Twins signed prior to this year was Nelson Cruz).  Other than that?  The initial signing of Cruz was genius.  The trade for Maeda was a strong move, and signing Donaldson was also (at least to this point) a very good move.  Pineda has been a great get for the front office as well.  The Odorizzi trade is one of the few times a team has clearly beat the Rays, and getting MLB value for a guy pitching on a team called the Unicorns (Dobnak), is excellent as well.

As for routinely undervaluing their prospects, I assume you're talking about Akil Baddoo and Lamonte Wade?  Baddoo certainly looks like someone we'd like to have back, although he still has less than 300 MLB PA's, so let's not pretend it's impossible that he regresses and ends up as 4th/5th outfielder.  Wade has put up only 1.2 WAR this year, is only providing defensive value in LF, and will be 28 before the 2022 season starts.  If those are the worst prospect mistakes a team makes, then that team is pretty good with prospects.  Let me know if I'm missing someone, but I can't think of any true prospects who have gone on to be first division regulars, other than potentially Baddoo.

They've hardly flubbed contract negotiations with Buxton or Berrios either.  Berrios has been very open about wanting to test free agency.  You would need to pay him a premium to get him to forgo that, in essence overpaying on the overpay that is free agency.  With Buxton, without knowing what he realistically wanted, it's almost impossible to know if the offer that's been reported was a good one or not.  As I previously mentioned, if the incentives were small and difficult to achieve, then yes, the FO screwed up.  I very much doubt that is the case, as they would be at a real risk of having Buxton's camp "accidentally" leak that.  My guess is the incentives were in the $50M-$70M range, and were moderately hard to achieve, while Buxton wanted more guaranteed, and $80M-$100M in incentives which would be moderately easy to achieve.  The Twins would be foolish to guarantee $100M to a player who's about to turn 28, and has had only one month of actual superstar level production.

I do think that this year has been a step backward, and most of the rep the FO built in 2019/2020 is now gone.  They will have to demonstrate some real acumen to move back towards being viewed positively.  That said, pretending like this FO has spent almost 5 years in charge, and has only done one thing right is just asinine.

I'll admit that my take on the front office is through a pessimistic lens whereas yours if from a more optimistic lens. But I still contend that when you add everything up, they've gotten quite a bit more wrong than they've gotten right. -- and that slide is only deepening at this point.

In terms of internal prospects they undervalued -- it's more than just Baddoo and Wade.  In fact, the ones that REALLY hurt are the pitching prospects they let get away.  According to Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic, former Twins pitching prospect Luis Gil is now the #4 prospect in the Yankees organization.  There is also Nick Anderson of the Rays, who has turned into a stud.  And, finally, there is Huascar Ynoa for the Braves, whom the Twins traded in the infamous Jaime Garcia deal. What hurts is that these are all pitchers who are either succeeding at the Big League level -- or are either at (or near) the top of the farm system for their respective teams.  And this comes at a time when the Twins entire pitching staff (particularly the bullpen) is a total disaster.  And do we even need to revisit the Ryan Pressly trade that Falvey and Levine consummated? 

As for free agents, again, I'm just not as optimistic as you are. Sure, Michael Pineda has been a fine addition.  But let's not forget that he also is chiefly responsible for sabotaging the team's 2019 playoff run with his 50 game PED ban.  And while it's true that Falvey and Levine had nothing whatsoever to do with that -- it IS true that the front office made one of its most egregious errors by deciding to not add a proven arm at the 2019 trade deadline. That was a mistake many of us were lamenting in real-time because it was the exact same mistake Terry Ryan always made during the Gardenhire-era. That failure to bolster the rotation at the deadline crippled the Twins when Pineda got popped with the suspension. So much so, that unproven rookie Randy Dobnak was forced to make the start in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium; something that should've been totally unthinkable for a 100+ win club.  That was such an unforgivable blunder that my SF Giants buddies STILL rib me about that to this very day.

JA Happ, Matt Shoemaker, and Alex Colome have quite literally been three of the worst free-agent signings in the history of the franchise -- and those were Falvey and Levine's biggest FA additions of last offseason!  And again, we can attempt to let them off the hook by doing a deep dive into looking at the analytics, but if a pitching-starved team like the Angels let someone like Shoemaker walk away, there's probably a good reason for that.  Ditto for the Chicago White Sox letting Alex Colome walk away.  And as for Josh Donaldson -- I guess I can give them some credit for that...but again, it needs to be emphasized that Donaldson was NOT the Twins primary target. In fact, it was only because Falvey and Levine totally whiffed on signing Zack Wheeler that they ended up overpaying for Josh Donaldson (who 100% would've stayed in Atlanta had the Braves matched the Twins offer).

