Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • The 2 Biggest Risks with Byron Buxton’s Contract Extension


    Cody Christie

    The beginning of a new year allows everyone the chance to reflect on the previous year. For the Twins, signing Byron Buxton was critical, but his contract has multiple risks.

    Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    In the days leading into MLB’s lockout, Minnesota accomplished one of the organization’s most important tasks this winter by signing Byron Buxton to a long-term extension. Reports had the two sides close to making a deal throughout the summer, but some hurdles remained. Eventually, they found common ground, and Buxton will be wearing a Twins uniform for the next seven seasons. 

    With any eight-figure contract, there are inherent risks involved. For Buxton, fans are more aware of those risks because of the time he has missed throughout his big-league career. On paper, the contract looks like a very team-friendly deal. Still, Minnesota certainly had the opportunity to go in a different direction and allocate Buxton’s contract to other roster pieces. 

    Risk #1: Long-Term Injury Issues
    Injuries are part of the Buxton equation, and the team can try various strategies to keep him healthy and on the field. As a 28-year-old, Buxton has recovered from every injury he has faced and returned to his previous on-field performance. There is no guarantee that continues to happen, and Buxton is one serious injury away from his contract looking poorly for the Twins. His injury history is well known, and it’s likely one of the biggest reasons Minnesota was able to sign him. A player of Buxton’s caliber with fewer injury concerns probably garners offers near $200 million on the free-agent market. 

    Last season, Buxton was the best hitter on the planet at the season’s start as he hit .370/.408/.772 (1.180) through his first 24 games. A hip injury caused him to miss over six weeks, and his swing didn’t miss a beat. In three games after returning, he went 4-for-11 with two extra-base hits. Then a hit-by-pitch broke his hand, and he missed two more months. He came back from this most recent injury and batted .314/.375/.686 (1.061) over the team’s final 26 games. There’s no question he has been able to bounce back so far in his career, but what if an injury causes some long-term performance issues?

    Risk #2: Age
    Buxton will now be under team control throughout the prime of his career. However, a player with his skill set will see natural regression as he ages. Two of Buxton’s most essential skills are his speed and his fielding, but those are skills impacted by age. His extension keeps him under team control through age 34, but some parts of his game will likely need to be adjusted before the contract expires. 

    Former Twins’ great Torii Hunter may give fans some insight into how players like Buxton can change as Father Time wields his ugly head. For instance, Hunter was an elite defender in the first half of his playing career. Age and injuries made him less effective in center field, and he was eventually forced to move to a corner outfield spot. Hunter adjusted his skills and became an improved hitter in the second half of his career as his defensive skills waned. Buxton is considered more of a five-tool talent than Hunter, but fans can see how center fielders age by looking at Hunter’s career. 

    The risks mentioned above seem to be more prominent with Buxton, but any free agent acquisition faces these same kinds of risks. In recent memory, Josh Donaldson, Minnesota’s biggest free-agent signing, had concerns about his health and how his on-field performance would decline with age. Luckily, his offensive performance has been above average, but injuries have been part of his Twins tenure. 

    Overall, Buxton’s contract comes with risks, but he has provided value even when he misses significant time. Are you worried about the risks involved with Buxton’s extension? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    — Become a Twins Daily Caretaker

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    As far as I'm concerned there is no risk. If he produces, he gets the big $ if not he doesn't. When he's on the field he impacts the team, everyone is working to keep him on the field. He wanted to stay in MN., how many big name players would say that?

    Besides great speed he has great instincts which should keep him at CF for the duration of the contract. Because of his problems with the wall, he has dialed back his aggressiveness, even with some digression due to age IMO he'll still be well above average. 

    Buxton has prove to be resilient, getting better every year. There's risk for any player to get in an accident (on or off the field) that they never really come back from. If MLB team take this into consideration there'd be zero contracts.

    Almost every big name player ever consider an incentive contract even if there is doubt about their health. We are blessed to have him for any amount of time he can give us.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The way I read it, if he plays, and plays well, he gets paid commensurately. If he gets hurt, he doesn't get the big bucks. Sure, he's one wall crash from dain brammage, but so is any other player. I don't feel this contract is any riskier to the team than any other, on the open market he would have garnered much more guaranteed money. I'm happy with it 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    There is no risk he succeeds or he doesn't and either way the twins will adjust. 

