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  • D-Day is Coming for Twins and Buxton


    Ted Schwerzler

    Thanksgiving, a time to reflect and be thankful for all you’ve been afforded in life. The Minnesota Twins could consider the opportunity they have in front of them, but regardless, decision day is coming for Byron Buxton.

    Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff, USA TODAY Sports

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    As we enter the final week of November, it was recently announced that the deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players would be pushed to November 30. This gives free agents a day to sign before the expected December 2 lockout. While many will wait through the labor strife, players have the option to strike a deal in the 24 hours between the two deadlines.

    With relation to Buxton, it’s a certainty that Minnesota will tender the star centerfielder a contract. Entering his final year of arbitration, MLB Trade Rumors projects Buxton’s 2022 salary to come in just north of $7 million. At the very least, the Twins will come to terms with the Baxley, Georgia native on those grounds. What’s more interesting is the dates that loom large in the future and the belief that Buxton’s situation will be resolved before the commencement of the 2022 regular season.

    Here are some key dates to circle and what they mean:

    November 30th - Arbitration Tender Deadline
    This one jumps out as the most important. As highlighted above, Buxton will be tendered a contract, and there’s zero doubt about that. Avoiding arbitration doesn’t mean that the sides can’t still reach an agreement on an extension, but simply that Byron knows what he will be paid in the year ahead. It’d be ideal for both sides to hammer out the extension before this point and extend the player to a multi-year deal that buys out free agency years.

    December 2nd - Current CBA Expired
    Should nothing more be accomplished than a contract for 2022 being agreed to, the two sides will have 24 more hours to negotiate. December 1st is the final day covered by the current Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement. At 11:59 pm Eastern Time, the current CBA becomes void, and the lockout begins. Both parties can continue working towards a conclusion of this saga or leave each other hanging for whatever duration the labor limbo hangs on for. Both teams and players may have different parameters to deal with following the ratification of a new CBA. Still, little of it should impact Buxton, who is already in the final year of arbitration eligibility.

    February 26th, 2022 - Spring Training Begins
    As things stand now, this is where Minnesota opens the 2022 exhibition slate against the Toronto Blue Jays down in Florida. More often, the regular season is a hard deadline for contract negotiations to be completed by. Still, both sides could look at Spring Training being a key date given Buxton’s injury history. Wanting to have something done before actual action gets underway makes a good deal of sense. Obviously, this date is tentative given the uncertainty of where a lockout takes us. I’d imagine the league and player’s association are more open to losing Spring Training games than they are actual regular-season games that count.

    April 2nd, 2022 - Opening Day
    If there’s a hard deadline established, this would seem to be it. Minnesota can’t afford to go into the regular season without clarity on Buxton’s future. If he’s not extended by this date, the alternative of trading him has to become a reality. Given the volatility of his playstyle and injury history, risking the asset depreciation before the trade deadline would be a fruitless endeavor. Again, this date could be moved with respect to the CBA situation, but it’s almost a given that whenever the regular season starts, Twins fans will know the fate of Byron Buxton.

    July 31st, 2022 - Trade Deadline
    Should we reach this point with no clarity, the front office will have massively overplayed their hand. Not only having failed to extend the talented centerfielder, we could be talking about a player with a few months of lackluster performance or an injury that drags down his trade value. Without a long-term deal in place here, the opposition understands Minnesota is set to move on in the winter. Draft pick compensation may not be what it is now, and regardless, it would be a sad return for someone that should’ve commanded so much more.

    That should be the complete timeline for dates to follow regarding this Buxton-saga. The longer it drags on, the more hopeless the outcome looks. I’d wager we see finality before the commencement of Spring Training, and having something done far sooner than that would be a much-welcomed reality.

    The Twins have an opportunity to pay a generational talent because he’s been injured. It’d be silly to balk at that, but if they’re going to, they best get it right, and soon.

