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The Twins Could Pay Byron Buxton, Again


Ted Schwerzler
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This offseason the Minnesota Twins paid Byron Buxton $100 million for a seven-year extension. With free agency looming, they decided to lock up their ultra-talented centerfielder. Despite his injury tendencies, I argued there was never a time where retaining his services wouldn’t have been a good idea. That’s bearing fruit immediately.

 

When Minnesota was pondering whether they should offer Byron Buxton a contract or not, it was likely always a discussion of how much and not should we or should we not. On the open market, if he’d been a pillar of health, someone with Buxton’s talent would’ve seen a payday well over $300 million. The caveat is that he is not often healthy, and that’s where opportunity swung towards the Twins.

For a franchise that’s been synonymous with small spending at times, or criticized for allowing their stars to walk, Buxton was only within the realm of possibility because of his injuries. Negotiating solely with the team he knows rather than testing the open market was, in part, because of the worry that injury may play a factor before the discussions got started.

There was no point in which an incentive-laden contract would hurt Minnesota’s future spending capabilities, and something as paltry as $14 million annually was bound to be surpassed in short order. Well, welcome to short order.

Minnesota is just 67 games into their 2022 season, of which Buxton has played just 49 games. He has an .897 OPS and has already equaled his career-high in homers. He remains a defensive superstar, even while moonlighting as a designated hitter, and is already valued having been worth 2.3 fWAR for the Twins. Fangraphs puts a valuation on WAR and has Buxton at $18.5 million. He’s twice been worth more than $33 million in a season, and even with the decreased workload, it’s conceivable he’ll surpass that value this season.

As Buxton's playing time continues to be managed by the Twins, the expectation is that he’ll wind up playing something near 110 games. Although you’d certainly like to see him in the lineup more often than that, a significant contribution is still felt and he could be fresher for the games that matter in the postseason.

The incentives Buxton has included in his contract will always push him to get more from himself. They are largely award-based, and votes for an MVP award will likely be hard to come by if he’s not on the field a more significant amount of time. That said, it’s clear that there’s no letdown from the days off, and each time he’s out there he’s making the most of it.

In a way, this season is largely reflective of the contract Minnesota gave their superstar. Buxton didn’t land the exorbitant payday because of availability, but he was still rewarded handsomely, and in turn, does so for the Twins each time he’s on the field. There was very little way for the deal to go pear-shaped, and we could be talking about a guy that’s nearly doubling up the value of his paycheck with a few years left on it.

 


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I think this article shows the brilliance in the creativity involved to get a deal like this done.  And that goes for both parties.  Buxton is a unique situation where he's a superb talent, but also one that has missed significant time.  Buxton has always bet on himself, and this contract is another example of that.  Kudos for both sides seeing the reality of the situation and getting this done and hopefully it continues to reap benefits for both as well.

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2 hours ago, RpR said:

He has said he has a strong dislike for DH and his batting (Ks last night for example) shows how not playing field affects him.

He's also said that he's fine with how they're managing his playing time due to the knee issue, acknowledging that it's keeping him on the field and off the IL.  And that's likely because he likes the IL even less.

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13 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

He's also said that he's fine with how they're managing his playing time due to the knee issue, acknowledging that it's keeping him on the field and off the IL.  And that's likely because he likes the IL even less.

Just my opinion, but he should go on the IL and get it fixed: I spent twenty years with a knee of decreasing useful ness; finally went to a doctor.

After first visit it was better than it had been in near twenty years; now problem is gone, get it fixed.

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5 minutes ago, RpR said:

Just my opinion, but he should go on the IL and get it fixed: I spent twenty years with a knee of decreasing useful ness; finally went to a doctor.

After first visit it was better than it had been in near twenty years; now problem is gone, get it fixed.

And that's fair.  Probably too late for that at this point unless is gets worse though.  He clearly wants to stay on the field and that's why he is fine with how they're approaching it.  Tendonitis isn't a quick thing to get rid of.  Especially in the knee.  In my experience with that, rest and pain tolerance is about the only thing that can be done.

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Even better, the Twins could move Byron Buxton to the 60 day IL permanently so TwinsDaily fans can go back to speculating how Buxton would be OPS'ing 5.000 if only he were healthy!

Every time Buxton has a cold week, it's because his knee isn't right yet and the calls for the IL come out. Then, inevitably, Buxton goes on a huge tear like when he hit 6 HRs in 6 games after the last calls for his trip to the IL and suddenly, all is right with the world.

It appears a cold week has happened again so Buxton's <insert injury here> isn't 100% and you can tell so he should just go to the 10-day IL and get it fixed.

 

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2 hours ago, RpR said:

Just my opinion, but he should go on the IL and get it fixed: I spent twenty years with a knee of decreasing useful ness; finally went to a doctor.

After first visit it was better than it had been in near twenty years; now problem is gone, get it fixed.

If only Buxton and the team had access to a doctor who could take a look, as was done for you.  He could probably get similar results.

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Oh please let's get over Buxton.  I agree that when he was mashing home runs nothing was mentioned about his knee.  Also when he strikes out 3 times in one game and doesn't come close to hitting anything, his knee is hurting.  How convenient.  Buxton is hurt again.  He will continue to get hurt the rest of his career.  He's great at times.  Sometimes super.  But he is basically a well paid part time player that you can't count on day to day.

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