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  • Diving Into The Offseason: A Buxton Extension?


    Seth Stohs

    Last week, I considered what a potential long-term extension might look like for All Star Brian Dozier. Today, I want to do a little digging on what a potential long-term deal might be for Byron Buxton.

    Buxton will not be arbitration-eligible until after the 2018 season. He will have three years of arbitration before becoming a free agent (both sentences assuming that he is done with the minor leagues). While the Twins certainly should not feel like they have to sign him now, this might be the best time to get him at a reasonable cost.

    Image courtesy of Winslow Townson, USA Today

    As we did in the Dozier article, research was done to consider comparable deals. It can be more difficult to find guys who have signed long-term deals after just over two years of service time, and how many of them put up over four WAR in large part due to his defense? But we tried and we’ll use the information we find to try to project what it might take to sign Buxton to an extension.

    For this analysis, let’s start out at the top of the spectrum. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are at the top of the pay scales. One could argue that they are, especially considering their ages and ages at debut, the two more valuable players in the game today.

    Byron Buxton is at 2.064 years of service. That means, he will be arbitration-eligible following the 2018 season.

    Mike Trout signed for $1 million in 2014, his final pre-arbitration salary. Following another MVP caliber season, Trout signed a huge six year, $144.5 extension that bought out his three arbitration years and three years of free agency. His three arbitration-year salaries were $5.25 million, $15.25 million and $19.25 million. He then will get $33.25 million each of the next three years (those bought-out free agent years).

    Bryce Harper was the #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft to a Major League contract. He came up quickly and following the 2014 season, he was already approaching arbitration. Instead, he and the Nationals ripped up the final year of his original deal, and he signed for $2.5 million in 2015 and $5.0 million in 2016. He made $13.625 million this season, and earlier in the year, he signed for $21.65 million in what would have been his fourth arbitration year.

    ccs-19-0-20046400-1508121528.png

    *TBD will equal some really, really big numbers

    Now, Byron Buxton isn’t going to command the same contracts as Trout or Harper if he signs now. Those guys had MVPs and All Star experiences under their belt. Buxton’ hasn’t yet, but his 3.5 bWAR based highly on his defense certainly point in the direction of him being at a level just below those top two guys.

    So who are some others who signed this type of deal?

    In the chart below, I’ve listed some players that I think would be pretty comparable to where Buxton is right now, guys who signed long-term extensions. I should note that Christian Yelich signed his deal one year earlier in the process.

    ccs-19-0-52817400-1508121548.png

    Justin Upton was the most established at the point of his deal. He was also drafted at the top of his draft. Juan Lugares has won a Gold Glove. Odubel Herrera was an All Star. Christian Yelich was a high-ranking prospect of the Marlins and was part of Team USA this year. I also included Andrelton Simmons. Despite the fact that he’s an infielder, I think he is a good comp for Buxton. Early in Simmons’ career, he really struggled offensively, but his glove was elite. He won several Gold Gloves and was generally considered the best defensive player in baseball for several years. I think Buxton fits into that category, but at the same time, Buxton’s offensive potential is significantly higher.

    So with that information as the background, he is an estimate of the parameters that might make sense for a Buxton extension.

    ccs-19-0-05898000-1508121584.png

    That would equate to a seven year, $76.5 million.Obviously that is a huge investment, but Buxton still has a ton of potential beyond his golden glove and speed. He has power to go with it, and if he can reduce his strikeouts the way he did in 2017 again, he will be a multi-time All Star, and a potential MVP candidate.

    There is risk for the Twins, but if the Twins choose to go year to year with Buxton, he could cost more per year and could be gone to free agency after the 2021 season. However, the risk for the Twins in not signing him this offseason is that he could take another step forward offensively and end up with 30-50% higher annual salaries if they did a deal in a year. Of course, with Buxton banging into walls with frequency, injury is a potential risk as well.

    The risk for Buxton is just that. He could potentially make quite a bit more by going year to year and then become a free agent at age 28. At that time, he could look for an eight to ten year deal.

    So what do you think? Should the Twins consider a multi-year extension for Buxton? At what point would you be less comfortable? How many years of risk would you be willing to take while at the same time being realistic? Discuss.

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    COMING SOON! A reminder, Nick Nelson is leading the way in the final steps of creating the Twins Daily Annual Offseason Handbook. More details, and the ability to pre-order, will be made available later this week. As we have in the past, we'll take a look at what options the Twins may have during the upcoming offseason. Trade Targets. Free Agents. Exclusive articles from the Twins Daily owners only available in the electronic book. Definitely something Twins fans will want at their fingertips.

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    I can appreciate the thought process, and the idea to gamble on cost savings, but I think I would wait 1 year.   I know he turned it around a TON after that horrible start last year...but I would like to see him start the year *not horrible* at the plate.  Then perhaps I would, even knowing it probably cost me a couple extra million.

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    I think they have to do it. This is the flip side to not using an option. he wasted a lot of service time figuring it out... now whether or not he'd have figured it out in the minors is certainly a fair question, but the bottom line is that he has 2 full seasons in. This contract gets a ton more expensive if second half Buxton shows up on day 1.

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    I think they have to do it...

     

    This contract gets a ton more expensive if second half Buxton shows up on day 1.

     

    Totally agree. The Twins should sign Buxton and all of their young players early to get the best deals. Most of them will end up very good to excellent. Show them trust and spread the risk across all of them in the next two years. IMO, Buxton is the priority.

