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Deja Vu - Buxton Extension and Mauer Extension


Vanimal46
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Obviously the top discussion on this website will be extending Buxton. The Twins are once again in a position where they can’t lose the most popular and notable player on the team before he hits free agency in a year. Sound familiar? 

I’m feeling deja vu from 11 years ago when Joe Mauer was 1 year from free agency. He broke out in a way we’ve never seen before, hitting for power and winning an MVP. Buxton this year broke out in a way we’ve never seen before, hitting for power and would have been in the MVP race had he remained healthy. Before the halfway point in Mauer’s 8 year contract, he became a polarizing player for fans. Overpaid, health concerns, reverted back to a singles hitter, etc. Will we feel the same way about Buxton if we do “pay whatever it takes”?

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30 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

Will we feel the same way about Buxton if we do “pay whatever it takes”?

Barring perennial MVP finishes, a certain percentage of the fanbase assuredly will. Twins fans have been conditioned to hate spending, and rather than question the tight pockets of ownership or even how FO(s) allocate available funds, it's easier to blame Player X for whatever holes the team has. There's certainly risk with signing Buxton long term, and a logical argument to be made for not going that route, but IMO the potential reward, and most importantly for me, not having to watch miserable baseball (hopefully) for another 3-4 years is worth that risk. 

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Mauer was also a native Minnesotan and the Twins were just about to move into Target Field, which the public had been convinced to subsidize, in large part, because the Twins claimed they needed the additional revenues to keep their own players.  Those two aspects are not in play when it comes to Buxton.

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Well, at least we're not comparing Buxton to Trout today, we're only comparing Buxton to argualy the best player in baseball at the time he was extended (Mauer) instead of potentially the best player in history (Trout).

I can see big similarities, except not really...

Mauer was already recognized as one of the best players in all of MLB and on a Hall of Fame career path before 2009's breakout. He'd already won two consecutive batting titles, was a 2-time All Star, finishing in the top 6 in MVP voting twice. Mauer was the de-facto face of the franchise and the most popular and valuable marketing tool the Twins ever had.

Buxton won Twins fan site awards and a Gold Glove at a lesser position in the one year he qualified, and he just had a really great 61 game season, so at least that's something. 

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5 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

Well, at least we're not comparing Buxton to Trout today, we're only comparing Buxton to argualy the best player in baseball at the time he was extended (Mauer) instead of potentially the best player in history (Trout).

I can see big similarities, except not really...

Mauer was already recognized as one of the best players in all of MLB and on a Hall of Fame career path before 2009's breakout. He'd already won two consecutive batting titles, was a 2-time All Star, finishing in the top 6 in MVP voting twice. Mauer was the de-facto face of the franchise and the most popular and valuable marketing tool the Twins ever had.

Buxton won Twins fan site awards and a Gold Glove at a lesser position in the one year he qualified, and he just had a really great 61 game season, so at least that's something. 

Mauer certainly had more accolades and awards than Buxton at this stage in their careers. Buxton is the most popular and valuable marketing tool the Twins have today*. I do find it ironic that the organization is almost in the same spot with the 2 players. They have to take the risk of signing Buxton and hope it works out long term. Otherwise they’ll see the same back lash from fans as they would have 11 years ago if they let Mauer test free agency. 
 

*After Jose Berrios was traded

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While I agree Buxton is popular on Twins Daily, I don't think he's that popular with regular fans. A quick stop at The MLB Shop reveals something truly depressing. Popular "Top Seller" Twins jerseys in order of the names appearance as you scroll down on the showcased merchandise include the names:

  • Puckett
  • Carew
  • Polanco
  • Ortiz (#27 not joking)
  • Kepler
  • Killebrew
  • Sano

I'd wager most fans really don't care much about Buxton. He's always hurt and he acquired the name Byron Buston before his breakout at the plate. Regular fans are fickle like that and what has Buxton really, truly accomplished from an average fan perspective? Nothing worth noting. He's just a guy who plays a few games in between injuries and has never even made an All Star game.

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16 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

While I agree Buxton is popular on Twins Daily, I don't think he's that popular with regular fans. A quick stop at The MLB Shop reveals something truly depressing. Popular "Top Seller" Twins jerseys in order of the names appearance as you scroll down on the showcased merchandise include the names:

  • Puckett
  • Carew
  • Polanco
  • Ortiz (#27 not joking)
  • Kepler
  • Killebrew
  • Sano

I'd wager most fans really don't care much about Buxton. He's always hurt and he acquired the name Byron Buston before his breakout at the plate. Regular fans are fickle like that and what has Buxton really, truly accomplished from an average fan perspective? Nothing worth noting. He's just a guy who plays a few games in between injuries and has never even made an All Star game.