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    Signing Buxton to an extension is crucial if the Twins really are serious about retooling for next year and beyond.  Not only is his bat important, but his defense is irreplacable.  If you were Marcus Stroman, for example, would you sign here if you knew Buxton is gone or on his way out, there is no starting shortstop and the Twins look to be in the market for a "stopgap" player, third base is iffy because nobody on the roster, not even Donaldson because of injuries, is an above average defender, left field has no incumbent and Rooker is a poor defender, and first base is questionable if Sano spends any time there?  Stroman needs good infield defense, and would love to have Buxton in center catching everything within eyesight.  Established pitchers want to be on a team that can compete out of the gate, not in two or three years.  If the Twins don't plan to sign him, then stop this ticket selling charade and trade him, Taylor, and anyone else with value for top prospects.  Frankly, this front office is constipated in its approach to free agency.  They are like a dog at the Thanksgiving table waiting for scraps to fall that they can gobble up.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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    Buck has expressed on several occasions publicly & privately that he wants to remain a Twin, fans have overwhelmingly have expressed their love for Buxton and Jim Pohlad has express his desire to keep Buxton. So what's holding up the show? FO. FO has a plan, what is that plan? No one knows. But with every move this FO is leading us to an abyss. FO actions toward Buck through out his career is unforgiveable especially their handling of negotiations with him.

    This FO has no sense of evaluation, if they did they'd have signed Buck by last season. Buxton impacts the game with his fielding, base running and hitting. An owner favored incentive based contract that Buck in theory has agreed to has been on the table for a while now. The fact that Buck hasn't signed yet is the epidemy of this FO's lunacy and incompetence. With each passing day of him not signing, insults Bucks worth and patience and jeopardizes him signing. I don't care if Buck signs tomorrow or not, this FO has proven to me for awhile that they don't deserve to be our FO.

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    5 hours ago, RJA said:

    Signing Buxton to an extension is crucial if the Twins really are serious about retooling for next year and beyond.  Not only is his bat important, but his defense is irreplacable.  If you were Marcus Stroman, for example, would you sign here if you knew Buxton is gone or on his way out, there is no starting shortstop and the Twins look to be in the market for a "stopgap" player, third base is iffy because nobody on the roster, not even Donaldson because of injuries, is an above average defender, left field has no incumbent and Rooker is a poor defender, and first base is questionable if Sano spends any time there?  Stroman needs good infield defense, and would love to have Buxton in center catching everything within eyesight.  Established pitchers want to be on a team that can compete out of the gate, not in two or three years.  If the Twins don't plan to sign him, then stop this ticket selling charade and trade him, Taylor, and anyone else with value for top prospects.  Frankly, this front office is constipated in its approach to free agency.  They are like a dog at the Thanksgiving table waiting for scraps to fall that they can gobble up.  Happy Thanksgiving,

    While I share your worry about this FO, BOY do I share that worry, I can't help but continue to believe the infield could be a better than average one defensively if we kept it intact and had some continuity within it.  Donaldson (with Arraez as a backup when needed), Simmons, Polanco, and Kiriloff would make up a more than adequate infield defense.  But we seem to want to unload Donaldson to save money to buy a SS that would cost just as much, and move a rookie into third when we really don't know how it will work out all around.  Or is it move the rookie into the SS position and keep Donaldson and Arraez?  Or is it move Polanco back to SS and put Arraez at 2B and.........crap, where was I?  Oh well, a healthy Kirilloff at 1B and keep the rest intact and how is that a defensive liability?  But, as I usually am, I am likely a minority in this thought.  Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, and to everyone here.  

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    For the millionth time...sign Buxton. And then move on to the next step. Keep Donaldson too. If anyone needs unloading its Simmons who contributed the least of anyone in the infield. Yes he has good 'd' but not that good as to offset he was an automatic out at the plate. Too bad too because he usually made contact.

    It does say a lot about our braintrust that they just don't seem to understand Buxton's overall value to the team and the fans.  Will they feel all good about themselves if they play hardball to save a few bucks (not the 'buck' that counts the most)

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    28 minutes ago, insagt1 said:

    For the millionth time...sign Buxton. And then move on to the next step. Keep Donaldson too. If anyone needs unloading its Simmons who contributed the least of anyone in the infield. Yes he has good 'd' but not that good as to offset he was an automatic out at the plate. Too bad too because he usually made contact.

