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  1. For months I have been tweeting that the Minnesota Twins need to pay Byron Buxton. There has never been a point at which that should have been anything close to an uncertainty. Today, it became reality. The Twins centerfielder has received MVP votes twice in his career. He has an .887 OPS over the past three seasons, and he was barreling towards and MVP award prior to injury this past season. Therein lies the rub. Minnesota was only in a position to sign their superstar thanks to his injury history. Missing games is the reason Buxton wouldn’t have received the $300 million payday in free agency, and it’s the necessary push needed to negotiate an extension with the mid-market club. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece for Twins Daily looking at the parallels between Buxton and Minnesota’s last mega-star, Joe Mauer. The hometown hero was paid $184 million because of his exploits prior to injury, and then denigrated in his later years because of them. On the flip side, Buxton is being shorted because of his injury history and leaves the Twins ample opportunity to experience value-based riches in the future. Just two seasons ago this same front office paid a 34-year-old Josh Donaldson $100 million for four seasons. He’s dealt with chronic calf issues for much of his later career and they still took that gamble. Nabbing a 28-year-old star in Buxton for that same amount and tacking on an additional three years is nothing short of larceny. We can go rounds as to whether Buxton is injury-prone or a byproduct of unfortunate circumstance. There was a time he was running into walls and his all-out style had him in precarious positions. Breaking a bone after being hit by a pitch or suffering a concussion following a dive onto grass certainly shouldn’t be assumed as indicative of future issues. No matter what happens, Byron would be the first person to wish for a clean bill of health, even while not being able to reap the rewards of a payday it would produce. There’s been plenty of reason to question this front office and the noise that’s been made public regarding roster construction over the past few months. This extension alone was the largest opportunity to call the offseason a failure and is now done and over with. It’s time they continue to supplement around a lineup bolstered with talent, and that remains to be seen. No matter what happens from here though, they paid the man. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. MLB and the Players Association agreed last week to move the deadline for offering 2022 contracts to arbitration-eligible players from Thursday, December 2nd, to Tuesday, November 30th, and 7 pm central time. The Twins have several decisions to make. What should they do? What would you do? The Twins have already made several transactions that have altered their list of arbitration-eligible players. Early in November, the Twins decided to put right-handed pitcher John Gant on waivers. When he cleared, he elected to become a free agent. Gant came to the Twins at the July trade deadline as part of the J.A. Happ trade. He was set to make approximately $3.7 million in his final season of arbitration. Outfielder Rob Refsnyder played like a Legend for a while after the Twins called him up, even playing a lot of center field. However, after a couple of injuries, including a concussion, he wasn’t able to repeat that performance. The minor league veteran was projected to make about $800,000, but the Twins DFAd him this month too. It became a talker, but the Twins signed outfielder Jake Cave to a one-year, $800,000 deal for 2022. Like all arbitration deals, it isn’t completely guaranteed. Finally, just last week, the Twins DFAd the fan-favorite, Williams Astudillo. Set to make a projected 2022 salary around $1.2 million in his first arbitration season. Since he hasn’t hit since his debut season in 2018 and has little defensive value, it was an easy decision to remove him from the roster and after he cleared waivers, they simply released him. And then the Twins claimed right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton from the Texas Rangers in early November. Let’s take a look at him and the other arbitration-eligible Twins players that the Twins have a decision to make before Tuesday’s deadline. (in alphabetical order, note: age on April 1, 2022) LUIS ARRAEZ - UT (24) Service Time: 2 years, 121 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? Though Arraez struggled late in 2021 and ended out with a batting average below .300 for the first time in his professional career. He can play in left field and second base, and actually had a solid season playing third base in 2021. On the other side of his case, he had several IL trips again due to his knees and legs. Likelihood to be Tendered: 10 Summary: Just over the weekend, we learned that MLB had set the “Super 2” line at 2.116 (two years, 116 days) service time. Fortunately, the Twins' brass doesn't need to spend much time thinking about whether or not to tender a 2022 contract to Arraez. It's a given. What is his future with the organization? Could he be traded? If not, what position will he play, or will he continue to play all around the diamond? All to be figured out... after that contract is tendered on Tuesday. BYRON BUXTON - CF (28) Service Time: 5 years, 160 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $7.3 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million Why Tender? Because he’s Byron Buxton. Because his 2022 salary will be minimal relative to the value he will and has provided. Because they can then continue negotiating a potential long-term deal. Because even if they don’t reach a deal, he can easily be traded for a very nice return. Likelihood to be Tendered (1 unlikely to 10 very likely): 10. Easy choice. Summary: This one will require very little thought. What happens beyond tendering hims a 2022 contract has been the topic of debate for the past six months. JHAREL COTTON - RHP (30) Service Time: 3 years, 52 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: N/A Why Tender? Because he showed some good stuff out of the Rangers bullpen in his return to the big leagues following Tommy John surgery. Because of what he had shown as a starter in Oakland early in his career. Because he’s got a good fastball, but a great changeup. Likelihood to be Tendered: 5 Summary: There are reasons to believe that Cotton could be a solid middle-relief pitcher option, and who knows, maybe the Twins think that he could be healthy enough to get back to starting and be an option for a back of the Twins rotation too. However, the Twins may also ask for Cotton to agree to a 1 year, $900,000 or $1 million deal, and if he accepts, great. If not, non-tendered and he becomes a free agent. DANNY COULOMBE - LHP (32) Service Time: 3 years, 8 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $800,000 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Coulombe isn’t an exciting pitcher, but he’s long been a solid MLB left-handed reliever, and he pitched well for the Twins in the second half. Had quite a bit of MLB success before injury including being used very often for Oakland for a couple of seasons. He is very similar to Caleb Thielbar, so again, is it necessary to have another lefty in a ‘pen that already should include Thielbar and Taylor Rogers, with Jovani Moran in the near-ready position as well? Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Coulombe has been better than most Twins fans probably think. He’s just solid with limited upside. For $800,000, little reason not to tender him. That said, they may do what they did with Thielbar a year ago and lock him up to a deal below projection. TYLER DUFFEY - RHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 74 days Arbitration Year: 3rd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Duffey’s velocity may have been down a little bit in 2021, but he still put up solid numbers. He ranked right up there with the top relievers in baseball over the past three seasons. Hasn’t received many Save opportunities, which certainly keeps his arbitration salary down, but he’s been used in high-leverage situations. Can they reach an agreement on a one-year deal before an arbitration hearing? Could they look to lock up Duffey for two or three seasons? (maybe a two-year, $7 million deal, or even a three-year, $12 million deal). Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy decision because even if things go poorly, he should have some trade value so non-tendering makes no sense. With so many question marks in the Twins bullpen, losing Duffey would make things even more difficult. MITCH GARVER - C (31) Service Time: 4 years, 45 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Remember his 2019 season? Well, after a poor April, Garver returned to that high-level, 2019 form for much of the rest of the season. The lone concern is an injury history that really hurt him in 2020, but also a couple of times during the 2021 season. Garver’s name shows up in some trade rumors this offseason, and teams would likely line up if the Twins made it known he was available. Likelihood to Tender: 10 Summary; An easy decision to tender him a contract. Likely a much more intense conversation has likely occurred regarding the future of the Twins catcher position. While the idea of a Garver/Ryan Jeffers even split of playing time makes a ton of sense in theory, would it work in reality? Or, could the fact that they have both of them, along with Ben Rortvedt in Triple-A and clearly the best defensive catcher of the three, maybe one could be dealt in the offseason for some pitching. None of that alters how easy the decision will be to tender Garver. JUAN MINAYA - RHP (31) Service Time: 2 years, 140 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Minaya came up to the Twins in the season’s second half and really performed well. He showed good life on his pitches and was put into some big situations. The interesting thing is that he pitched much better for the Twins than he did in his time with the Saints. He had some good years with the White Sox. He has had some control issues in his career, but he’s also very capable of racking up strikeouts. Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Minaya was certainly a nice surprise for the Twins in the second half of the season, but was that enough to tender a seven-digit deal? Like Cotton and Coulombe, it might be another case where the Twins offer him $900,000 to $1 million for 2022, and if he takes it, great. If not, he can be non-tendered. TAYLOR ROGERS - LHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 145 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $6.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $7 million Why Tender? I think we would start with the fact that he has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past four or five seasons. Aside from some struggles in the shortened-2020 season, he’s been very good. He also has been very healthy until his late-July finder injury that cost him the final two months of the 2022 season. The lone question regarding Rogers will be how he recovers and returns from the finger injury since he did not have surgery. Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy choice. Reports indicated that teams were still interested in trading for Rogers, even after he got hurt. They certainly can trade him in the offseason or in July should they choose to do so. I personally think there should also be extension thoughts with Rogers. He’s become a leader on the team, and has earned it based on production. Of course, Aaron Loup getting two years and $17 million might tell us that Rogers should get quite a bit more than that. However, I would offer him a three-year, $24 million deal with an option at $9 million for a fourth year. CALEB THIELBAR - LHP (35) Service Time: 3 years, 131 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? By the end of the 2021 season, the Minnesota native was Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson’s most relied upon, if not reliable, bullpen arm. He really increased his ability to miss bats. His fastball sat between 91 and 95 mph, and that slow, 68 mph curveball is a good pitch to go with a strong slider. Likelihood to Tender: 8 Summary: Another easy choice. Just offer it to him, work on a good deal and call it good. Because of his age and that he’s got a few more seasons before free agency, there is no reason to do anything but go year-to-year with him. How long will the Twins be able to keep Thielbar away from a college coaching career? Your turn. If you’re in charge, would you tender contracts to all of these players? What kind of deals would you like to see? Discuss. View full article
  3. 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!
  4. Everyone can relax. The Twins have extended their most talented player in the last decade for seven more years. 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! View full article
  5. Byron Buxton has signed an extension to stay with the Minnesota Twins for seven more seasons. We've been anxiously awaiting this. It's a $100 million plus incentive and comes with a full no-trade clause.
  6. Byron Buxton has signed an extension to stay with the Minnesota Twins for seven more seasons. We've been anxiously awaiting this. It's a $100 million plus incentive and comes with a full no-trade clause. View full video
  7. Recently, a dog in Christmas sweater reached out and urged the Twins to sign Byron Buxton. Roxy, a 5-year-old dog in a festive Christmas sweater, has two messages this holiday season. “I would very much like a treat, and the Minnesota Twins should sign Byron Buxton to an extension,” said Roxy. The dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier, hopes the gaudy garment draws attention to her message. “Everyone sees a dog in an ugly sweater and they lose their damn minds,” said Roxy. “Now that I have their attention, I can get them to see the golden opportunity of a long-term deal for one of the game’s dynamic talents. Make no mistake, I hate wearing people clothes and go to great lengths to avoid it, including carpet urination and defiling stuffed animals. But this is important.” Roxy said Buxton’s extensive injury history, while a concern, was outweighed by the center fielder’s overall game. “In the field he saves your starting pitcher a run every game,” said the dog, pausing to bark at the doorbell for 45 seconds before continuing. “And his offense has finally caught up to his elite defense. He hit 19 home runs in 60 games last year. This is the rare chance for a team like Minnesota to retain a superstar in his prime oh my god A BUNNY RABBIT!” Roxy observed a rabbit in the backyard, tore out the doggy door, and unsuccessfully chased it around the backyard. She wandered back into the house. “As I was saying, Buxton’s health actually affords the Twins a chance to get him on an affordable, incentive-laden deal,” said the dog, catching her breath. “If he had been healthy and producing like he did for 162 games in 2021, the price tag would have given the Pohlads a nosebleed.” Roxy noted that she also “did her business” while protecting the household from the bunny threat, and said you should clean it up before one of the kids stepped in it. She ended the interview to go nap in a sunbeam for three hours. View full article
  8. The Twins have already made several transactions that have altered their list of arbitration-eligible players. Early in November, the Twins decided to put right-handed pitcher John Gant on waivers. When he cleared, he elected to become a free agent. Gant came to the Twins at the July trade deadline as part of the J.A. Happ trade. He was set to make approximately $3.7 million in his final season of arbitration. Outfielder Rob Refsnyder played like a Legend for a while after the Twins called him up, even playing a lot of center field. However, after a couple of injuries, including a concussion, he wasn’t able to repeat that performance. The minor league veteran was projected to make about $800,000, but the Twins DFAd him this month too. It became a talker, but the Twins signed outfielder Jake Cave to a one-year, $800,000 deal for 2022. Like all arbitration deals, it isn’t completely guaranteed. Finally, just last week, the Twins DFAd the fan-favorite, Williams Astudillo. Set to make a projected 2022 salary around $1.2 million in his first arbitration season. Since he hasn’t hit since his debut season in 2018 and has little defensive value, it was an easy decision to remove him from the roster and after he cleared waivers, they simply released him. And then the Twins claimed right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton from the Texas Rangers in early November. Let’s take a look at him and the other arbitration-eligible Twins players that the Twins have a decision to make