At the end of the day, this front office will have every chance in the world to prove me wrong. Perhaps they will end up increasing their offer to Byron Buxton and succeed in signing him to an extension. But if both Berrios and Buxton are traded -- then it's undoubtedly true that the team is going into the cellar for a full rebuild.  And I personally have very, very little faith that this front office has the acumen or wherewithal to turn the franchise around. 

 

 

   

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All indications are that there have been multiple years of fruitless and challenging extension negotiations with Buxton and Berrios. These are the two most important players on this roster, besides these two the best hitter was a 41 year old DH followed by an injury prone 35 year old 3B. The rest of the starting rotation is aging, injury prone and underperforming. 2020 couldn't have come at a worse time stunting the growth of upper level prospects that the Twins clearly were planning to be contributing as soon as late 2020 (Lewis, Kirilloff, Larnach, Balazovich, Duran, etc). The delayed arrival of key prospects combined with aging of key veterans and underperformance/injuries to others seems to necessitate a reset. 

This is the epitome of a crossroads situation, If Falvey and Levine are confident they can get deals done with Buxton and Berrios re-signed I'm sure there would be a strategy in place to re-load to compete again in 2022 and 2023. If they don't think they can get it done they absolutely need to blow this roster up and maximize the return while a lot of these players are still highly valued by other teams, especially with the CBA up in the air. This is an opportunity to either lock up two potential franchise players or re-load for a hopefully quick rebuild and return to competitive baseball with a new generation of players. 

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2 hours ago, D.C Twins said:

There  are two parts to the Buxton discussion.

1. What will he be worth on the open market? Answer: Significantly more than the Twins are offering (and they would have to be HIGHER than other clubs because they have done nothing to ingratiate themselves to him). Again... this is not if YOUR AGREE with what he will get on the open market... just what HE WILL get on the open market. He is not going to take incentive based contract when someone will give him guaranteed money. Using Hicks contract as a starting point for guaranteed money is BAT #$%& Crazy!

2. Should they offer him market value?  Answer: Now THIS is where the discussion lies. Good arguments to be made on both sides.... personally, I would give him a 5 year 125 million contract (that would at least be an offer that would show the Twins are doing something other than PR damage control). I think his likely WAR justifies it even if he only plays 100-110 game a year. But, I completely get the counter argument. We can all agree High Risk/High Reward.

In summary, the Twins are clearly not offering market value and they know it

But, IF they should offer market value is a very fair discussion.

 

1. I disagree that Buxton would get significantly more on the open market--there are teams out there willing to guarantee well into the 9 figures for a guy who has only played more than 100 games once, only has one month out of his entire career where he played at a superstar level, and is turning 28 this offseason?  I'm sure there are teams who would go higher than 7/$80M, but the idea that Buxton will get multiple 7/$140M+ offers I find far-fetched.  Not impossible, mind you, but unlikely.  As for the Hicks comp, in the three years before he signed the contract, Hicks had 1,300 PA's and put up 8.2 WAR.  In 2018-2021 (which is the same number of maximum games), Buxton has 634 PA's, and put up 6.3 WAR.  Clearly, Buxton has a higher ceiling than Hicks, but has been far less available, which offsets that.  Hicks as a starting point is actually quite logical.

2. Your proposed offer is probably much more than what his WAR is likely to warrant.  Everyone wants to use the $8M-$10M/WAR figure, but that's only for free agency.  In reality, 1 WAR actually costs about $4M (in 2019, MLB salaries were around $4B, and all MLB combined for 1,000 WAR).  As such, for $25M a year, Buxton needs to put up at least 6 WAR every year to actually be worth it.  Is he capable of doing that in 110-120 games?  At April 2021 rates of production, absolutely.  Any other point of his career?  Not even close.  Combine the elevated potential for decline (combination of accumulating injuries plus the fact he is now past his physical peak), and your proposed contract is a giant risk.

The Twins are offering (as best we can tell, unless we get insight into the incentives) a very appropriate deal, given the vast chasm between the worst case and best case scenarios for the next 7 years of Buxton's career.

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Just sign Buxton to a lifetime contract.  Make the contract worth his value for a couple of years.  Once he retires due to injuries, he can join the gang of Hawkins, Morneau, Perkins, Cuddyer, etc. and do the PR gig.  Buxton can host the Twins caravans and fishing expeditions.   This is a stupid post.  About as stupid as the FO wasting its time with this 'negotiation'.