    It does say a lot about our braintrust that they just don't seem to understand Buxton's overall value to the team and the fans.  Will they feel all good about themselves if they play hardball to save a few bucks (not the 'buck' that counts the most)

    I will only say it for the 4th time, but Simmons' "d" was not good, it was the 2nd best at SS in the league and 6th best defensive player at any position (or so the articles tell me).  And I would submit that is good enough to offset a light bat on this team, seeing it finished 1st and 2nd the last two complete seasons in HR.  The team overall has the power to make up for a defensive whiz that makes those around him better as well.  Buck has that same defensive ability, when he can stay on the field, but that is always a crap shoot so his overall value to the team is in direct correlation to his health status.  He makes LF better by his range and he works well with Kepler in right.

    I do agree on signing Buck if it can be done on a basis that takes into account his playing status, just as I firmly believe we should keep the infield intact for defense and continuity.  One is no more important than the other, and musical chairs in the field solves nothing; unless, of course, we had nothing to begin with and defensively, at least, I don't buy that.  Now, pitching on the other hand..............

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    Buxton already gone... has been for 2 years. He has no love lost for this FO due to service time and swing instruction screw jobs. He would need ABOVE market value to stay. This franchise will come no where near that.

    Everything else falls under the categories of denial and click bait.

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    4 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

    Buck has expressed on several occasions publicly & privately that he wants to remain a Twin, fans have overwhelmingly have expressed their love for Buxton and Jim Pohlad has express his desire to keep Buxton. So what's holding up the show? FO. FO has a plan, what is that plan? No one knows. But with every move this FO is leading us to an abyss. FO actions toward Buck through out his career is unforgiveable especially their handling of negotiations with him.

    This FO has no sense of evaluation, if they did they'd have signed Buck by last season. Buxton impacts the game with his fielding, base running and hitting. An owner favored incentive based contract that Buck in theory has agreed to has been on the table for a while now. The fact that Buck hasn't signed yet is the epidemy of this FO's lunacy and incompetence. With each passing day of him not signing, insults Bucks worth and patience and jeopardizes him signing. I don't care if Buck signs tomorrow or not, this FO has proven to me for awhile that they don't deserve to be our FO.

    If you think Buck has a passion to remain a Twin, I've got some swamp land in Florida to sell you!

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    1 hour ago, D.C Twins said:

    If you think Buck has a passion to remain a Twin, I've got some swamp land in Florida to sell you!

    Buck doesn't impress me to be a liar. I wouldn't be surprised if he had mixed feelings about staying and I wouldn't blame him because of how he has been treated by this FO. If he doesn't stay I wouldn't blame him, 100% of the blame lies on this lousy FO.

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    2 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

    Buck doesn't impress me to be a liar. I wouldn't be surprised if he had mixed feelings about staying and I wouldn't blame him because of how he has been treated by this FO. If he doesn't stay I wouldn't blame him, 100% of the blame lies on this lousy FO.

    I don't consider him a liar either, but there is a difference between saying I would love to stay here, and saying I would love to stay here as long as you pay me as much or more than the Yankees will.  While he has said the former many times over, he may have meant the latter.  Time will tell.  

     

    2 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

    Buck doesn't impress me to be a liar. I wouldn't be surprised if he had mixed feelings about staying and I wouldn't blame him because of how he has been treated by this FO. If he doesn't stay I wouldn't blame him, 100% of the blame lies on this lousy FO.

     

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    50 minutes ago, Mark G said:

    I don't consider him a liar either, but there is a difference between saying I would love to stay here, and saying I would love to stay here as long as you pay me as much or more than the Yankees will.  While he has said the former many times over, he may have meant the latter.  Time will tell.  

     

     

    Mark, what I've heard is that Buck is OK with the base pay and is asking for incentives that tops out at around $100M. $100M for MVP performance is not squeezing out every buck that I can mentality. $100M for a MVP performance is a steal, a self respecting FO would jump all over that. There's a narrative that Buck is after the big $, there's nothing I've seen to support that. Narratives are smoke screens to cover up what is really happening.

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    46 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

    Mark, what I've heard is that Buck is OK with the base pay and is asking for incentives that tops out at around $100M. $100M for MVP performance is not squeezing out every buck that I can mentality. $100M for a MVP performance is a steal, a self respecting FO would jump all over that. There's a narrative that Buck is after the big $, there's nothing I've seen to support that. Narratives are smoke screens to cover up what is really happening.

