Right before the Vikings game on Sunday, Ken Rosenthal announced that the Twins and Byron Buxton were finalizing an extension. Minutes later, he tweeted that the deal was for seven years and $100 million. This is huge news for Twins fans everywhere as Buxton is an electrifying player with MVP talent.
As you all know, Buxton’s main downfall is concerns about his health. Since 2018, Buxton has only played in 48% of Twins games. It is hard to justify giving a lot of money to someone who has not been on the field for half of the games. However, when Buxton is on the field, the Twins are a completely different team. Since the beginning of 2019, the Twins have played at a 98 win pace when Buxton is on the field and an 81 win pace when he is not.
When a player has an impact this profound on the success of his team, you want to keep him around with hopes that he can stay healthy.
Over a month ago, I wrote an article about what a potential Buxton extension would look like. I predicted it to be 7 years for $133 million, so signing him for $100 million is a steal for us. If Buxton performs like an MVP for his contract, he could make much more. Below are the full details of his contract.
Included in the contract is a full no-trade clause. This means that if the Twins want to trade Buxton during his contract, he would have to agree to it. This was reportedly the final piece of the deal to be completed. This no-trade clause shows me that Buxton really loves Minnesota and wants to be here for his whole career.
Buxton could have held off and waited until free agency in 2022 and probably got more money from a different team, but given his injury issues he wanted guaranteed money and he got it.
In 2021, Buxton was worth over 4 wins above replacement in only 61 games. If he would’ve kept that pace up for even 120 games, he would have led all of Major League Baseball in WAR. Buxton is a generational talent that excels in every phase of the game.
Now that the Twins have extended their superstar, look for them to be aggressive in free agency. After including Buxton’s $9 million in the 2022 payroll, the Twins are up to $77 million in payroll. They now have roughly $50 million to spend on 3 starting pitchers, a shortstop, and a reliever or two.
I look for them to sign a middle to top-tier starting pitcher (Stroman, Rodon, Ray) and two more mid-tier pitchers, like Jon Gray, Yusei Kikuchi, or Michael Pineda. This will probably cost us about $40 million, so we will have to sign a stop-gap shortstop like Jonathan Villar or Freddy Galvis until Royce Lewis or Austin Martin is ready to take the reins.
Byron Buxton is the most exciting player I have ever seen play for the Twins, and I am looking forward to seven more years of this.
Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!