Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Buck Can Bankroll His Future in Final Month


Byron Buxton is nearing a return to the Minnesota Twins, and while the season is lost from a team perspective, the final month could do plenty to set up his future.

In the final days of July, Buxton was a hotly-discussed name related to potential trade rumors. Minnesota had made him multiple long-term extension offers, and the suggestion was that it was either accept or be moved down the line. Buxton’s camp wisely passed on what would seem below-market deals, but there have been few rumblings of further conversation since.

I am a staunch believer that the Twins should be paying Byron Buxton. The only reason a player of his caliber is even remotely in their wheelhouse from an expense perspective in the first place is because of his injury history. Whatever valuation is placed on him will account for the reality that he’s been unavailable for significant portions of a season. Once the other 29 teams can bid on his services, or he puts up a 2022 season free of injury, the opportunity to retain him is now out the window.

That’s why this next month could be so imperative for Buxton and the Twins.

Having now been surpassed by Jorge Polanco due to his recent tear, Buxton was Minnesota’s fWAR leader (2.7) for most of the year despite playing in just 27 games this season. He was on pace to remain in the MVP discussion despite otherworldly seasons being had by the Angels Shohei Ohtani and the Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Assuming he returns on Friday night when the Twins host Milwaukee, he’ll have 36 games of runway left to go.

There was a time that Buxton’s bugaboo was not only injury but effectiveness. We’ve long since overcome that hurdle, given Buxton’s .903 OPS over the past three seasons. Combined with the fact that he’s arguably the best defensive centerfielder in baseball, it’s impossible to overstate his overall impact on the diamond. Even if Buxton returns and plays at a slightly muted level, the likelihood that he remains All-Star caliber or better the rest of the way is a good bet.

For Buxton and the Twins, 36 games is a crucial bargaining piece. Knowing his extension would be highly incentive-laden, it would serve the centerfielder well to be completely available until the book closes on this year. Should production stay in the realm of where it was, he may be able to use that as an “I told you so” effort to bump Minnesota’s offer. If the Twins see another injury derail the final stretch, it could be a feather in their cap to suggest the risk they’re taking on is immense.

No matter how the last few games play out, I think this offseason is one of a critical juncture. Allowing Buxton to play out his final season without an extension would be a mistake. Minnesota needs to decide whether they’re going to commit to the uber-talented home-grown talent or move him for a package that helps to supplement the future. Either way, both sides will have one last hoorah in 2021 to point to when they reconvene at the negotiating table.

MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

“…given Buxton’s .903 OPS over the past three seasons…”

I think you meant to say over his last 540 plate appearances.

Sign him for a discount based on the health AND performance risk…or trade him before the season starts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

540 PAs in 3 seasons.  That about says it all.  Or I can let @Vanimal46do the legwork here:

2015: Sprained left thumb, 46 GP

2016: Knee contusion/back spasms, 92 GP 

2017: Groin strain/migraines, 140 GP

2018: Migraines/fractured toe/strained wrist, 28 GP

2019: Wrist contusion/concussion/left shoulder dislocation/labrum surgery, 87 GP

2020: Concussion symptoms, left shoulder injury, sprained left-foot, 39 GP

2021: Hip injury/broken wrist

 

I like how we keep spinning it as a positive that we can afford a guy with this laundry list of missed games.  For the record, I'd offer him an incentivized deal because I'm a gambler, but my god is it hard around here to pierce the delusion that he's just "unlucky" or that magically 30+ year old human bodies get super tough and injury resistant.  You'd think the dude's mutant powers suddenly kick in or something from the way people talk around here.

All for the gamble, but we could do with less spin.  It's dizzying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, TheLeviathan said:

540 PAs in 3 seasons.  That about says it all.  Or I can let @Vanimal46do the legwork here:

2015: Sprained left thumb, 46 GP

2016: Knee contusion/back spasms, 92 GP 

2017: Groin strain/migraines, 140 GP

2018: Migraines/fractured toe/strained wrist, 28 GP

2019: Wrist contusion/concussion/left shoulder dislocation/labrum surgery, 87 GP

2020: Concussion symptoms, left shoulder injury, sprained left-foot, 39 GP

2021: Hip injury/broken wrist

 

I like how we keep spinning it as a positive that we can afford a guy with this laundry list of missed games.  For the record, I'd offer him an incentivized deal because I'm a gambler, but my god is it hard around here to pierce the delusion that he's just "unlucky" or that magically 30+ year old human bodies get super tough and injury resistant.  You'd think the dude's mutant powers suddenly kick in or something from the way people talk around here.