Oh no, where's Tony Oliva. He looked really good wearing #6 and the sweetest line drives ever.

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I'll accept the very real possibility that Buxton could flame out; but I'd still extend him.

This team really has no other internal players who are even close to ready for a long-term big money extension, even if Buxton busts, it just seems there is so little risk to the actual long-term team building.

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Not to try to bring up old Mauer complaints, but his biggest issue later in his career was that he refused to change his approach at the plate and his swing despite the league-wide adjustment with defensive shifts, launch angles and strikeouts.

Buxton has already changed his swing and his approach three or four times, so it seems fairly likely he's more than willing and able to adapt to whatever the league evolves into down the road.

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The average fan doesn't really know Buxton is the best player on the team, because he hasn't been, because he only plays in 25% of the games. The average MN sports fan knew Mauer was on a HOF track before he signed the extension. Mauer had already won 3 batting titles, one MVP and like 5 silver sluggers before the extension. Buxton has received low level MVP votes one full season and has never even been an all star. No comparison here. 

Then, the average fan complained when the team was terrible around Mauer in his 30's. That wasn't Mauer's fault. Buxton on a 120+ million dollar deal could really hurt the franchise if Buxton continues to play in 60 games a year...

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5 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Popular "Top Seller" Twins jerseys in order of the names appearance as you scroll down on the showcased merchandise include the names:

  • Puckett
  • Carew
  • Polanco
  • Ortiz (#27 not joking)
  • Kepler
  • Killebrew
  • Sano

Only a coward buys the jersey of a retired (or dead) player!

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3 hours ago, Unwinder said:

Only a coward buys the jersey of a retired (or dead) player!

Apparently, you're in a small minority on that one since 3/4 top selling Twins jerseys on MLB are for just that. I buy custom jerseys. I will never be traded... not even for a snickers bar. Guess Jose Canseco and I are the same that way.

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On 10/19/2021 at 3:16 PM, Vanimal46 said:

Mauer certainly had more accolades and awards than Buxton at this stage in their careers. Buxton is the most popular and valuable marketing tool the Twins have today*. I do find it ironic that the organization is almost in the same spot with the 2 players. They have to take the risk of signing Buxton and hope it works out long term. Otherwise they’ll see the same back lash from fans as they would have 11 years ago if they let Mauer test free agency. 
 

*After Jose Berrios was traded

I'd argue a player that plays 5-7 days a week has more marketing value than one that plays 1/5 games. Just math and the odds of seeing a player play.

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I don't see that the Twins have much of a choice but to re-sign him. He is willing to take an incentive laden deal (at least he was last summer) and according to reports both sides agreed on the base salary. If you're going to hang up a deal with a guy that has the potential to be a rare type of talent over the incentive package that would be like cutting off you're nose to spite you're face. What, are you worried that the guy guy will perform so well he meets the goals? Isn't that what you want? 

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1 hour ago, Karbo said:

I don't see that the Twins have much of a choice but to re-sign him. He is willing to take an incentive laden deal (at least he was last summer) and according to reports both sides agreed on the base salary. If you're going to hang up a deal with a guy that has the potential to be a rare type of talent over the incentive package that would be like cutting off you're nose to spite you're face. What, are you worried that the guy guy will perform so well he meets the goals? Isn't that what you want? 

I don't see the legitimate potential he's better than a OPS+/wRC+ 125ish hitter. Even if he played a full season, which he never will, I expect Buxton would wind up at 5-6 WAR.

This past season, Buxton started off with 2.7 fWAR in about 20 games. Then he actually lost WAR and was down to 2.2 fWAR by the last week of September before exploding over 10 games or so to jump back up to 4.2 fWAR.

Once all Buxton's adjustments get scouted, pitchers will also adjust and they'll take advantage of Buxton's weak hit tool and poor plate discipline. Essentially, he's not going to get meatballs to send over the fence.

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I was also thinking of the similarities between the Mauer and Buxton situations and wondering if anyone else was doing the same. Thanks, Vanimal, for starting the conversation. 

The similarity in the two cases is the fan clamoring to Pay The Man, but I do see a couple places where I don’t think the comparison is quite the same. 

