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  • Buxton and Berrios Extensions Becoming Murky


    Cody Christie

    Minnesota has team control of Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios for the next 15 months. With free agency looming, contract extensions become a murky proposition.

    Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    Many assumed the Twins may consider dealing Byron Buxton and/or Jose Berrios before the upcoming trade deadline. The team is out of contention and there are no guarantees the team will be able to put the pieces back in place for next year. However, reports serviced over the weekend that the team is not necessarily inclined to trade players under team control for 2022.

     

    Minnesota was supposed vying for a third consecutive AL Central title this year, so the front office may be thinking that it will be easy to retool this winter. Maybe 2021 is just a hiccup and Minnesota will be battling Chicago at the top of the division next season. Buxton and Berrios certainly make the Twins better for 2022, but there are no guarantees either will be back for 2023.

    Between the two players, the Twins may have a better shot at signing Buxton to a long-term extension. Ken Rosenthal reported the Twins latest offer is more than the $70 million deal Aaron Hicks signed with the Yankees back in 2019. It also would include escalators and incentives to add to the contract’s overall value.

    Any Buxton extension comes with risk. This is a player that clearly can play at an MVP level, but questions about his health have followed him throughout his professional career. According to Rosenthal’s report, the Twins will try and trade Buxton, who is currently on the IL, if he turns down their current offer. That trade could happen before the deadline or this offseason.

    An extension for Jose Berrios might be out of the question at this point. Berrios made it clear to the Star Tribune that he is looking for a big pay day and his team wans to “see what the best deal is going to be.” Minnesota would likely need to wow him with an offer at this point to get an extension signed.

    Darren Wolfson reported in his most recent podcast that the Twins will need to go higher than $20 million per season to keep Berrios. He has been one of the most durable pitchers during his big-league career as he ranks 10th in innings pitched and 12th in starts since 2017. He’s also 27-years old, which is when many pitchers enter their prime.

    It seems unlikely for the Twins to win a bidding war for Jose Berrios if he and his management team want to go to free agency. This is a player that went through the arbitration hearing process back in 2020 because he was aware of the business side of the game. Now he wants a big pay day so other pitchers of his caliber can make more money in the future.

    Which player to do feel is most likely to be in a Twins uniform beyond 2022? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    Buxton, at this point. I think there's a real chance they get the extension done, which locks him in. Berrios will not do an extension unless the Twins offer him better than Zack Wheeler money...and I'm not sure they want to do that?

    Because that's what it's going to take to extend Berrios: 5/$130M is probably the starting point for his camp for an extension. What he gets on the open market is a little less clear, but the range is probably $100-150M based on his age, production, and health. And he seems interested in testing that market and maximizing his money, which is absolutely his right. I don't think they Twins are going to be ruled out in FA, but at the same time, they're unlikely to get any kind of "hometown discount". He doesn't seem to be worried about potential injury, and based on his track record, it's hard to blame him. So that makes extending him challenging, because the exchange there is always a little less money for a little more security.

    I think it's increasingly likely that Berrios is traded in the off-season and they try to get his replacement in the deal. If there isn't a deal they like, they'll bring him back for his last season and take the comp pick if he signs elsewhere...which feels likely in that the Twins won't want to overpay on him and someone else is more likely to convince themselves that they can improve him a bit more and make him worth $25-30M AAV. (This will be more palatable if a Winder/Duran/Balazovic has established themselves as a legit MLB starter...)

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    10 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

    Buxton, at this point. I think there's a real chance they get the extension done, which locks him in. Berrios will not do an extension unless the Twins offer him better than Zack Wheeler money...and I'm not sure they want to do that?

    Because that's what it's going to take to extend Berrios: 5/$130M is probably the starting point for his camp for an extension. What he gets on the open market is a little less clear, but the range is probably $100-150M based on his age, production, and health. And he seems interested in testing that market and maximizing his money, which is absolutely his right. I don't think they Twins are going to be ruled out in FA, but at the same time, they're unlikely to get any kind of "hometown discount". He doesn't seem to be worried about potential injury, and based on his track record, it's hard to blame him. So that makes extending him challenging, because the exchange there is always a little less money for a little more security.