before Tuesday’s deadline. (in alphabetical order, note: age on April 1, 2022) LUIS ARRAEZ - UT (24) Service Time: 2 years, 121 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? Though Arraez struggled late in 2021 and ended out with a batting average below .300 for the first time in his professional career. He can play in left field and second base, and actually had a solid season playing third base in 2021. On the other side of his case, he had several IL trips again due to his knees and legs. Likelihood to be Tendered: 10 Summary: Just over the weekend, we learned that MLB had set the “Super 2” line at 2.116 (two years, 116 days) service time. Fortunately, the Twins' brass doesn't need to spend much time thinking about whether or not to tender a 2022 contract to Arraez. It's a given. What is his future with the organization? Could he be traded? If not, what position will he play, or will he continue to play all around the diamond? All to be figured out... after that contract is tendered on Tuesday. BYRON BUXTON - CF (28) Service Time: 5 years, 160 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $7.3 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million Why Tender? Because he’s Byron Buxton. Because his 2022 salary will be minimal relative to the value he will and has provided. Because they can then continue negotiating a potential long-term deal. Because even if they don’t reach a deal, he can easily be traded for a very nice return. Likelihood to be Tendered (1 unlikely to 10 very likely): 10. Easy choice. Summary: This one will require very little thought. What happens beyond tendering hims a 2022 contract has been the topic of debate for the past six months. JHAREL COTTON - RHP (30) Service Time: 3 years, 52 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: N/A Why Tender? Because he showed some good stuff out of the Rangers bullpen in his return to the big leagues following Tommy John surgery. Because of what he had shown as a starter in Oakland early in his career. Because he’s got a good fastball, but a great changeup. Likelihood to be Tendered: 5 Summary: There are reasons to believe that Cotton could be a solid middle-relief pitcher option, and who knows, maybe the Twins think that he could be healthy enough to get back to starting and be an option for a back of the Twins rotation too. However, the Twins may also ask for Cotton to agree to a 1 year, $900,000 or $1 million deal, and if he accepts, great. If not, non-tendered and he becomes a free agent. DANNY COULOMBE - LHP (32) Service Time: 3 years, 8 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $800,000 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Coulombe isn’t an exciting pitcher, but he’s long been a solid MLB left-handed reliever, and he pitched well for the Twins in the second half. Had quite a bit of MLB success before injury including being used very often for Oakland for a couple of seasons. He is very similar to Caleb Thielbar, so again, is it necessary to have another lefty in a ‘pen that already should include Thielbar and Taylor Rogers, with Jovani Moran in the near-ready position as well? Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Coulombe has been better than most Twins fans probably think. He’s just solid with limited upside. For $800,000, little reason not to tender him. That said, they may do what they did with Thielbar a year ago and lock him up to a deal below projection. TYLER DUFFEY - RHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 74 days Arbitration Year: 3rd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Duffey’s velocity may have been down a little bit in 2021, but he still put up solid numbers. He ranked right up there with the top relievers in baseball over the past three seasons. Hasn’t received many Save opportunities, which certainly keeps his arbitration salary down, but he’s been used in high-leverage situations. Can they reach an agreement on a one-year deal before an arbitration hearing? Could they look to lock up Duffey for two or three seasons? (maybe a two-year, $7 million deal, or even a three-year, $12 million deal). Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy decision because even if things go poorly, he should have some trade value so non-tendering makes no sense. With so many question marks in the Twins bullpen, losing Duffey would make things even more difficult. MITCH GARVER - C (31) Service Time: 4 years, 45 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Remember his 2019 season? Well, after a poor April, Garver returned to that high-level, 2019 form for much of the rest of the season. The lone concern is an injury history that really hurt him in 2020, but also a couple of times during the 2021 season. Garver’s name shows up in some trade rumors this offseason, and teams would likely line up if the Twins made it known he was available. Likelihood to Tender: 10 Summary; An easy decision to tender him a contract. Likely a much more intense conversation has likely occurred regarding the future of the Twins catcher position. While the idea of a Garver/Ryan Jeffers even split of playing time makes a ton of sense in theory, would it work in reality? Or, could the fact that they have both of them, along with Ben Rortvedt in Triple-A and clearly the best defensive catcher of the three, maybe one could be dealt in the offseason for some pitching. None of that alters how easy the decision will be to tender Garver. JUAN MINAYA - RHP (31) Service Time: 2 years, 140 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Minaya came up to the Twins in the season’s second half and really performed well. He showed good life on his pitches and was put into some big situations. The interesting thing is that he pitched much better for the Twins than he did in his time with the Saints. He had some good years with the White Sox. He has had some control issues in his career, but he’s also very capable of racking up strikeouts. Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Minaya was certainly a nice surprise for the Twins in the second half of the season, but was that enough to tender a seven-digit deal? Like Cotton and Coulombe, it might be another case where the Twins offer him $900,000 to $1 million for 2022, and if he takes it, great. If not, he can be non-tendered. TAYLOR ROGERS - LHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 145 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $6.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $7 million Why Tender? I think we would start with the fact that he has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past four or five seasons. Aside from some struggles in the shortened-2020 season, he’s been very good. He also has been very healthy until his late-July finder injury that cost him the final two months of the 2022 season. The lone question regarding Rogers will be how he recovers and returns from the finger injury since he did not have surgery. Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy choice. Reports indicated that teams were still interested in trading for Rogers, even after he got hurt. They certainly can trade him in the offseason or in July should they choose to do so. I personally think there should also be extension thoughts with Rogers. He’s become a leader on the team, and has earned it based on production. Of course, Aaron Loup getting two years and $17 million might tell us that Rogers should get quite a bit more than that. However, I would offer him a three-year, $24 million deal with an option at $9 million for a fourth year. CALEB THIELBAR - LHP (35) Service Time: 3 years, 131 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? By the end of the 2021 season, the Minnesota native was Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson’s most relied upon, if not reliable, bullpen arm. He really increased his ability to miss bats. His fastball sat between 91 and 95 mph, and that slow, 68 mph curveball is a good pitch to go with a strong slider. Likelihood to Tender: 8 Summary: Another easy choice. Just offer it to him, work on a good deal and call it good. Because of his age and that he’s got a few more seasons before free agency, there is no reason to do anything but go year-to-year with him. How long will the Twins be able to keep Thielbar away from a college coaching career? Your turn. If you’re in charge, would you tender contracts to all of these players? What kind of deals would you like to see? Discuss.