Mauer’s contract ended up at $23M, which is somewhat higher than what the guarantee seems to be with Buxton. And there’s inflation to consider. If Mauer was at $23M at a time when the team total is $115M, that’s 20 percent of the total. If Buxton’s guarantee is $14M at a time the team total is $140M, that’s only 10 percent of the total. There’s a lot more salary room to put a team around Buxton than there was around Mauer. 

Mauer was for eight years. If Buxton ends up at five years, that’s significantly different. Said another way, I don’t think people would have been hung up on Mauer’s contract if it was only the first five years. His first three years were primarily as a catcher before moving to first, The response would likely have been more like, “It was a good contract for three years — bummer we had the extra two years. Instead there was five years of hand wringing. 

The positions are different. It was huge that Mauer was a catcher, but there had to be a sense that it was unlikely he would make it eight years as a catcher, even if he doesn’t have the concussion. His offensive skills didn’t translate to what people expect at first, and he had to learn a new position (which he did, quite well). By contrast, if Buxton loses a few steps and can’t play center (hard to imagine), he would have a seamless switch defensively to one of the corner OF positions and he’d still be a productive corner OF offensively. 

So yeah, similar to the Mauer, but a whole lot different as well. If there was agreement on 5/$70M, but differences on the incentives, keep using that as the starting point and give him what he wants in incentives. If he plays 140 games, he’ll be worth the $23M and more. 

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I think that if the Twins sign Buxton to an extension and he stays healthy for a year the sale of Buxton jerseys would blow up.  I think Buxton is just too exciting of a player to let go to another team.  We need Buxton and the Twins need Buxton to give us a reason to keep watching the Twins until all of our young talent comes of age. 

  

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20 minutes ago, Datwinsdude said:

I think that if the Twins sign Buxton to an extension and he stays healthy for a year the sale of Buxton jerseys would blow up.  I think Buxton is just too exciting of a player to let go to another team.  We need Buxton and the Twins need Buxton to give us a reason to keep watching the Twins until all of our young talent comes of age. 

Welcome to Twins Daily!

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On 10/20/2021 at 11:07 AM, bean5302 said:

While I agree Buxton is popular on Twins Daily, I don't think he's that popular with regular fans. A quick stop at The MLB Shop reveals something truly depressing. Popular "Top Seller" Twins jerseys in order of the names appearance as you scroll down on the showcased merchandise include the names:

  • Puckett
  • Carew
  • Polanco
  • Ortiz (#27 not joking)
  • Kepler
  • Killebrew
  • Sano

I like the idea of looking at merchandise sales to gauge popularity, but there are a few major issues with this attempt:

1. I think it's only showing jerseys that are in stock (or made-to-order custom jerseys). So if something was truly popular and currently sold out, it wouldn't appear in the top seller list.

2. Following that, there actually isn't a Buxton jersey (non-"collectable") listed at all in the MLB shop right. So maybe whatever Buxton jersey stock they had is already sold out? Also we don't know the supply side of the equation -- maybe they need to produce more Buxton jerseys to meet demand? Maybe they produced too many for Polanco etc. prior to the pandemic?

3. Looking for Buxton apparel under all categories yields very little, which seems to support the idea that common Buxton apparel might be selling well and out of stock. There are a few very expensive autographed jerseys under "collectables", a best seller under kid's t-shirts, and then this thing:

image.png.12a075d34eeedb09da0a928aa4d16bed.png

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I don't even think jersey sales are "great" let alone perfect haha. But it's something. Besides, if Buxton jerseys were super popular, they'd just make more. They've sold a lot fewer Buxton jerseys than a lot of other players this year so supply of material shouldn't be a limiting factor... and MLB's insatiable hunger for the almighty dollar isn't in question, either.

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Hey everyone!  Long time follower and first time poster!

Here is my probably unpopular opinion of Buxton.  I think we need to trade him or spend that money it would take to sign him on pitching.  I just don't see us winning a World Series in the next 4-5 years with him.  IMO a team has a better chance of winning the WS by spending the money that would go to Buxton on pitching versus signing him.  With the young arms we acquired in trades this year and IF (big if) they live up to that potential, I could see us contending again in a few years.  We have quality young arms and quality young bats in the minors on the cusp of making an impact.  Spend the money that would be allocated to Buxton on young pitching or trade for a blue chip prospect and I think we could be dangerous in a few years.  I hate the comparison of Buxton to Trout but what have the Angels done with the best player in history potentially?  Nothing, because they haven't had the pitching.