All for the gamble, but we could do with less spin.  It's dizzying.

All of this and I would say he is still the best player on our current roster...which tells you about our roster

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read several times that bother Twins and Buxton (and his agent) agree on the 7 year $70M guarantee part of the contract.  If that is the case, give him all the incentives he wants as long as they include both number of games played and performance goals.  If he plays out of this world in 2022, he's worth $30M a year.  If not, the $10M is not much more than any mediocre free agent center fielder.  I'm more than willing to put the Twins' money where my mouth is, aren't you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have reached a point where I do not care if they resign Buxton.  How much have they paid for how many games?  He has been a liability and if he wants to prove his value with a two year contract where he tries to stay on the diamond I am fine but otherwise move on. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no question in regard to Buxton's talent and the fact that he is a difference maker when on the field and in the lineup. Despite everything that has gone wrong this year, a recent stat from Aaron Gleeman, reported in a different TD article, states the Twins were 42-20 when allowing 5 or fewer runs. Now, Buxton was around for some of those wins, but certainly not a majority of them. And that is a reflection not only about the pitching in 2021, but also a glut of errors early in the year like I've seldom seen. And, of course, there is the Cruz factor that is no longer relevant. 

This is to say the Twins have offensive talent, and have been breaking in a handful of quality young prospects that will only get better. So can the Twins win without Buxton? Yes. But are they a better team, especially with Cruz gone, WITH Byron? Absolutely.

I am going to echo what terrydactyls mentioned, unless I am mis-remembering grossly, the rejection of the 1st couple of offers from Buxton's camp were not about the base $ offered but the structure of the incentives. Unfortunately for debate, we really don't know how those incentives were built. This tells me a basis for a deal still exists.

I believe the Twins need to "gamble" and make this deal work with changes to said structure of incentives in order to actually make it work. I don't expect Buxton to suddenly become an iron man. And there IS risk, hence the incentives. And I'm not going to blame him for a broken hand on a poorly controlled pitch. And with his migraines seemingly under control, with his body built up, with him learning to preserve his body better in the field, there is hope to some degree that he has matured physically and intellectually to see the field more often going forward. The reward portion of risk/reward is just too great to not make a real effort to make this work and take the gamble.

All that being said, there comes a time when the numbers just don't line up and the Twins will have to fold and make a trade decision or decide to run with him for 2022 and get the best/most they can from him. Really, there are only a few teams that could afford a big $ gamble on Buxton.

I really hope it doesn't come down to saying goodbye and they can find a common ground that makes sense.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

Yu'd think the dude's mutant powers suddenly kick in or something from the way people talk around here.

Well, mutants are about to be introduced in the MCU.

And while it goes against every SABR statnerd, computer computation, I have a feeling whatever happens in regards to Buxton will end with the bad outcome. Sign him and he'll forever be hurt, or if they don't sign him he'll leave and stay healthy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, a-wan said:

Well, mutants are about to be introduced in the MCU.

And while it goes against every SABR statnerd, computer computation, I have a feeling whatever happens in regards to Buxton will end with the bad outcome. Sign him and he'll forever be hurt, or if they don't sign him he'll leave and stay healthy.

Spoken like a true Minnesota sports fan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

I've read several times that bother Twins and Buxton (and his agent) agree on the 7 year $70M guarantee part of the contract...

I've read this a number of times. What makes people think the offers the Twins made before the trade deadline are still on the table? The offers were during a pre-deadline push and would have expired long ago even if Buxton hadn't rejected them. The deal didn't get done and Buxton had a month off baseball following those offers to hammer out the disagreements on what is suggested are minor details around here. Not saying it couldn't happen, but the fact it didn't happen suggests a deal isn't particularly close. 

I'm obviously not remotely close to as bullish on Buxton as other fans on this site are, but I do think it is more likely the agreement would get made if Buxton manages to play steady and rakes over the last month (like wRC+ 150 or higher) giving the Twins reason to consider Buxton's ceiling may, in fact, be higher than what he showed across 2019-2020.