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    If he would sign that deal you outlined the Twins should do it.  You can buy three years of free agency now. If you wait until he is a free agent the contract will be much longer. I would sign Sano, Berrios, Rosario, Polanco and Kepler also. Just because you sign for long term does not mean a player could not be traded.  In a some situations the cost certainty is a plus and adds value. You could lock up this core for 7 seasons.  Go for it. 

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    Either you believe in these guys or you don't...Cleveland model even locked up Yan Gomes ($6.03M $7.08M) early which may be an over-spend

    while

    Jose Ramirez ($2.8M $4.15M $6.65M $9.40M) looks like a bargain

     

    Here's a look at things with Seth's Extension ideas for Dozier and Buxton along with Kintzler for $5M $6M $7M (total guesstimate)

    Chatwood for $12M $12M $12M (maybe a hope-timate)

     

    Using the Twins Payroll Tool

     

    Twins Payroll Tool   SS Extensions

     

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    I think this one is a no brainer, sign him to a 7-9 year deal then move on to Sano for not quite as long. It would be nice if they could lock up Berrios through 2 free agent years this off season too and if there is money left in the bank see if Dozier will go for a 2-3 year extension. These are the central pieces to the next contending level team and locking them in now should gain value over the life of those deals allowing a mid market team to hold on to its Stars a bit longer than if we wait on when we have to resign them. The question is how many of these deals can they do and still add something on the pitching side? Buxton however ought to be priority #1

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    If Buxton is willing to sign that deal, don't hesitate. Seriously, that would be a HUGE steal for the Twins. That contract pays out for the Twins if Buxton produces over 7 WAR over the next 7 seasons. I will take that bet.

    Edited by markos
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    I would do the contract proposed in a second. I suspect it is light.

     

    Agreed. Seems light to me. Really good FA will get 20+MM per year within a year or two. 

     

    Also, this:

     

    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-possible-extinction-of-the-early-career-superstar-extension/

     

    If they pull it off, they'll have done something few other FOs have been able to do lately, despite all the young stars out there.

     

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    I would do Seth's offer in a heartbeat if I'm the twins. Buying out three of Buxton's FA years would be fantastic. The deal i don't want to see if one where we only buy out the arbitration years and he becomes a FA on schedule. If we can get him for 7 years and anywhere under $90M total value, I'd feel good about it.

     

    Is Boras his agent? That's the danger, because Boras LOVES getting his guys into free agency.

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    The deal outlined here may be favorable to the Twins, in terms of expected value and all that. They're the team, and are in a position to spread out risk among multiple players.

     

    But from the player's POV, getting your risk bought out has some real value. You have just one career. Buxton's signing bonus, minus taxes and agent fees and other costs, probably set him up for a middle-class lifestyle, to raise his family, and for the rest of his life. But a deal like being proposed here lets him, for example, endow a charitable foundation in his name that can disburse a couple million a year or more perpetually, if that's how his mind works - not to mention upgrading the lifestyle a little further. That kind of certainty isn't nothing.

     

    $76.5M may be a little light, but not ridiculously so. It shouldn't take $100M for the 7 years.

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    The deal outlined here may be favorable to the Twins, in terms of expected value and all that. They're the team, and are in a position to spread out risk among multiple players.

     

    But from the player's POV, getting your risk bought out has some real value. You have just one career. Buxton's signing bonus, minus taxes and agent fees and other costs, probably set him up for a middle-class lifestyle, to raise his family, and for the rest of his life. But a deal like being proposed here lets him, for example, endow a charitable foundation in his name that can disburse a couple million a year or more perpetually, if that's how his mind works - not to mention upgrading the lifestyle a little further. That kind of certainty isn't nothing.

     

    $76.5M may be a little light, but not ridiculously so. It shouldn't take $100M for the 7 years.

     

    and yet, almost none of hte superstars are signing such deals the last two years....

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    and yet, almost none of hte superstars are signing such deals the last two years....

     

    That might be more a fluke than a trend, a product of specific players and teams. The biggest superstar of them all signed one of these deals not that long ago.

     

    I think Buxton is getable, just needs to be enough money.

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    That might be more a fluke than a trend, a product of specific players and teams. The biggest superstar of them all signed one of these deals not that long ago.

     

    I think Buxton is getable, just needs to be enough money.

     

    sure, "enough" money will get anyone signed.

     

    Trout signed for $24MM per year, and will be a FA when he's 29.

     

    So, I think Buxton would cost $20MM per year, maybe as little as $17MM per year. Just over 100MM total, or more like 120MM, I'd think.

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    sure, "enough" money will get anyone signed.

     

    Trout signed for $24MM per year, and will be a FA when he's 29.

     

    So, I think Buxton would cost $20MM per year, maybe as little as $17MM per year. Just over 100MM total, or more like 120MM, I'd think.

     

    And the free agent years were bought out for $33.25 mil a year. Don't think it will quite be that much for Buxton.

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    sure, "enough" money will get anyone signed.

     

    Trout signed for $24MM per year, and will be a FA when he's 29.

     

    So, I think Buxton would cost $20MM per year, maybe as little as $17MM per year. Just over 100MM total, or more like 120MM, I'd think.

     

    Trout signed a year later and didn't have the $1 million year in there... but I don't disagree... I might be a little light, maybe more in the first free agency year or two. But that's the purpose of signing a deal this year as opposed to next year or later. The numbers will keep getting bigger. I shouldn't have done the comparisons to Trout and Harper maybe, but I wanted to make sure people knew that it needs to be below that. I also have him higher than all the other guys I compared him to. 

     

    I think it'd be hard to turn down $76 million guaranteed. And he'd still be a free agent at 30 and have time to get another big contract. 

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