    I think it's increasingly likely that Berrios is traded in the off-season and they try to get his replacement in the deal. If there isn't a deal they like, they'll bring him back for his last season and take the comp pick if he signs elsewhere...which feels likely in that the Twins won't want to overpay on him and someone else is more likely to convince themselves that they can improve him a bit more and make him worth $25-30M AAV. (This will be more palatable if a Winder/Duran/Balazovic has established themselves as a legit MLB starter...)

    Assuming the comp pick remains in the new CBA, this is no slam duck given the owners have to give up something and this may be easier than some other options.

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    I certainly could see both traded.  I would bet Berrios at the deadline to a team like the Dodgers or Padres and Buxton this winter once he plays as this season winds down and he builds back some value.  Baseball Trade Values has Max Kepler worth 30.4 points and Buxton at only 25.3.  To me, that means trade Kepler to the Yankees NOW (they are desperate for OF'ers & LH hitters, Kepler is both), Here's how the trade would look:

    Yanks get:  Kepler  30.4  Bechtold .70   Pineda -.7   Smeltzer 2.8     33.20

    Twins get:  Devi Garcia RHP  14.8  Vargas SS 14.50   Clint Frazier 1.8    M. Andujar 1.7    32.80

    Yankees get a LH power bat and OF'er they desperately need as well as Pineda in the rotation and Smeltzer for depth.

    Twins get a young SP and the Yanks 3rd best SS prospect as well as two young but to this point disappointing players in Andujar and Frazier.  Frazier replaces Kepler and Andujar is a 3B, LF and maybe 1B type who could be insurance if Donaldson and or Sano are moved.  

    I trade Berrios before the deadline to the Dodgers or Padres---whoever ponies up the best package.

    I trade Buxton this winter when his value is rebuilt.

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    To me what makes things even murkier that is not being talked about is the expected work stoppage.  I have overall been saying they can be traded in off-season, but depending on how long the work stoppage will be, unless that trade also has a contract extension with it, teams will be less likely to trade a player when there may not even be a season or not knowing how things will be happening after.  

    The work stoppage has not been talked about much lately, but I 100% expect it to happen, it just how long it will be and how much it will affect a season.  I know you normally do not look at future based on things like that, but it should be taken into consideration when deciding a deal at deadline or off-season. 

    Yes, they could hold onto them and trade mid-season, assuming there is a mid-season, but their talent is too high to just let them walk for nothing, and if we have a bounce back season next year, they most likely would be helping do that if they started with team, and then we would be less likely to deal them away, not like Cleveland has not done that though.   

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    I remain hopeful they will get both extended between now and next year's spring training.  Want this duo to remain Twins more so than any other two players on their roster.  

    As for specific deals, none of us have a clue what that would look like should it happen.  That's why I will sit back, come here several times a day looking for news for the next ten days.

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    The time to trade Berrios is now. He has much more value to a contending team than he has to the Twins the remainder of 2021. The potential for two playoffs with him than one adds value. In the off season there will be a supply of free agent pitchers lessening the demand. If he gets a significant injury in the last two months his value will crater. 

    Pay up big and sign him or trade him. Do it this month,

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    LEN3 isn't always right, so I hope we don't take those tweets as gospel.

    The future for Berrios and Buxton has always been murky, at least when it comes to keeping them in a Twins uniform.  The best way to keep them was probably to field a team that could dominate the division and win in the playoffs.  This year's shellacking probably closed the book.

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    We’ve all known it since the rumblings years ago about extensions not being done with Berrios. This guy is betting big on himself and that’s fine. This guy needs to be traded and we need to get some legit prospects for him. His value will never be higher than in the next week. Let’s stop thinking he’s staying and let’s take the haul and hope we hit on 50% of the prospects we get back

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    The comment that Berrios is wanting a big pay day so future players in his position can make more is laughable.  Let's get real.  He like all pro athletes are concerned about themselves only.  Most are selfish, arrogant, and totally out of touch with reality.  In regards to the CBA:. If there is a work stoppage, I for one hope they never come back.  They will come back of course but with everything the general public has gone through the past couple of years, and with attendance and tv ratings so poor, don't they realize that most Americans don't care if they play or not?