  9. Let me go out on a limb and be among the first to declare that Byron Buxton is no longer an enigma. He’s one of baseball’s most dynamic talents on both sides of the ball, possessing an ultra-rare blend of speed, power, and defensive instincts that rival — and, in many cases, surpass — those of the sport’s elite. However, Buxton’s body, which has blessed him with his many talents, is also his greatest curse. Since becoming the Minnesota Twins’ full-time center fielder in 2016, Buxton has appeared in a mere 447 of a possible 870 games (51.3%) due to myriad injuries. And yet, over that span, he has produced 12.8 fWAR, has averaged 133.3 wRC+ since 2019, and won one Platinum Glove. In short, when healthy, Byron Buxton has performed like an MVP candidate. But the Jekyll and Hyde nature of their star player — who is due to become a free agent after the 2022 season — has placed the Twins in a profound predicament: Do they try to extend Buxton and build around him, or trade him as part of a greater re-tooling project (one that was arguably initiated with the shipping of Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays)? For all intents and purposes, it appears as though both Buxton and the Twins have interest in inking a long-term deal. However, recent reporting by The Athletic suggests that the two sides remain at an impasse. The Twins reportedly offered Buxton a 7-year, $80 million deal laden with incentives in July, but the star center fielder and his agents rebuffed as they are more interested in a contract nearing $100 million in value. While it may seem a touch insane for the Twins to cave and submit a nine-figure offer at first blush, consider that Buxton has produced $102.8 million worth of value over this 5.160 years of service time, according to FanGraphs. Assuming he is able to keep pace for the foreseeable future, a 7-year, $100 million deal would be right in line with his production value, even if he remains unable to keep his body from betraying him. If he does find a magic elixir that keeps him healthy, well, then the deal would be a steal (pun intended). But perhaps the most pertinent question facing the Twins isn’t so much, “Is re-signing Buxton the correct move?”, but more, “Would trading him be the wrong one?” Minnesota is coming off a disappointing 73-89, last place finish in the hapless American League Central, 2021 campaign and find themselves with only two pitchers — righties Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, both of whom were rookies last season — slated to be in the starting rotation next summer. They already shipped away Berrios at last summer’s trade deadline and figure to be interested in offloading Josh Donaldson and a healthy chunk of the $77.7 million remaining on his contract. Trading Buxton either during the offseason or prior to the 2022 trade deadline would likely net the Twins a significant return of high-level prospects to further bolster their already deep farm system. These nebulous prospects could then be swapped for more veteran MLB talent or developed to form the foundation for the next iteration of the Minnesota Twins. But the world is an uncertain place, often rendering the most logical hypotheticals moot. Trading Buxton may make the most sense at this specific point in time from a long-term team building perspective, but doing so also introduces far more uncontrolled variables into the equation that is the Minnesota Twins than simply re-signing him would. Byron Buxton is an oft-injured MVP-caliber talent; the amorphous prospects could be anything, even a boat. (Or, more than likely, a boat that requires a healthy amount of time in the shop to reach its full potential.) Both moving on from as well as re-upping with Buxton present benefits and pratfalls that could either push the Minnesota Twins back into the contender’s race or further into baseball purgatory. But the talent that Buxton possesses is the kind that many teams blatantly lose for and spend years trying to acquire. If you’ve got a boat, you may as well use it, even if it requires spending quite a bit of dough on spare parts. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here View full article
  10. 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. 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. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. Roxy, a 5-year-old dog in a festive Christmas sweater, has two messages this holiday season. “I would very much like a treat, and the Minnesota Twins should sign Byron Buxton to an extension,” said Roxy. The dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier, hopes the gaudy garment draws attention to her message. “Everyone sees a dog in an ugly sweater and they lose their damn minds,” said Roxy. “Now that I have their attention, I can get them to see the golden opportunity of a long-term deal for one of the game’s dynamic talents. Make no mistake, I hate wearing people clothes and go to great lengths to avoid it, including carpet urination and defiling stuffed animals. But this is important.” Roxy said Buxton’s extensive injury history, while a concern, was outweighed by the center fielder’s overall game. “In the field he saves your starting pitcher a run every game,” said the dog, pausing to bark at the doorbell for 45 seconds before continuing. “And his offense has finally caught up to his elite defense. He hit 19 home runs in 60 games last year. This is the rare chance for a team like Minnesota to retain a superstar in his prime oh my god A BUNNY RABBIT!” Roxy observed a rabbit in the backyard, tore out the doggy door, and unsuccessfully chased it around the backyard. She wandered back into the house. “As I was saying, Buxton’s health actually affords the Twins a chance to get him on an affordable, incentive-laden deal,” said the dog, catching her breath. “If he had been healthy and producing like he did for 162 games in 2021, the price tag would have given the Pohlads a nosebleed.” Roxy noted that she also “did her business” while protecting the household from the bunny threat, and said you should clean it up before one of the kids stepped in it. She ended the interview to go nap in a sunbeam for three hours.