I don't think a deal gets done under any other circumstances. Seems to me the Twins wouldn't have a real reason to go out on a limb from what Buxton has already shown over longer periods in 2019-2020, and I don't think Buxton has shown a willingness to take a pillow contract.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I truly think the Twins are stuck - unless Buxton can prove he can play more than 100 games in a season. Him playing 20 some games in September in a lost season won’t do much to sway fans’ opinion about him. I would certainly hope that doesn’t increase his guaranteed money in the current negotiations. It’s truly a shame he’s had so many freak injuries. Some from his own doing running into walls… Some that are out of his control like the last injury. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When Buxton broke his hand, I researched how the Twins have done with and without him since his first game.  Since 2015 6/14 his first game, the Twins are 255-204 (.555) in 459 games he's played.   Without him they are 211-266 (.442) in 477 games.  This is current as of tonight. 

This blew me away...In that 5 year span, we are 50 games better when he plays, and 50 games under we he doesn't.  Insane.  I hope his agent had these numbers, but I am the biggest "lets move on from Buxton" guy there is.

I think that the absense of Buxton, especially defensively destroys this team.  This half and half thing isn't going to work anymore.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, stockdogg said:

When Buxton broke his hand, I researched how the Twins have done with and without him since his first game.  Since 2015 6/14 his first game, the Twins are 255-204 (.555) in 459 games he's played.   Without him they are 211-266 (.442) in 477 games.  This is current as of tonight. 

This blew me away...In that 5 year span, we are 50 games better when he plays, and 50 games under we he doesn't.  Insane.  I hope his agent had these numbers, but I am the biggest "lets move on from Buxton" guy there is.

I think that the absense of Buxton, especially defensively destroys this team.  This half and half thing isn't going to work anymore.  

 

His impact when on the field is unquestionably important.  I do wonder if the Twins' three decade long policy of not having a 4th outfielder who can play CF might be partly to blame too.

In all seriousness....when was the last time we had a CF plan B?  Even pre-Buck?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's time to move on from Buxton.  Too much energy is being wasted on a guy that can't even play in half the games.  I like him and wish he would stay but for reasonable price.  To me it just adds to the argument that the FO may be lost.  There appears to be little direction or sense made of the current roster.  The

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let’s see what he can do in the remaining games this season, then go back and make a fair offer with a nice base and incentives. If a deal can’t be done early in the off season, then get the best trade package you can get for him.  I’d go for pitching knowing our two highest rated prospects can play center field.  Do NOT wait until next year’s deadline or we will not get as much in return IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I'm the Twins ownership/FO I negotiate with Buxton until the new CBA has been finalized and I know next season is happening. If it's clear that we're not going to get a deal done then I look to move him for a package that's better than whatever the QO "reward" is. If it stays the current comp pick situation I need a first round pick type talent plus another prospect. If I don't get that I play out next year with Buxton knowing I finally have someone who can backup CF defensively in Lewis who will get his shot next year at some point. If Buxton stays healthy all year and is an MVP candidate I extend a QO and let him see if he can get the money he thinks he can. If he accepts the QO then I have to decide if I want to play with him on the 1 year deal or move him for prospects. If he's coming off a season of MVP type play in 150 games I'd think you can get a pretty decent return for him during the offseason from a team who wants him for a full season.

Not having a legit CF backup for the last handful of years has been a huge mistake. I think moving forward they're finally in a position to better survive losing Buxton to injury for different stretches with Lewis, and maybe Martin, able to cover CF. Buxton on 7/80 plus incentives with a league minimum player able to step in if he goes down is a nice situation to be in, and I'd be willing to give Buxton year to year incentives (no vesting clauses that would guarantee future money) up to 30-35M based on games played. I think his glove alone is worth 15M a year and even league average offense from him makes him worth 25+.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

 

I like how we keep spinning it as a positive that we can afford a guy with this laundry list of missed games.  For the record, I'd offer him an incentivized deal because I'm a gambler, but my god is it hard around here to pierce the delusion that he's just "unlucky" or that magically 30+ year old human bodies get super tough and injury resistant.  You'd think the dude's mutant powers suddenly kick in or something from the way people talk around here.

All for the gamble, but we could do with less spin.  It's dizzying.