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    Berrios was always going to be a tough sign as he always wanted to wait for free agency.  If the Twins were ever going to get him to sign an extension they needed to do it when the Yankees signed Severino.  The Twins were too chicken to do deals like that.  When they couldn't extend him last year I knew for sure they had no chance.

    Well at least the FO knows where they stand, Hopefully they make a good decision and come out of this OK.  The odds are against them though.  If they trade at the deadline and the players don't work out it will be a big black mark if they only get him for 2022 and that year is bad too then they look even worse possibly negligent or incompetent. They are in a tough spot but they had to see this coming. 

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    For Berrios does it come down to one simple question... Are you in or are you out?  Simple in words but not so simple to execute.  If the Twins believe they are in to compete for division next year and he is the cornerstone, can't call him an Ace because I don't think he is one. Then Twins have to make him an offer that would be in the $20MM - $25MM a year.  If he is considered at age 27 the start to his prime years, then let's do a 3 year deal for $75 with option for year 4.  That gets him to his age 30-31 year and let's see how we can close out the remainder of his career in Twins uniform at that time.  If he balks at such a deal, then move him.  Free agency is a tricky one where a player has to bet and bank on himself and for himself.  Twins on the other hand have to show Berrios that they are in for the next year by not blowing up the team if they want him to stay.  That could mean get the Buxton deal done now to show Berrios we are moving forward and not blowing it all up.  If Berrios truly believes he is the Ace, the Man on the Hill then stroke his ego and name him the #1 for next year if he has signed a deal.  Give him strong incentives to boost his pay annually and his year 4 salary would be based on his base plus escalators.  For example: Cy Young, Playoff MVP, WS etc.  He gets for example $1MM for MVP, $3MM for Cy Young and $5MM for WS title during those 3 years, then his year 4 kicker would be $25MM + the award money becomes his base salary.  Pipe dream sure, but nice to wish for nice things

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    I don't see the Twins paying Berrios what he believes he should receive.  For what it's worth I think he wants out and a fresh start with a new team.  Given Bucks injury history if the Twins offer him a 'fair deal' as viewed by both the Twins and the Buxton camp I would get that deal done.  It would likely involve some arbitration type negotiating but I could see that deal getting done.  He is certainly a fan favorite.  We all know the injury history.  If I am the Twins I would be willing to take that risk.  If he happens to shake that bug and start playing a 140 games a year elsewhere that would be painful to watch.  

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    If fairness to Jose, players are under tremendous pressure from their own union to maximize their contracts. A single negotiation can set a bar for what others get. Ballplayers develop a brotherhood and they think, rightfully, what they do directly impacts others. Sure they want the money. We all would. But there are other considerations too. Also, I find the "home-town discount" concept to be laughable. It's the Loch Ness monster of pro sports: often discussed and never seen. Jose has been the consummate pro. He works hard, takes the ball every fifth day and gives you what he has. However it turns out; wish him well. That's the one thing here that costs nuthin'. 

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    I like TB philosophy. Trade overvalued players but I wouldn't trade for a bunch of prospects, that would be counter productive. In our case it should be a one to one trade. None of these players mentioned are overvalued, it would have to a sweet heart deal. If they get one for Berrios, I can see it happen

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     I think it's important to evaluate what contracts look like these days.

    "Ace" is a term I think most people feel should be used with elite pitchers in terms of single game value. Pitchers who routinely show ERAs in the 2s or very low 3s, "Aces" are in the 5+ years and $30MM+ AAV. For a young "ace" contract these days consider a few of these.

    2013 = Felix Hernandez 7 years $175MM (AAV 25MM)

    2013 = Justin Verlander 7-8 years $180MM-202MM (AAV 25-26MM)

    2013 = Clayton Kershaw 7 years $210MM (AAV 30MM)

    2014 = Jon Lester 6-7 years $155MM-170MM (AAV 24-26MM)

    2015 = Zack Greincke 6 years $206MM (AAV 34MM)

    2015 = Max Scherzer 7 years $210MM (AAV 30MM)

    2018 = Yu Darvish 6 years $126MM (AAV 21MM)

    2019 = DeGrom 5 years $138MM (AAV 28MM)

    2020 = Stephen Strasburg 7 years $245MM (AAV 35MM)

    2020 = Gerrit Cole 9 years $324MM (AAV 36MM)

    5 years $125MM is nowhere near typical "ace" money. Then again, we really don't have a good idea what Berrios is asking in the first place, and we also have no clue what the Twins have been countering with. 