    That's true if there are enough years attached to the 100M.  That is the test for me, I guess, but I will trust your investigating of the info.  I just hope you are right.  

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    1 hour ago, Mark G said:

    That's true if there are enough years attached to the 100M.  That is the test for me, I guess, but I will trust your investigating of the info.  I just hope you are right.  

    7yrs. has been connected to that. I get my info from TD. What I hear and assuming that the topped out $100 worth of incentives are based on MVP performances. Since I didn't see that actual rumor I couldn't be absolutely sure.

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    $100 mil for MVP performance?  Where?  Part time players are not MVP.  As much as I like Buxton, many of you, in my opinion, are over evaluating, his accomplishments.  He hasn't proven that at all due to his limited playing time.  His .248 average over 7 seasons does not an MVP make.  The Twins have given him 7 years to prove he can stay healthy and produce.  He has failed at that.  

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    1 hour ago, Whitey333 said:

    $100 mil for MVP performance?  Where?  Part time players are not MVP.  As much as I like Buxton, many of you, in my opinion, are over evaluating, his accomplishments.  He hasn't proven that at all due to his limited playing time.  His .248 average over 7 seasons does not an MVP make.  The Twins have given him 7 years to prove he can stay healthy and produce.  He has failed at that.  

    His fielding ability makes him an MVP, period.

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    Looking at both sides of Buck, I know he changes the team when he's on the field. I think the W/L record even indicates that. But he also has to find a way to stay on the field and play a full season.... just once would be a good start. If you were running another type of business would you pay someone full-time money if they've never proven they can be there any more than part-time? Most businesses would part ways with that type of worker. In a way I can't blame this FO for being tied to a, what the H E double L toothpicks should we do? If they tie him to a 7 year contract and he doesn't play anymore in those 7 years than he did in the last 7 then everyone here will say they messed up big-time and were a couple of fools. If they trade him and he becomes the MVP like many of you feel he is already then they will have messed up big-time. Either way, if I'm the Twins or if I'm a team that gets him in a trade, his contract has to be incentived based on the amount of playing time he provides. Even Buck should understand that.

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    15 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

    Mark, what I've heard is that Buck is OK with the base pay and is asking for incentives that tops out at around $100M. $100M for MVP performance is not squeezing out every buck that I can mentality. $100M for a MVP performance is a steal

    Buxton won an MVP??  When?  Or are we talking about a different MVP that he won when he was NOT playing baseball?  Did we learn nothing from the Mauer contract?  Apparently the FO did. 

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    16 minutes ago, Reptevia said:

    Buxton won an MVP??  When?  Or are we talking about a different MVP that he won when he was NOT playing baseball?  Did we learn nothing from the Mauer contract?  Apparently the FO did. 

    If you read carefully I never stated anything in the past tense. In the future according to contract incentives, for Buxton to top out to $100 he'll need to perform at MVP caliber every year. Each year will be calculated according to how many games played and performance from the base pay. Buxton most certainly has the potential to do so. If not he won't achieve the $100M but the motivation is there. I believe Mauer contract had very little incentives baked into it.

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    18 hours ago, D.C Twins said:

    Buxton already gone... has been for 2 years. He has no love lost for this FO due to service time and swing instruction screw jobs. He would need ABOVE market value to stay. This franchise will come no where near that.

    Everything else falls under the categories of denial and click bait.

    What is his fair market value?  You say the Twins need to pay above market, but what is his market?  His side will point to what he did last year, and in some short periods in prior years as to what he can be.  However, the GM's around the league will point to how many games he has played over the years.  He has only played 1 season where you could say he has played a full season, that was 2017 where he played 140 games.  

    Outside of that season, he has played 92, 28, 87, 39(out of 60) 61.  I did not include his first season.  Those are terrible numbers of games played.  Some were due to injury, some where due to production in the early years.  We have 0 evidence he will ever play a full season, and we have no clue what his production will look like as he ages.

    He is hitting his prime now, and he may put up MVP type numbers when healthy for the next 3 seasons, but what about after that?  As his speed starts to drop off, how will that affect his defense, his offense, his overall value?  Will he get more injuries that may cut his career short? 