  12. 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. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. However, Buxton’s body, which has blessed him with his many talents, is also his greatest curse. Since becoming the Minnesota Twins’ full-time center fielder in 2016, Buxton has appeared in a mere 447 of a possible 870 games (51.3%) due to myriad injuries. And yet, over that span, he has produced 12.8 fWAR, has averaged 133.3 wRC+ since 2019, and won one Platinum Glove. In short, when healthy, Byron Buxton has performed like an MVP candidate. But the Jekyll and Hyde nature of their star player — who is due to become a free agent after the 2022 season — has placed the Twins in a profound predicament: Do they try to extend Buxton and build around him, or trade him as part of a greater re-tooling project (one that was arguably initiated with the shipping of Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays)? For all intents and purposes, it appears as though both Buxton and the Twins have interest in inking a long-term deal. However, recent reporting by The Athletic suggests that the two sides remain at an impasse. The Twins reportedly offered Buxton a 7-year, $80 million deal laden with incentives in July, but the star center fielder and his agents rebuffed as they are more interested in a contract nearing $100 million in value. While it may seem a touch insane for the Twins to cave and submit a nine-figure offer at first blush, consider that Buxton has produced $102.8 million worth of value over this 5.160 years of service time, according to FanGraphs. Assuming he is able to keep pace for the foreseeable future, a 7-year, $100 million deal would be right in line with his production value, even if he remains unable to keep his body from betraying him. If he does find a magic elixir that keeps him healthy, well, then the deal would be a steal (pun intended). But perhaps the most pertinent question facing the Twins isn’t so much, “Is re-signing Buxton the correct move?”, but more, “Would trading him be the wrong one?” Minnesota is coming off a disappointing 73-89, last place finish in the hapless American League Central, 2021 campaign and find themselves with only two pitchers — righties Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, both of whom were rookies last season — slated to be in the starting rotation next summer. They already shipped away Berrios at last summer’s trade deadline and figure to be interested in offloading Josh Donaldson and a healthy chunk of the $77.7 million remaining on his contract. Trading Buxton either during the offseason or prior to the 2022 trade deadline would likely net the Twins a significant return of high-level prospects to further bolster their already deep farm system. These nebulous prospects could then be swapped for more veteran MLB talent or developed to form the foundation for the next iteration of the Minnesota Twins. But the world is an uncertain place, often rendering the most logical hypotheticals moot. Trading Buxton may make the most sense at this specific point in time from a long-term team building perspective, but doing so also introduces far more uncontrolled variables into the equation that is the Minnesota Twins than simply re-signing him would. Byron Buxton is an oft-injured MVP-caliber talent; the amorphous prospects could be anything, even a boat. (Or, more than likely, a boat that requires a healthy amount of time in the shop to reach its full potential.) Both moving on from as well as re-upping with Buxton present benefits and pratfalls that could either push the Minnesota Twins back into the contender’s race or further into baseball purgatory. But the talent that Buxton possesses is the kind that many teams blatantly lose for and spend years trying to acquire. If you’ve got a boat, you may as well use it, even if it requires spending quite a bit of dough on spare parts. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here
  14. The Minnesota Twins have yet to make any significant additions this offseason, but that's not to say the league as a whole has been standing still. As we await an impending lockout, let's get up to speed on the state of the Twins, recapping the latest roster moves, an unpopular retention decision, and key pitching targets coming off the board. Twins Protect Prospects, Fill 40-Man Roster Last Friday marked the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man rosters in order to block them from being claimed in the Rule 5 draft. Minnesota elected to protect six prospects. IN: Royce Lewis, SS Jose Miranda, 3B Josh Winder, RHP Cole Sands, RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP While the first four adds above were essentially considered locks, the Twins went the extra mile by adding Enlow (recovering from Tommy John surgery) and Vallimont (24-year-old with no success yet above Single-A). After getting burned on the loss of Akil Baddoo last year, it seems Minnesota wanted to take no undue risks this time around, especially when it comes to their critical minor-league pitching depth. In order to facilitate this wave of additions, the team also cleared room by offloading four players. OUT: Devin Smeltzer, LHP (Outrighted) Kyle Garlick, OF (Outrighted) Charlie Barnes, LHP (DFA) Willians Astudillo, UTIL (DFA) These moves leave the 40-man roster full, with 17 position players and 23 pitchers. Here's the makeup as it currently stands. From here on out, the Twins will need to remove a player and risk losing him for each new addition. Any of Danny Coulombe, Ralph Garza Jr., Juan Minaya, Cody Stashak, Drew Strotman, and Lewis Thorpe could be on the chopping block. It's hard to envision any more drops on the positional side (barring trades), after one clear candidate got himself a controversial new contract for 2022. Cave Lands Deal for 2022 It was widely expected the Twins would move on from Jake Cave this offseason. He produced a total of 0.2 fWAR in 118 games over the past two seasons, his performance progressively worsening. Alas, the team agreed to terms with him Friday on a one-year, $800K contract. It's a bit less than Cave was projected to earn in arbitration this winter, but still could hardly be considered much of a value, considering how awful his play has been. My read on this is that the Twins are simply trying to preserve some experienced outfield depth, with both Byron Buxton and Max Kepler ranking among their most likely players to be traded this offseason. Still, Jake Cave? It bears noting that arbitration contracts are not guaranteed. The Twins can still cut Cave before the next season starts while shedding most of his salary commitment. That rarely happens, but it may be somewhat more likely in this case given the circumstances. Here's a look at the updated 2022 roster and payroll projection, with Cave (for now) penciled in as fourth outfielder: Rotation Options Fly Off the Free Agency Board Free agent starters Noah Syndergaard, Justin Verlander and Eduardo Rodriguez have all signed with aspiring 2022 contenders from the American League. None of those teams are the Twins. Detroit made an emphatic statement about its status as a reborn legit player in the AL Central, signing Rodriguez to a five-year, $77 million contract. Not only is E-Rod a quality arm added atop a talented young Tigers rotation, but he was also one of the more realistic high-end starter targets for the Twins. (Though they reportedly were not in on him.) Syndergaard got a one-year, $21.5 million contract from the Angels, while Verlander re-signed with Houston on a one-year deal worth $25 million, plus a 2023 player option. It's likely that neither of