    Berrios will probably bring 5 years and $125MM on the open market as a free agent. Signing now, before he becomes a free agent, transfers a fair bit of risk to the Twins and the expectation is extensions generally come with a bit of a discount built in for that reason. I'd think 5 years $115MM or 6 years $130MM would be reasonable. Anything over 5 years and $125MM feels foolhardy. 

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    This has been debated before, but between Buxton and Berrios I don't think there's any question the priority should be signing Buxton. He's a game changer, Berrios just isn't. 

     

    Plus Buxton's injury history makes signing him much more realistic. 

    Berrios ain't signing. Make the best trade you can and be done with it. Get Buxton under contract. 

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    What sort of "money" does Berrios want to resign?

    I suspect he wants "Quality #1 Starter on a contender" money. 

    IMO, he's never pitched at that level. 

    • Sure, he's been our best starter this year . . . but that's not saying much, 
    • His career ERA is over 4.
    • He has yet to post a season ERA under 3.5
    • He doesn't even average 6 innings per start.

    There have been too many starts like last night:  Good at the beginning, and then everything goes off the rails at once.

    Berrios strikes me as a #2 on a "decent contender" staff which lacks depth.

    And if I was serious about winning, I'd want to assemble a staff where he was a #3.

    Again, I suspect he thinks of himself much more highly than that, which inevitably leads to "No deal being done."

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    The pain with Berrios is that any team that trades for him will be in the same boat as the Twins, have to pony up an undecided dollar figure to resign the guy. Things like that can better happen in the off-season where a team can weigh-in with an agent the probability of what the player wants. Otherwise, Berrios is just a rental.

     

    The joy of trading either is that if the team they are traded to can't resign them, you can also enter the bidding war.

     

     

    Same with Buxton. He can play out his contract, hope for a suepr 2021, and the sky is the limit.

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    The time to deal Berrios is now. It's a tough pill to swallow, of course.  However, I suspect that the notion of a team potentially acquiring Berrios for 2 playoff runs - this year as well as next year - holds more of an attraction for an acquiring team than waiting for a murky offseason.  Sounds like he doesn't automatically want to sign an extension here, and there remains uncertainty of a work stoppage next year. Berrios is arguably their most valuable mlb-level trade chip, so eventually being forced to receive less than full value could really set the organization back. Falvine has to be trying to get what they can for Berrios. Now. 

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    4 hours ago, Dodecahedron said:

    LEN3 isn't always right, so I hope we don't take those tweets as gospel.

    The future for Berrios and Buxton has always been murky, at least when it comes to keeping them in a Twins uniform.  The best way to keep them was probably to field a team that could dominate the division and win in the playoffs.  This year's shellacking probably closed the book.

    That may be true, but with how many times we’ve heard “the Twins are trying to extend Berrios” over the years, I can easily believe that “they are frustrated trying to extend him”. The “he’s not signing here” bit is his opinion, and is a logical conclusion, but is not a fact.

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    No need to sign an inconsistent pitcher that, presumably, wants more than he's worth. Trade now- for pitcher, pitcher and another pitcher. I do, however, have little doubt that Berrios will be great for another team. Look at Lynn, Hendricks, Pressley, Gibson etc, etc.

    As for Buxton- I'd like to see a reasonable offer on a base salary with big incentives for games played. 

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    7 hours ago, BD57 said:

    And if I was serious about winning, I'd want to assemble a staff where he was a #3.

    That would be awesome.

    The only way I see a mid/small market team assembling this staff is if two of those pitchers are under control with at least one of them in early or pre-arb. In free agency those 3 would probably be around 80 million a year and that investment would have no impact on at least 40% of the schedule.