I'm not sure getting hit by a pitch and breaking your hand is reflective of some kind of frailty. Injury history doesn't always suggest future issue. A vast majority of his early injuries were in relation to his play style and positioning, which the Twins have helped to address. He's not going to be paid as a healthy player, and paying him with that built in caveat is something any team should line up for, especially one able to negotiate with no other competition.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

I've read several times that bother Twins and Buxton (and his agent) agree on the 7 year $70M guarantee part of the contract.  If that is the case, give him all the incentives he wants as long as they include both number of games played and performance goals.  If he plays out of this world in 2022, he's worth $30M a year.  If not, the $10M is not much more than any mediocre free agent center fielder.  I'm more than willing to put the Twins' money where my mouth is, aren't you?

Have tweeted this as well. If it's truly the incentives that are a sticking point, the Twins should be willing to pay any amount in that scenario. Incentives are basically a loan for the organization to guarantee production prior to payment. Why would you not sign up for that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

His impact when on the field is unquestionably important.  I do wonder if the Twins' three decade long policy of not having a 4th outfielder who can play CF might be partly to blame too.

In all seriousness....when was the last time we had a CF plan B?  Even pre-Buck?

This is the biggest point in signing him. You can't have Buxton as your starter and roll out Jake Cave or Rob Refsnyder as your fourth. With an outfield that also includes a bad Max Kepler and mediocre defenders in Larnach or Kirilloff, there's no reason not to have a fully capable starting caliber fourth in the mix.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ted Schwerzler said:

I'm not sure getting hit by a pitch and breaking your hand is reflective of some kind of frailty. Injury history doesn't always suggest future issue. A vast majority of his early injuries were in relation to his play style and positioning, which the Twins have helped to address. He's not going to be paid as a healthy player, and paying him with that built in caveat is something any team should line up for, especially one able to negotiate with no other competition.

This is the mass TD delusion I'm referring to.  It's like this board needs a damn intervention.  I would prefer not to repost Van's list but I feel like it's necessary:

2015: Sprained left thumb, 46 GP

2016: Knee contusion/back spasms, 92 GP 

2017: Groin strain/migraines, 140 GP

2018: Migraines/fractured toe/strained wrist, 28 GP

2019: Wrist contusion/concussion/left shoulder dislocation/labrum surgery, 87 GP

2020: Concussion symptoms, left shoulder injury, sprained left-foot, 39 GP

2021: Hip injury/broken wrist

You know what's not a good predictor of health?  See above.  Stop arguing that his most recent injury, while unlucky, is reflective of his situation.  I'd feel BETTER if he had a bunch of consistent injuries to the same part of his body or unlucky breaks.  But he doesn't.  He's basically managed every injury known to man.  He's amassed roughly 3 seasons of PA in 7 SEASONS.  The argument that "we can't predict the future" is misleading because....of course we can't.  What we use to predict is the past and play the odds.  The past has given us clear information: this guy cannot be counted on to be healthy with any reasonable certainty.  If we get lucky and he magically stops this 7 year run of consistent problems?  Great.  But for the love of all that's good in the world....can we stop sticking our heads in the sand?  Or spinning this history as "unlucky".  In his physical prime he's been out 60% of his career.  You know what IS predictive?  Age doesn't help that.

As I said.....gamble away, but let's stop the spin-jobs.  I want to resign him, but I'm going in eyes wide open: he is a massive injury risk and almost certain to miss significant time during that extension.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's my thinking.

First, Buxton is not just the Twins best player, he is a truly elite talent in a sport where you don't have many. For his career, he's averaged over 5 WAR for 162 games.

Second, the Twins can afford him. Fans have been conditioned for years to accept that the Twins are a small payroll team, that they can only afford so much, that paying Mauer hampered their options. It's all BS. The Twins are loaded and have, like all teams, refused to share their books with the player's association. It's insulting that the management has allowed fans to believe that players should give "home town discounts" or blame players for payroll crunches. Even if we believed the FO spin on payroll, the team spent years, decades even, playing under the potential high payroll while they were reloading, rebuilding, etc. They have never spent a similar period of time over their expected payroll. Fans should demand they do.

Third, historically, MLB teams that trade away truly elite talent usually lose those trades. This isn't a Liriano for Escobar trade. This is getting rid of a HOF talented level player in his prime.

So I don't really understand anything other than "sign him and keep him." Sure, he might get injured. Maybe. That's the risk. But it's just money at this point. Money the team has and should be using to put the best product they can on the field.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

His impact when on the field is unquestionably important.  I do wonder if the Twins' three decade long policy of not having a 4th outfielder who can play CF might be partly to blame too.