    His market is so hard to judge because he will be a huge gamble for just about any team.  When healthy for the next 3 years he may be MVP level guy, maybe that goes into his mid-30's, but most players that does not happen.  Maybe he falls off the cliff in his young to mid-30's.  

    I would like to see him signed, but I can understand the risks of paying him huge money for long term.  I wonder what teams out there will be willing to pay him huge money for long term based on his history.  The next CBA may really affect things too.  If teams cannot just absorb his contract when he is in the trainers room teams may not want to bring him in.

    I would also say you always need a back up plan for CF when he is your starter.  However, you cannot justify paying big for two CF, so you need to pay big for a corner guy that can slide over to CF when Buxton is out, because he will be.  You can hope that a young CF is ready to fill in on the cheap.  

    The point is, you cannot just sign him to 7 years and say our CF position is filled for 7 years now, because history will say it is filled for about half a year for next 7 years and you better have a back up ready to step in. 

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    Buxton would be a free agent right now if the Twins hadn't kept him in the minors a few years back, right?  Would the Twins have given him a QO?  If only we could see what that alternate timeline would show (I loved the TV show Community & their alternate timeline episodes).

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    I love Buxton as a Twin. The injuries have been heartbreaking, but the good times have been magical.

    But I do wonder if he wants to remain here, and I wouldn't blame him if the answer is a clear "no." Because the FO has let an extension drag into a potentially-troubled offseason, and because it's pretty clear he and Polanco will be the primary anchors for a rebuilding squad over the next few years, I can see why he'd want out. This isn't an aggressive FO like Chicago, and Buxton probably realizes that any extension he signs here (even if at market value) will further put him under scrutiny the way Mauer's contract did for him. It wasn't fair that Mauer had to shoulder that burden of being a contract scapegoat while dealing with injuries, and I'm sure Buxton saw a little bit of that play out as he was headed up to the big-league club.

    I was thinking the other day how Cruz really seemed to take the heat off of guys like Buxton. You need a core of 2-3 big personalities to set the tone for a contender. You need a FO who doesn't just sign just one marquee homegrown player to a mega contract and surround him with past-their-prime veterans and ineffective rookies. Buxton should be joining an up-and-coming team who see him as one important piece to a title run, not as a centerpiece.

    Buxton probably wants/needs to join a winner at this point. And at this point, the Twins are not a winner in any sense of the word. It will be heartbreaking to lose him, but it's probably inevitable at this point.

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    On 11/25/2021 at 8:15 AM, sorney said:

    With the DH now open, they can even rest him in the field on cold days (that's why they got Caveman, right?  ARG!!!).    I have never been more on a side of a player than Buxton...especially if the $70M extension plus incentives, was true.    If  a team isn't going to pay for elite home grown talent, board em up.  

    Didn't the Berrios trade and subsequent signing erase any ambiguity on this point? Buxton will be traded. " We really tried to sign Jose, uh sorry Byron, but we just couldn't pay those outrageous (market) numbers. We have to think about the  club. "  I sincerely wish Buck all the best. He's been hurt a lot of course, but he has the heart of a champion.  

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    I'm seeing a lot about money and market value, but it seems like nobody is talking about the state of the roster around him. If I'm Buxton, I'm waiting out the front office to see if they're serious about contending before I sign anything at this point. 

    If they get to February with no meaningful additions to SP, SS, or the bullpen, he would be well within his rights to opt for free agency after this season and spend his prime age years with a team that will not only pay him, but will show a willingness to field a competitive team. 

    So far the only difference between this off-season and the previous ones under this FO is that none of the updates about the pitchers going off the board include some hand waving by the Twins about being "in on that guy". I know they won't do anything until after the CBA is worked out, we all know they wouldn't do anything until mid-January even without the CBA hurdle, but the lack of urgency they are showing for massive needs is a bit concerning.  Not to mention the fact that every player making more than $5M seems to available in the trade market.

    Buck should absolutely get paid, but he should also try to win. This FO is talking a big game, just like last year...and the year before that...

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    On 11/25/2021 at 3:09 PM, D.C Twins said:

    If you think Buck has a passion to remain a Twin, I've got some swamp land in Florida to sell you!

    7 year full no trade clause that was the kicker for Buxton. This comment aged very, very poorly. 

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