    It is critical that the Twins acquire and develop those top of the rotation team control starters. That won’t happen for 2022 but maybe trading off assets like Berrios and Rogers this year can set them on that path.

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    28 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

    That would be awesome.

    The only way I see a mid/small market team assembling this staff is if two of those pitchers are under control with at least one of them in early or pre-arb. In free agency those 3 would probably be around 80 million a year and that investment would have no impact on at least 40% of the schedule.

    It is critical that the Twins acquire and develop those top of the rotation team control starters. That won’t happen for 2022 but maybe trading off assets like Berrios and Rogers this year can set them on that path.

    San Diego is small market and considering exceeding the luxury tax this year. Kansas City and Baltimore had a payrolls of $153MM and $167MM in 2017. The Twins could spend, the ownership is just too risk averse.

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    14 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    San Diego is small market and considering exceeding the luxury tax this year. Kansas City and Baltimore had a payrolls of $153MM and $167MM in 2017. The Twins could spend, the ownership is just too risk averse.

    You have picked a couple rather extreme anomalies.  You have established a team could payout these amounts.  You can also personally spend more than you make in a given year.  It does not make it a sustainable way to succeed.  

    You also omitted a crucial piece of information.  How did Baltimore and Kansas City do those years with record payrolls?  KC was 80-82 and Baltimore was 75-87 good for last place.  You also failed to mention that the Padres averaged under $72M a year for the last 15 years and spent over $100M twice.  $110M in 2015 and $104M in 2019.  I think they banked enough cash to go wild for a year.  Also, the Padres team is what it is as a result of great drafting and development, including the trades they were able to make as a result of an extremely deep prospect pool.  So, the Padres are much more of an example of what you arguing against than for.

    I guess we could add that KC did not have a true Ace when they won the WS.  We could add that Baltimore  did not have a true ace either during their run.  They had a rotation of 2s and 3s. 

    We could also look at how much other small market teams that DO RATE amongst the lowest team ERA and see how they are doing it.  Tampa Bays top paid SP is $6.5M.  They traded away a Cy Young pitcher and let their top SP in terms of WAR walk in free agency. Oakland's top paid SP is paid $6M.  They do have a RP they are paying $11M but he has not completed an inning this year.  Their top two SPs (WAR) they got by trading away an established player for a prospect.  Their 3rd SP in terms of WAR they got for "cash considerations".   Even the Dodgers with all their revenue ... How did they acquire their 3 top SPs,  They drafted and developed them.

    I guess the point is your evidence of the need to spend  big to get an ace (or win) is full of holes.  You went looking for examples of spending instead of looking for examples of winning.

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    3 hours ago, jorgenswest said:

    That would be awesome.

    The only way I see a mid/small market team assembling this staff is if two of those pitchers are under control with at least one of them in early or pre-arb. In free agency those 3 would probably be around 80 million a year and that investment would have no impact on at least 40% of the schedule.

    It is critical that the Twins acquire and develop those top of the rotation team control starters. That won’t happen for 2022 but maybe trading off assets like Berrios and Rogers this year can set them on that path.

    Agree.

    For a "mid/small market team" to put together that kind of staff, they'll need one of two things (1) An owner who's a gazillionaire willing to spend money to get a championship; or (2) the luck to have a true #1 and true #2 come out of your farm system at the same time.

     

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    I can see trading Berrios and Rogers now. Keep Buxton. If they trade the two pitchers now, they will get fleeced.  But I agree with the majority here. Berrios probably wants out. Not so sure  Buxton does.  While pitching is our weakness, the problem is trading two of our supposed 'best ones' might not help the team at all. Pitching prospects litter the landscape and many don't make it.

    But I suppose they have to try.

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    If Berrios was a free agent, the Twins almost surely would offer $20M per year; they reportedly offered that to Darvish and Wheeler.

    If they want him, they need to take a deep breath, accept that they aren’t getting the still-in-arbitration deal nearly every other young pitcher takes, and get over it.

    This is Minnesota, we’ve got decades of experience to know that we don’t get off easy trying to keep our players. Accept it, live with it and deal with it.

    Or you know, dwell on it, be spiteful about the bad break and keep on not winning championships.

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