In all seriousness....when was the last time we had a CF plan B?  Even pre-Buck?

 I totally agree. You almost need a “Buxton Jr.” to kind of offset that loss when he leaves lineup. But the Twins have always handled the CF strangely, in my opinion. Anointing Gomez and Hicks too soon, then trading Hicks when he started to produce. Nothing compares to how they handled Hardy, but I digress. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

540 PAs in 3 seasons.  That about says it all.  Or I can let @Vanimal46do the legwork here:

2015: Sprained left thumb, 46 GP

2016: Knee contusion/back spasms, 92 GP 

2017: Groin strain/migraines, 140 GP

2018: Migraines/fractured toe/strained wrist, 28 GP

2019: Wrist contusion/concussion/left shoulder dislocation/labrum surgery, 87 GP

2020: Concussion symptoms, left shoulder injury, sprained left-foot, 39 GP

2021: Hip injury/broken wrist

 

I like how we keep spinning it as a positive that we can afford a guy with this laundry list of missed games.  For the record, I'd offer him an incentivized deal because I'm a gambler, but my god is it hard around here to pierce the delusion that he's just "unlucky" or that magically 30+ year old human bodies get super tough and injury resistant.  You'd think the dude's mutant powers suddenly kick in or something from the way people talk around here.

All for the gamble, but we could do with less spin.  It's dizzying.

I think it's less about delusion and more about a desire to avoid what trading Buxton truly signals. We can acknowledge he has a problem with availability and at the same time admit that, at least recently, some of the more serious injuries have been of the more unfortunate nature. I don't expect toe fractures on a foul ball, or broken wrists via HBP to be recurring. The soft tissue and shoulder injuries, well, that another story. I'm all for the gamble too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, KirbyDome89 said:

I think it's less about delusion and more about a desire to avoid what trading Buxton truly signals. We can acknowledge he has a problem with availability and at the same time admit that, at least recently, some of the more serious injuries have been of the more unfortunate nature. I don't expect toe fractures on a foul ball, or broken wrists via HBP to be recurring. The soft tissue and shoulder injuries, well, that another story. I'm all for the gamble too.

I totally understand the David Ortizian Dread.  However, framing his injuries as "unlucky" is only honest if you choose to completely ignore the pre-2021 past.  And....well....I don't find that to be a terribly fair way to frame things.  "Conveniently selective" comes to mind.  

You can be for the gamble without selectively re-writing history.  This guy's prime, 25 year old freaky amazing athleticism has not saved him from being utterly brittle.  That is part of the equation.  It's 95% negative for the idea of an extension.  But I'll bet on the combo of that 5% discount in cost and the Hail Mary it might all come together.  As @gunnarthorsaid....they can afford to roll those dice.  But let's not pretend that we're not betting on a longshot here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not understand why people want to pay him astronomical sums of cash.  He's barely on the field. He was having a monster year in 27 games, I'll admit that, but many players can do that in a small sample. Outside of that, he's been a good hitter in that he can maintain an .800 OPS and of course an elite defender when he's on the field...

the problem is that he's never on the field. No team is going to throw that kind of cash on him given he's more likely to spend the season on the DL than he is on the field. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

His impact when on the field is unquestionably important.  I do wonder if the Twins' three decade long policy of not having a 4th outfielder who can play CF might be partly to blame too.

In all seriousness....when was the last time we had a CF plan B?  Even pre-Buck?

Span and Revere, I'd say.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, gunnarthor said:

...For his career, he's averaged over 5 WAR for 162 games...

So long as you pretend Buxton's 2021 isn't massively skewing his career numbers and pretend Fangraphs doesn't exist. Assuming a 150 game played season (which Buxton will never hit)

fWAR vs. bWAR, if Buxton played 150G each season

  • 2019 = 4.7 (wRC+ 111) vs. 5.2 (OPS+ 116)
  • 2020 = 4.6 (wRC+ 118) vs. 8.1 (OPS +126)

Somehow, despite a pretty small jump in OPS+, Buxton's value skyrocketed in 2020 per game played if you use Baseball Reference's bWAR. It doesn't make sense, especially considering Fangraphs' UZR/150 is +15.7 in 2019 and +10.6 in 2020. Both are well within range of his career numbers which were almost always between 10-15.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

Featured Video

×
×
  • Create New...