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10 minutes ago, cjvirnig said:

I'll admit that my take on the front office is through a pessimistic lens whereas yours if from a more optimistic lens. But I still contend that when you add everything up, they've gotten quite a bit more wrong than they've gotten right. -- and that slide is only deepening at this point.

In terms of internal prospects they undervalued -- it's more than just Baddoo and Wade.  In fact, the ones that REALLY hurt are the pitching prospects they let get away.  According to Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic, former Twins pitching prospect Luis Gil is now the #4 prospect in the Yankees organization.  There is also Nick Anderson of the Rays, who has turned into a stud.  And, finally, there is Huascar Ynoa for the Braves, whom the Twins traded in the infamous Jaime Garcia deal. What hurts is that these are all pitchers who are either succeeding at the Big League level -- or are either at (or near) the top of the farm system for their respective teams.  And this comes at a time when the Twins entire pitching staff (particularly the bullpen) is a total disaster.  And do we even need to revisit the Ryan Pressly trade that Falvey and Levine consummated? 

As for free agents, again, I'm just not as optimistic as you are. Sure, Michael Pineda has been a fine addition.  But let's not forget that he also is chiefly responsible for sabotaging the team's 2019 playoff run with his 50 game PED ban.  And while it's true that Falvey and Levine had nothing whatsoever to do with that -- it IS true that the front office made one of its most egregious errors by deciding to not add a proven arm at the 2019 trade deadline. That was a mistake many of us were lamenting in real-time because it was the exact same mistake Terry Ryan always made during the Gardenhire-era. That failure to bolster the rotation at the deadline crippled the Twins when Pineda got popped with the suspension. So much so, that unproven rookie Randy Dobnak was forced to make the start in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium; something that should've been totally unthinkable for a 100+ win club.  That was such an unforgivable blunder that my SF Giants buddies STILL rib me about that to this very day.

JA Happ, Matt Shoemaker, and Alex Colome have quite literally been three of the worst free-agent signings in the history of the franchise -- and those were Falvey and Levine's biggest FA additions of last offseason!  And again, we can attempt to let them off the hook by doing a deep dive into looking at the analytics, but if a pitching-starved team like the Angels let someone like Shoemaker walk away, there's probably a good reason for that.  Ditto for the Chicago White Sox letting Alex Colome walk away.  And as for Josh Donaldson -- I guess I can give them some credit for that...but again, it needs to be emphasized that Donaldson was NOT the Twins primary target. In fact, it was only because Falvey and Levine totally whiffed on signing Zack Wheeler that they ended up overpaying for Josh Donaldson (who 100% would've stayed in Atlanta had the Braves matched the Twins offer).

At the end of the day, this front office will have every chance in the world to prove me wrong. Perhaps they will end up increasing their offer to Byron Buxton and succeed in signing him to an extension. But if both Berrios and Buxton are traded -- then it's undoubtedly true that the team is going into the cellar for a full rebuild.  And I personally have very, very little faith that this front office has the acumen or wherewithal to turn the franchise around. 

Luis Gil has a 1.27 WHIP this year at AAA, in his age 23 season (i.e., he's not particularly young for the level), and is averaging barely 4 IP/start--he's never averaged 5 IP per start at any point in his career.  He seems like a prime candidate to run into a reliever, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but let's not pretend we gave away Gerrit Cole.  Anderson has indeed looked good, but he was also a 28 year old at AAA when the Twins let him go--not exactly a prospect.  Ynoa was bad in 2019, not great in 2020, and has looked good this year--but it's in only 40 innings.  As recently as this spring, fangraphs had him pegged as equally likely to be a reliever as a starter.  Would having all three of those guys help?  Probably (except for Anderson, who has yet to pitch this year).  Would we be on our way to our third straight AL Central title?  No shot.  Pressly also doesn't apply here, as he was an established big leaguer at the time of the trade.

The 2019 Twins scored 7 runs in 3 playoff games--pitching was not the problem.  Would Pineda have made it closer?  Sure, but we would not have advanced just with Pineda's presence, so to blame him for 2019 is silly.  Missing Buxton, having Kepler hurt, and Garver/Sano combining for about a .400 OPS was the problem.