My whole argument is based in the fact that we will never win the WS via free agency.  We will win it by our young prospects living up to their potential and having a couple awesome years before they hit free agency and bolt.  Like the Royals in 2015.  Buxton is fantastic.  He is an otherworldly talent.  But a small market team like us can't have so many eggs in one basket.  Especially one who is injured often.  Feel free to rip me!

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1 hour ago, SoDakTwin said:

Hey everyone!  Long time follower and first time poster!

Here is my probably unpopular opinion of Buxton.  I think we need to trade him or spend that money it would take to sign him on pitching.  I just don't see us winning a World Series in the next 4-5 years with him.  IMO a team has a better chance of winning the WS by spending the money that would go to Buxton on pitching versus signing him.  With the young arms we acquired in trades this year and IF (big if) they live up to that potential, I could see us contending again in a few years.  We have quality young arms and quality young bats in the minors on the cusp of making an impact.  Spend the money that would be allocated to Buxton on young pitching or trade for a blue chip prospect and I think we could be dangerous in a few years.  I hate the comparison of Buxton to Trout but what have the Angels done with the best player in history potentially?  Nothing, because they haven't had the pitching.

My whole argument is based in the fact that we will never win the WS via free agency.  We will win it by our young prospects living up to their potential and having a couple awesome years before they hit free agency and bolt.  Like the Royals in 2015.  Buxton is fantastic.  He is an otherworldly talent.  But a small market team like us can't have so many eggs in one basket.  Especially one who is injured often.  Feel free to rip me!

Welcome to the board!

I see your point but remember, the Twins are NOT a small market team. We need to erase that idea from our collective heads. They’re a mid-market team, possibly a little toward the bottom end of mid.

The Twins afforded Donaldson just fine. His contract could be moved, at least in part, this off-season. But even if it’s not moved, it’s gone in two seasons. Given the number of cost-controlled players they have, (eg. Polanco) the Twins, should they choose to take the route of signing Buxton AND a good pitcher, could easily do so. 

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23 hours ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

I like the idea of looking at merchandise sales to gauge popularity, but there are a few major issues with this attempt:

1. I think it's only showing jerseys that are in stock (or made-to-order custom jerseys). So if something was truly popular and currently sold out, it wouldn't appear in the top seller list.

2. Following that, there actually isn't a Buxton jersey (non-"collectable") listed at all in the MLB shop right. So maybe whatever Buxton jersey stock they had is already sold out? Also we don't know the supply side of the equation -- maybe they need to produce more Buxton jerseys to meet demand? Maybe they produced too many for Polanco etc. prior to the pandemic?

3. Looking for Buxton apparel under all categories yields very little, which seems to support the idea that common Buxton apparel might be selling well and out of stock. There are a few very expensive autographed jerseys under "collectables", a best seller under kid's t-shirts, and then this thing:

image.png.12a075d34eeedb09da0a928aa4d16bed.png

Don’t forget COVID Supply Chain crisis. Ports are backed up, labor is in short supply. Everything you want is in back order, but things you don’t want? Stacked to the rafters

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On 10/19/2021 at 1:23 PM, Vanimal46 said:

Obviously the top discussion on this website will be extending Buxton. The Twins are once again in a position where they can’t lose the most popular and notable player on the team before he hits free agency in a year. Sound familiar? 

I’m feeling deja vu from 11 years ago when Joe Mauer was 1 year from free agency. He broke out in a way we’ve never seen before, hitting for power and winning an MVP. Buxton this year broke out in a way we’ve never seen before, hitting for power and would have been in the MVP race had he remained healthy. Before the halfway point in Mauer’s 8 year contract, he became a polarizing player for fans. Overpaid, health concerns, reverted back to a singles hitter, etc. Will we feel the same way about Buxton if we do “pay whatever it takes”?

Yes.   Mauer was overpaid and underproduced for what he was paid.  You can blame that on GM Smith.  His behavior didn't help.  Didn't even bother to show up when they made 4 yes, 4 different bobbleheads to him during one season after he retired. 

Maybe the current management has better brains.  But I'm not sure.  The first thing they did when they rode into town was to trade Ryan Pressly during a pennant race!!.  How crazy that was. 

They better have a grip.  Keep Buxton with an honest offer!!  Don't give him up just because the you think the market is too high!!

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