    I think we will be revisiting this for years and it all comes down to the same thing. The twins have the money, Buxton has the talent and this is the way baseball has played these days. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    There certainly is more risk with Byron than most players just based on his injury history.  Still the way he looked last year I think that is risk that needs to be taken on.  The fact he was willing to do an incentive laden contract means he absolutely believes in himself but even if he has a down year or two or three the Twins won't be paying 20 to 30 million for those years.  15 Million isn't chump change for this organization but Byron can be a top 10 player in the game and those types of players are very, very hard to find.  I am a risk averse person but even I am ok with this deal.

    I don't often and maybe never have said this about a player but as a fan I really appreciated the way Byron handled his contract situation.  He always said he wanted to stay and never complained about his service time manipulation or how negotiations were going.  He bent his negotiating power to allow for an incentive laden contract all while keeping a great attitude.  I just want to say thank you as a fan because I have cheered Byron on since MiLB ball.  When he has played I have loved watching what he can do and I am very happy he will be a Twin through his prime.  Honestly, I don't think he will disappoint us.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It was a real joy to read that the Twins and BB agreed on a contract. It seems fair all around. The only risk I see with Buxton's contract is the fear that the fo will see the contract as a ceiling for other contracts in the future.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    5 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

    As far as I'm concerned there is no risk. If he produces, he gets the big $ if not he doesn't. When he's on the field he impacts the team, everyone is working to keep him on the field. He wanted to stay in MN., how many big name players would say that?

    Besides great speed he has great instincts which should keep him at CF for the duration of the contract. Because of his problems with the wall, he has dialed back his aggressiveness, even with some digression due to age IMO he'll still be well above average. 

    Buxton has prove to be resilient, getting better every year. There's risk for any player to get in an accident (on or off the field) that they never really come back from. If MLB team take this into consideration there'd be zero contracts.

    Almost every big name player ever consider an incentive contract even if there is doubt about their health. We are blessed to have him for any amount of time he can give us.

    The value of the contract is such that it is a lot of money.  The risk might be the never sign a Happ. That is not a bad thing

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Getting tired of all the Buxton hype.  In 7 years he has shown glimpses of greatness.  He still must prove he is a great player over the long haul. I hope he has an MVP type season but I'm skeptical.  I like Buxton but can we focus on some other players once in a while?  The Buxton story is getting old unless he can pitch 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Those are the two things in every long term contract.  However, the injury part is even more so with Buxton.  He has been injured in very season, and with different injuries.  Some freak injuries, some muscle injuries, which is more concerning as they are harder to project recovery time.  

    Age he can deal with if he can stay healthy and keep his offense up.  At beginning of career I was much more worried for him as he lost speed as much of his offense was based on his speed.  Recently he has been hitting the ball much better and the speed is not as needed to have value on offense. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Want to second and thank Dman for his comments.  Especially, his thanking Buxton for the stance he took during these long negotiations.

    Will disagree with your comments a bit, Cody.  I think the chances of a career altering or ending injury is no greater for Buxton than any other player.  Yes, his history indicates he is more likely to get short-term injuries than most, but career ending seems to be the same as anyone else, at least in my eyes.

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The only risk I see with the Buxton deal is that the Pohlads make the FO treat the incentives as the base and they lower total payroll to ensure if he hits his incentives they never go over their payroll/revenue predictions.

    Other than that I agree with those saying he's no more at risk to a career ending injury than any other player. Certainly seems to find ways to make his way to the IL a couple times a year, but he always comes back. And he's shown he'll adjust to attempt to lower his injury risk. And the comparison to Hunter is ok, but not great. Hunter moved to the corner cuz he couldn't run anymore. But he was never a burner to start. Buxton has Hunter's reads, but an extra gear of speed. Even if Buxton loses 5 steps he's still got those reads and he's then a Hunter, or Cain, type CFer who's still very good, but not "best defender in the game" good. This deal was perfect.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...