these ace-caliber hurlers had much interest in signing with the reigning last-place finishers in the Central, but those kinds of short-term commitments are in the wheelhouse of the flexibility-focused Twins. With that trio off the board, here's what remains at the top end of the free agent starting pitching market (* denotes QO and draft pick compensation): Max Scherzer, RHP Kevin Gausman, RHP Robbie Ray, LHP* Marcus Stroman, RHP Clayton Kershaw, LHP Carlos Rodón, LHP Anthony DeSclafani, RHP Steven Matz, LHP Zack Greinke, RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Yusei Kikuchi, LHP Jon Gray, RHP Alex Wood, LHP Still plenty of quantity out there, but if the Twins want to score a name from this list they might want to act quickly, because other clubs aren't wasting time. One lower-level name also came off the board on Sunday when José Quintana signed with the Pirates for $2 million. Winter of Discontent? We all knew this was likely to be an unusual offseason, given the looming labor strife. Plenty of organizations seem to be biding their time. The Twins front office, especially, has had a habit of waiting out the market and treating patience as an asset, so their general lack of activity comes as no big surprise. With that said, the early events of this offseason have done nothing but fuel the sour vibes of frustrated fans who are eager for a turnaround, and a showing of intention. Since wrapping up one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history, here's what we've witnessed: Three top free agent starters signing with other teams, including one with a division rival. An unpopular player in Cave re-signing for 2022. José Berríos signing a long-term extension with Toronto, and more or less indicating that his prior dedication to reaching free agency was largely due to Minnesota never making an offer that seriously tempted him. Reports of Buxton negotiations inexplicably remaining fruitless despite the apparent presence of a reasonable framework, with a trade considered likely. None of these are necessarily unforgivable offenses on their own (the Buxton thing might be, if it plays out like it's trending). But they all feed into negative narratives around the Twins: a team that is unwilling to do what it takes to keep premier homegrown talent, or to sign high-end free agent pitching. A team that's overly committed to perceived "bargains," and maintaining the status quo rather than taking bold action. There's time to turn the tides on these narratives yet, but if the Twins stand still until the CBA expires midway through next week, they're staring down the prospect of letting this sourness and discontent fester through an extended lockout, which will already be alienating enough for fans on its own. If that's the case, well... good luck with those season ticket sales. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  15. Byron Buxton’s future with the Minnesota Twins was among the topics discussed on Tuesday’s episode of The Athletic Baseball Show. Ken Rosenthal did not paint an optimistic picture for Twins fans hoping for a Buxton extension this winter. Here’s a link to that episode of the podcast, the Buxton discussion starts around the 14-minute mark. Rosenthal said he believes a Buxton trade is “likely” this offseason and that he “expects it to happen.” The reasoning he provided was that Buxton rejected the seven-year, $80 million contract extension the Twins offered him in July and the team “felt this was kind of a gamble to take even offering him $80 million.” Rosenthal pointed to the current state of the Twins and argued it’s not a playoff-caliber team due to its subpar pitching staff. He also shared his opinion that it would be better for the Twins to take a step back, trade Buxton, and re-tool for 2023 and beyond. Also on Tuesday, Rosenthal and Dan Hayes published an article at The Athletic on Buxton’s future with the Twins. That piece indicates “many in the industry” are also expecting the Twins to end up trading Buxton. There are several interesting details in that piece, but one that stands out is The Athletic’s sources indicated the Twins weren’t willing to push even the potential value of a Buxton extension — including performance-based incentives — over $100 million. Taking a look through a list of the MLB active player contracts at Spotrac, here are some outfielders who’ve signed contracts in the $70-$110 million range in recent years: Player Signed Age Years Value AAV Charlie Blackmon 31 6 $108M $18M Justin Upton 30 5 $106M $21.2M Dexter Fowler 30 5 $82.5M $16.5M Lorenzo Cain 31 5 $80M $16M Aaron Hicks 29 7 $70M $10M Twins Reported Offer to Buxton Byron Buxton 28 7 $80M $11.4M And here’s a look at the value each of those players provided the season prior to signing those deals. These are FanGraphs WAR, Baseball-Reference WAR and Baseball Prospectus’ WARP. Player (year prior to signing) fWAR bWAR WARP Charlie Blackmon ('17) 6.6 5.5 6.7 Justin Upton ('17) 5.2 5.7 4.9 Aaron Hicks ('18) 5.0 4.4 2.9 Dexter Fowler ('16) 4.6 4.0 1.6 Lorenzo Cain ('17) 4.2 5.5 6.0 Byron Buxton ('21) 4.2 4.5 2.8 The thing to keep in mind with Buxton, of course, is this only accounts for the partial season he played. As you can see, even if that’s how the Twins would prefer to evaluate him — based on his actual past production as opposed to his potential upside if he were to turn in a healthy season — their current offer still doesn’t even stack up all that well. If Dexter Fowler was able to secure a $16.5 million AAV four years ago, when he was two years older than Buxton is now, I’d imagine the Twins offer of an $11.4 million AAV was an easy one for Byron and his agency to reject. As someone who is really hoping to see Byron Buxton in a Minnesota Twins uniform for a long time, this is all very concerning. The Rosenthal/Hayes article did mention both sides continue to communicate, but reading between the lines and looking at some of these numbers I cannot imagine they are all that close to coming to terms. Under different circumstances, I’d think it might make sense to enter the year with the player on an expiring contract and play things out to see if you can complete. If so, great, you keep him and extend him a qualifying offer at the end of the season, avoiding losing the player for absolutely nothing. If you don’t compete, just trade the guy at the deadline. With these particular circumstances, there are some problems. With the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring on Dec. 1, it’s not even certain that the qualifying offer system will be in place in the future. That leaves the door open to potentially losing Buxton for absolutely nothing. The other issue is this is Buxton we’re talking about. As much as I love him and hope they can keep him around, you wouldn’t want to bank on him being healthy come the trade deadline. This is a difficult situation and there are a lot of ways this could go poorly for the Twins. The most forgivable one, in my opinion, would be if they extend Byron and he simply never lives up to his salary. As Twins fans, I think for the most part we’re willing to be forgiving if we feel there’s a real effort made (though, like with anything, there are segments of the fanbase who will never be satisfied). One way or another, this decision has the potential to weigh heavily on the future of this front office, and this organization as a whole. How would you feel if the Twins traded Buxton away this offseason? View full article