You'll notice that I referred to this year as an unmitigated disaster--I'm not sure why you brought up the unholy trio again, although it should be noted that there was literally nothing to suggest all three would completely fail.  The Angels let Shoemaker walk because they wanted to focus on pitchers without injury risks, and for a team that thought it would have nice depth in Dobnak, Thorpe, and Smeltzer, a $2M flier on Shoemaker made a lot of sense.  If those 3 aren't injured essentially the whole year, the Shoemaker and Happ deals are not as bad (still pretty bad).

I don't really care if the FA targets of the Twins are old, I care if they're effective.  They had massive success with Cruz, and have had nice success with Donaldson.  What does it matter if they're old or if those were their first choices?  They got the deal done, and it has worked out.

I'm also not saying this FO gets the benefit of the doubt anymore--I specifically said they'll have to earn that back.  But pretending like they haven't done anything right in the last 5 years, a span that includes two division titles from a 103 win and a 96 win (pace) team, is more than pessimistic, it's nihilistic.

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15 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

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.

Doesn't Buxton's displeasure with the back end protection kinda signal that the escalators in this offer might not be that great, or at the very least relatively attainable? That's a tough sell if you're already starting from a very low base. 

4 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

I agree with many of you that it's very hard to peg what he'd get, but I'm pretty confident of a few things:

1. Anyone who gives Buxton a contract term beyond 3 years is going to want it heavily incentivized, with a lot of outs, or with a lower AAV.  Possibly all of those things.  He won't get a deal longer than 3 years without at least significant protections of that nature.  Again, this is how teams behave now.  The free agent spending binges of years past are not the same.

2. The only way he gets anywhere close to a $20M AAV is on a 1-2 year deal with mutual options and other protections that the team will insist on in order to swing for the fences.  They won't box themselves in.  

We just watched the Twins of all teams sign Josh Donaldson to a $92M deal at age 34, following his first healthy season in three years. It's not a perfect comp, and obviously Donaldson had an earlier run of success that Buxton hasn't touched, but he was, and still is, a significant injury risk. I don't think it's a stretch to say in 3-4 years Buxton could earn what the Twins are offering in 7. 

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43 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

Doesn't Buxton's displeasure with the back end protection kinda signal that the escalators in this offer might not be that great, or at the very least relatively attainable? That's a tough sell if you're already starting from a very low base. 

We just watched the Twins of all teams sign Josh Donaldson to a $92M deal at age 34, following his first healthy season in three years. It's not a perfect comp, and obviously Donaldson had an earlier run of success that Buxton hasn't touched, but he was, and still is, a significant injury risk. I don't think it's a stretch to say in 3-4 years Buxton could earn what the Twins are offering in 7. 

Buxton has less track record and worse injuries than Donaldson.  And Donaldson had to scrape to get a four year deal while Buxton is getting offered 7.

And, yes, he could blow what they offered out of the water in 3-4 years.  He might also be so injured and declining that he doesn't earn half of it.

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4 hours ago, D.C Twins said:

ummary, the Twins are clearly not offering market value and they know it

But, IF they should offer market value is a very fair discussion.

 

Teams that don't offer anything close to fair market don't often get counter-offers.  Your idea of the market does not seem accurate to the actual, current market.

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1 hour ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

Luis Gil has a 1.27 WHIP this year at AAA, in his age 23 season (i.e., he's not particularly young for the level), and is averaging barely 4 IP/start--he's never averaged 5 IP per start at any point in his career.  He seems like a prime candidate to run into a reliever, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but let's not pretend we gave away Gerrit Cole.  Anderson has indeed looked good, but he was also a 28 year old at AAA when the Twins let him go--not exactly a prospect.  Ynoa was bad in 2019, not great in 2020, and has looked good this year--but it's in only 40 innings.  As recently as this spring, fangraphs had him pegged as equally likely to be a reliever as a starter.  Would having all three of those guys help?  Probably (except for Anderson, who has yet to pitch this year).  Would we be on our way to our third straight AL Central title?  No shot.  Pressly also doesn't apply here, as he was an established big leaguer at the time of the trade.

The 2019 Twins scored 7 runs in 3 playoff games--pitching was not the problem.  Would Pineda have made it closer?  Sure, but we would not have advanced just with Pineda's presence, so to blame him for 2019 is silly.  Missing Buxton, having Kepler hurt, and Garver/Sano combining for about a .400 OPS was the problem.

You'll notice that I referred to this year as an unmitigated disaster--I'm not sure why you brought up the unholy trio again, although it should be noted that there was literally nothing to suggest all three would completely fail.  The Angels let Shoemaker walk because they wanted to focus on pitchers without injury risks, and for a team that thought it would have nice depth in Dobnak, Thorpe, and Smeltzer, a $2M flier on Shoemaker made a lot of sense.  If those 3 aren't injured essentially the whole year, the Shoemaker and Happ deals are not as bad (still pretty bad).