  16. On Friday, teams had to make their 40-man roster additions. Along with adding players, teams usually have to let players go in order to make room for more. At least one of those players should be on the Twins radar, again. Last offseason, the Twins made the decision to move Jorge Polanco to second base. They wanted better defense at the shortstop position. With that in mind, the Twins signed Andrelton Simmons to a one-year deal. It didn’t go well. While Simmons provided the solid defense, he did very little with the bat. His .558 OPS was over .100 lower than it had been in all but one of his previous nine MLB seasons. His previous low was .617 in 2014. Even after his rough 2021 season, his career OPS of .683 should make the Twins consider bringing him back on a much lower contract, maybe in the $3 million range. courtesy Byron Buxton Instagram However, there was a shortstop that became available due to Friday’s roster transactions. One would be a player returning to the organization that he spent nearly a decade in and made his big-league debut with. Let’s discuss both, and then in the comments you can tell me if this player should be considered. But before that, I want to point out that my personal opinion is that the Twins need to spend available dollars this offseason on pitching. So while I would love to see the Twins grab one of those big-name, big-dollar free agent shortstops, I’m going to assume that they won’t and that they will spend big on pitching. (maybe not a fair assumption, but one that I will go with for this article.) Niko Goodrum According to MLB Trade Rumors, Niko Goodrum was projected to make $2.9 million in 2022 through arbitration. He wasn’t going to get that coming off of an injury-plagued 2021 season in which he hit just .214/.292/.359 (.651) with 11 doubles and nine home runs. He had several stints on the Injured List with calf and groin injuries. In the Covid-shortened 2020 season, he hit just .184/.263/.335 (.598) with seven doubles and five home runs. These two seasons have been rough for Goodrum offensively, no doubt, but still 10-20% better than what Simmons provided in 2021. That’s obviously a low bar. So why would I personally be interested in bringing Goodrum back to the organization where he debuted in 2017 and went 1-for-17 (.059) in September. He signed with the Tigers and had two really strong seasons. In 2018, he hit .245/.315/.432 (.749) with 29 doubles and 16 homers. In 2019, he hit .248/.322/.421 (.743) with 27 doubles, five triples and 12 homers. He stole 12 bases in 2018 and 2019, and 14 bases in 2021. Goodrum will turn 30 early in spring training 2022. While the upside may be somewhat limited and include a lot of swing-and more,, there is also great athleticism, tools, speed and power with Goodrum. The Twins drafted and signed Cartier “Niko” Goodrum out of high school in Georgia in 2010. Jorge Polanco had signed a year earlier. The two climbed up the organization ladder together. Goodrum played mostly shortstop while Polanco played shortstop. Could the keystone combination exist again? In 2020, Goodrum was a finalist for an AL Gold Glove at shortstop. He is a natural shortstop with good range and a strong arm. If the Twins signed him and told him to prepare to compete for the team’s starting shortstop job, he might be a terrific choice. Hey, if the other choices right now include a return of Simmons, then I would certainly support giving Goodrum a shot. What would it cost? I would think a one-year, $1.5 to $2.0 million would do it, especially if he was given the opportunity to start most days at shortstop. If he’s given an opportunity to start most every day at shortstop, it’s likely he would just want a one year deal, hope it goes well, and enter free agency again after the 2022 season when it isn’t the greatest free agent shortstop class ever. Because of the dollars, it would be a low-risk deal. Because of his defense, speed and power potential, there is a chance for reward. If it doesn’t go well, he can finish the year as a utility player, capable of playing seven positions (yes, all better than Willians Astudillo). If Royce Lewis is deemed ready-to-go sometime in 2021, Goodrum can become a utility player. In addition, Goodrum might have interest in a return because he has several former teammates from his minor league days with the. He played over his years with Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Mitch Garver, Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, and Tommy Watkins was a coach and manager. An added bonus is that Goodrum has always been great in the community, going back to his Twins days when he was a Harmon Killebrew Community Service Award recipient in 2013 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Many times the concept of “Bring Back the Gang” gets a negative connotation. Sometimes that is fair. Other times, it just makes sense. If healthy, Niko Goodrum can provide really good defense at shortstop, some power at the plate and speed. Yes, that comes with some injury risk and a lot of strikeouts. But at the price tag, it is certainly worth strong consideration. So what do you think? Should the Twins consider a reunion with Niko Goodrum? View full article
  17. Twins Protect Prospects, Fill 40-Man Roster Last Friday marked the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man rosters in order to block them from being claimed in the Rule 5 draft. Minnesota elected to protect six prospects. IN: Royce Lewis, SS Jose Miranda, 3B Josh Winder, RHP Cole Sands, RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP While the first four adds above were essentially considered locks, the Twins went the extra mile by adding Enlow (recovering from Tommy John surgery) and Vallimont (24-year-old with no success yet above Single-A). After getting burned on the loss of Akil Baddoo last year, it seems Minnesota wanted to take no undue risks this time around, especially when it comes to their critical minor-league pitching depth. In order to facilitate this wave of additions, the team also cleared room by offloading four players. OUT: Devin Smeltzer, LHP (Outrighted) Kyle Garlick, OF (Outrighted) Charlie Barnes, LHP (DFA) Willians Astudillo, UTIL (DFA) These moves leave the 40-man roster full, with 17 position players and 23 pitchers. Here's the makeup as it currently stands. From here on out, the Twins will need to remove a player and risk losing him for each new addition. Any of Danny Coulombe, Ralph Garza Jr., Juan Minaya, Cody Stashak, Drew Strotman, and Lewis Thorpe could be on the chopping block. It's hard to envision any more drops on the positional side (barring trades), after one clear candidate got himself a controversial new contract for 2022. Cave Lands Deal for 2022 It was widely expected the Twins would move on from Jake Cave this offseason. He produced a total of 0.2 fWAR in 118 games over the past two seasons, his performance progressively worsening. Alas, the team agreed to terms with him Friday on a one-year, $800K contract. It's a bit less than Cave was projected to earn in arbitration this winter, but still could hardly be considered much of a value, considering how awful his play has been. My read on this is that the Twins are simply trying to preserve some experienced outfield depth, with both Byron Buxton and Max Kepler ranking among their most likely players to be traded this offseason. Still, Jake Cave? It bears noting that arbitration contracts are not guaranteed. The Twins can still cut Cave before the next season starts while shedding most of his salary commitment. That rarely happens, but it may be somewhat more likely in this case given the circumstances. Here's a look at the updated 2022 roster and payroll projection, with Cave (for now) penciled in as fourth outfielder: Rotation Options Fly Off the Free Agency Board Free