I don't really care if the FA targets of the Twins are old, I care if they're effective.  They had massive success with Cruz, and have had nice success with Donaldson.  What does it matter if they're old or if those were their first choices?  They got the deal done, and it has worked out.

I'm also not saying this FO gets the benefit of the doubt anymore--I specifically said they'll have to earn that back.  But pretending like they haven't done anything right in the last 5 years, a span that includes two division titles from a 103 win and a 96 win (pace) team, is more than pessimistic, it's nihilistic.

It's not nihilistic, it's simply looking at the quantitative evidence and realizing that they've gotten quite a bit more wrong than they've gotten right during their tenure. 2018 was a dumpster fire.  2019 was awesome (despite their botching the trade deadline by getting an injured Sam Dyson instead of trading for a desperately needed starter), 2020 doesn't really count, and 2021 is a Chernobyl-like nuclear meltdown. If nothing else, the total lack of consistency from season to season and the violent ups and downs paints a picture of an administration that isn't in very firm control. Certainly, Falvey and Levine should not necessarily be buried for every single one of these missteps, but when it's all taken together as a whole, it's a pretty damning indictment. And if they're just going to let both Berrios and Buxton go for prospects -- good luck selling that to Twins fans.  

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38 minutes ago, cjvirnig said:

It's not nihilistic, it's simply looking at the quantitative evidence and realizing that they've gotten quite a bit more wrong than they've gotten right during their tenure. 2018 was a dumpster fire.  2019 was awesome (despite their botching the trade deadline by getting an injured Sam Dyson instead of trading for a desperately needed starter), 2020 doesn't really count, and 2021 is a Chernobyl-like nuclear meltdown. If nothing else, the total lack of consistency from season to season and the violent ups and downs paints a picture of an administration that isn't in very firm control. Certainly, Falvey and Levine should not necessarily be buried for every single one of these missteps, but when it's all taken together as a whole, it's a pretty damning indictment. And if they're just going to let both Berrios and Buxton go for prospects -- good luck selling that to Twins fans.  

Why would 2020 not count?  They made all their moves well before COVID shut everything down, and the team then played at 96 win pace, with Maeda, Pineda,  and Donaldson all playing important roles, both in 2020 and 2021.  Also, 2018 was hardly a dumpster fire--it was not a good year, but they finished 6 games under .500.  IN the 5 years before Falvey/Levine showed up, the Twins won 42.5% of their games (69 win pace--not for nothing, but the "Chernobyl-like nuclear meltdown" Twins of 2021 are on pace for...68 wins).  In the 4 seasons they've been in charge (3 full, plus 2020/2021 which is 160 games), the Twins have won 52.9% of their games (86 win pace).  So a front office took a team that for 5 years was in total meltdown, and immediately turned them into an above .500 team, and you think they've done such a poor job that you believe their transaction record is a damning indictment of their performance?  Pray tell, how did the organization get turned around, if not for Falvine making good and effective decisions?

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5 hours ago, cjvirnig said:

I take no pleasure in saying this, but it's certainly beginning to feel as though Falvey and Levine are losing control of the franchise.  Other than the Nelson Cruz signing, this front office has been pretty abysmal. They've made one horrendously bad free agent signing after another, routinely undervalued their own prospects only to see many of them flourish in other organizations, and are now on the verge of completely and utterly botching contract extension talks with the club's two best players: Berrios and Buxton.  The ugly truth is that the one-off success of the 2019 season covered up what has been a mostly inept administration. There's no chance anyone is going to be fired or replaced -- so these guys will have the opportunity to conduct what's looking like will be a near total rebuild.  But for my two cents, I can't see how a front office that has been so wrong on so many different fronts is going to successfully pull this thing off.

They took an awful pitching staff, and won the division two years in a row, making the starters top 10 in the majors both years. How quickly we forget. Really.

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1 hour ago, TheLeviathan said:

Buxton has less track record and worse injuries than Donaldson.  And Donaldson had to scrape to get a four year deal while Buxton is getting offered 7.

And, yes, he could blow what they offered out of the water in 3-4 years.  He might also be so injured and declining that he doesn't earn half of it.

Different injuries, none of which having been nagging like Donaldson's calves. He's also seven years younger than Donaldson. If MN is willing to go $21M annually I'm inclined to believe Buxton can reach something near that AAV, even if it's a short (3-4 year) deal. 

Perhaps injured, and that's the gamble on either side. I'd be much less concerned about a decline in his 20s. 

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2 hours ago, KirbyDome89 said:

Doesn't Buxton's displeasure with the back end protection kinda signal that the escalators in this offer might not be that great, or at the very least relatively attainable? That's a tough sell if you're already starting from a very low base. 

We just watched the Twins of all teams sign Josh Donaldson to a $92M deal at age 34, following his first healthy season in three years. It's not a perfect comp, and obviously Donaldson had an earlier run of success that Buxton hasn't touched, but he was, and still is, a significant injury risk. I don't think it's a stretch to say in 3-4 years Buxton could earn what the Twins are offering in 7. 

Buxton's displeasure with the back end protection signals he either A--fully believes he'll get a better deal (which is not the same as these incentives/escalators not being great), or B--it's a negotiating position to try and get the Twins to sweeten their offer yet again.  Since they've already done it once in this most recent round, perhaps he's hoping to get back on the field by mid-August, and put up 6 more good weeks, making April seem more indicative of future results.  If so, maybe he hopes to get an offer from the Twins in the offseason for 7/$90M with enhanced incentives.

The max value of the Twins contract has to be in at least the $120M range (if $80 is guaranteed, do you really think there's any less than $40M in incentives), and is probably more in the $140M range.  DO you really think someone will give Buxton a contract that could be worth at least $120M in only 4 years?  I don't think anyone is going to guarantee Buxton more than $15M a year over the next 3-4 years, which means he'd need another $15M a year in incentives to hit that amount--seems plausible but unlikely, particularly if he has yet another injury-marred season in 2022.  If he also returns to an OPS in the .800's, while showing the first signs of declining speed?  I would imagine he would rue the day he declined the Twins offer.

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6 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

Different injuries, none of which having been nagging like Donaldson's calves. He's also seven years younger than Donaldson. If MN is willing to go $21M annually I'm inclined to believe Buxton can reach something near that AAV, even if it's a short (3-4 year) deal. 

Perhaps injured, and that's the gamble on either side. I'd be much less concerned about a decline in his 20s. 

I encourage you to find Van's laundry list of lost games on the way to the hundreds and hundreds of lost games by Buxton.  I don't care if they are nagging or not, its brutal.

I agree about his age being a major positive for Buck, but his game is built on speed.  There is no profile of a player more likely to decline with age than one whose game is built on speed.  Buxton's hitting has been great in only a smattering or the smattering of at-bats he has actually been healthy.  Without his speed, Buxton is a significantly less valuable player.  And his speed will decline.

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1 minute ago, TheLeviathan said:

I encourage you to find Van's laundry list of lost games on the way to the hundreds and hundreds of lost games by Buxton.  I don't care if they are nagging or not, its brutal.

I agree about his age being a major positive for Buck, but his game is built on speed.  There is no profile of a player more likely to decline with age than one whose game is built on speed.  Buxton's hitting has been great in only a smattering or the smattering of at-bats he has actually been healthy.  Without his speed, Buxton is a significantly less valuable player.  And his speed will decline.

I've seen it, and you won't get any argument from me that it's anything but brutal. 

I agree, I just don't see him falling off a cliff during his age 27-30 or 31 seasons. 

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2 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

Different injuries, none of which having been nagging like Donaldson's calves. He's also seven years younger than Donaldson. If MN is willing to go $21M annually I'm inclined to believe Buxton can reach something near that AAV, even if it's a short (3-4 year) deal. 

Perhaps injured, and that's the gamble on either side. I'd be much less concerned about a decline in his 20s. 

Since 2013, here are Donaldson's PA numbers, through 2019--668, 695, 711, 700, 496, 219, 659.  In that span, he had one season over 8 WAR, 2 more over 7, and 2 more over 5 (a third was at 4.9).

Since he debuted in 2015, here are Buxton's combined MLB/MiLB PA numbers--465, 540, 524, 246, 298, 365 (2020 pro-rated), 175 (2021 pro-rated).  In 7 years, Buxton has averaged 373 PA's/year, while Donaldson (before signing the contract with the Twins) had averaged 593.  Buxton wishes he could trade his injury profile for Donaldson's nagging calf injuries.

Donaldson was also perceived as the final piece to push the Twins into WS contention--a lot easier to talk yourself into a huge contract when you expect that to help you potentially get a flag, as opposed to when you're coming off 90 losses.

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