agent starters Noah Syndergaard, Justin Verlander and Eduardo Rodriguez have all signed with aspiring 2022 contenders from the American League. None of those teams are the Twins. Detroit made an emphatic statement about its status as a reborn legit player in the AL Central, signing Rodriguez to a five-year, $77 million contract. Not only is E-Rod a quality arm added atop a talented young Tigers rotation, but he was also one of the more realistic high-end starter targets for the Twins. (Though they reportedly were not in on him.) Syndergaard got a one-year, $21.5 million contract from the Angels, while Verlander re-signed with Houston on a one-year deal worth $25 million, plus a 2023 player option. It's likely that neither of these ace-caliber hurlers had much interest in signing with the reigning last-place finishers in the Central, but those kinds of short-term commitments are in the wheelhouse of the flexibility-focused Twins. With that trio off the board, here's what remains at the top end of the free agent starting pitching market (* denotes QO and draft pick compensation): Max Scherzer, RHP Kevin Gausman, RHP Robbie Ray, LHP* Marcus Stroman, RHP Clayton Kershaw, LHP Carlos Rodón, LHP Anthony DeSclafani, RHP Steven Matz, LHP Zack Greinke, RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Yusei Kikuchi, LHP Jon Gray, RHP Alex Wood, LHP Still plenty of quantity out there, but if the Twins want to score a name from this list they might want to act quickly, because other clubs aren't wasting time. One lower-level name also came off the board on Sunday when José Quintana signed with the Pirates for $2 million. Winter of Discontent? We all knew this was likely to be an unusual offseason, given the looming labor strife. Plenty of organizations seem to be biding their time. The Twins front office, especially, has had a habit of waiting out the market and treating patience as an asset, so their general lack of activity comes as no big surprise. With that said, the early events of this offseason have done nothing but fuel the sour vibes of frustrated fans who are eager for a turnaround, and a showing of intention. Since wrapping up one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history, here's what we've witnessed: Three top free agent starters signing with other teams, including one with a division rival. An unpopular player in Cave re-signing for 2022. José Berríos signing a long-term extension with Toronto, and more or less indicating that his prior dedication to reaching free agency was largely due to Minnesota never making an offer that seriously tempted him. Reports of Buxton negotiations inexplicably remaining fruitless despite the apparent presence of a reasonable framework, with a trade considered likely. None of these are necessarily unforgivable offenses on their own (the Buxton thing might be, if it plays out like it's trending). But they all feed into negative narratives around the Twins: a team that is unwilling to do what it takes to keep premier homegrown talent, or to sign high-end free agent pitching. A team that's overly committed to perceived "bargains," and maintaining the status quo rather than taking bold action. There's time to turn the tides on these narratives yet, but if the Twins stand still until the CBA expires midway through next week, they're staring down the prospect of letting this sourness and discontent fester through an extended lockout, which will already be alienating enough for fans on its own. If that's the case, well... good luck with those season ticket sales. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. When Jose Berrios was traded last season, the front office described the next chapter as a retool rather than a rebuild. Now rumors swirl of a Byron Buxton trade. Make no mistake, if these rumors come to fruition, there is no such thing as a retool. The Twins find themselves in a difficult situation this winter. After trading their #1 starting pitcher in Jose Berrios, they’re left with only two rotation spots tentatively spoken for, each by a rookie. A pitching staff that sunk the former back-to-back AL Central champs has to be completely reworked on the front end with significant needs in a bullpen that struggled as well. Shortstop, the quarterback of the infield, is also vacant and will require a legitimate impact addition in order to help propel the team back into contention. In addition to on-field tangibles, they’ve also lost the leader of their pitching staff in Berrios, as well as the leader of the team as a whole in Nelson Cruz. A path to a comeback in 2022 is a bumpy one, but it could certainly be done. What can’t be recovered from, however, is adding center field to the list of vacancies. Center field is one of the most important everyday players on any baseball team. In Minnesota, the player manning the position has been the reason the team has sunk or swam. Since the Twins rise to success in 2019, they’ve been 100-64 with Buxton on the field and 106-106 without him. Correlation does not equal causation, but there’s no denying those numbers are indicative of Buxton’s impact when you watch him on the field. Some have called for Buxton to be traded in the past, mainly due to his long list of injuries. There’s no stopping such an opinion, but those who hold it have to realize what they’re advocating. The Twins almost certainly surpass the point of no return if they choose to field a team without Byron Buxton. The best case scenario following a Buxton trade, regardless of the return, is to sell off literally everyone else. Pay part of Josh Donaldson’s contract to get the best possible return. Take advantage of the need for catchers across the league and get a haul for Mitch Garver. See if anyone is willing to make an offer for Taylor Rogers. 2022 will certainly be a wash, and these players would offer more value on the trade market than on a losing team. Does that reality sound painful? Try the alternative where the Twins trade one of the best players in baseball and try to compete in 2022. The path to doing so without emptying the farm system or spending an unrealistic amount in free agency simply doesn’t exist. Pretending that the team marches into the playoffs in 2022 without Buxton manning center field would set Twins baseball back years. At least Option A gives full attention to collecting young talent to try to develop a new core for the near future. The team still has a path to contention in 2022, and even if that doesn’t work out, their upcoming prospects should position them well for 2023. Extending Byron Buxton is a vote of confidence not only in the front office's ability to rebound, but in the current core that’s in place. Trading Byron Buxton is waving a white flag on both fronts. The next move by the front office won’t be forced. It’s a choice. Byron Buxton isn’t asking for anything near record-setting money. There is no better player they’ll ever find to man center field, and the one they have is a home-grown fan favorite. Such a move by the front office would be giving up on a two-year window that earned them so much praise despite it never having been capitalized on. In six years this front office has inherited a stinker of a team and converted it into a core of players that once had fans thinking the stars are the limit. Now they sit on the edge of a decision that would rightfully leave fans wondering “What was it all for?”. For more Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  19. Last offseason, the Twins made the decision to move Jorge Polanco to second base. They wanted better defense at the shortstop position. With that in mind, the Twins signed Andrelton Simmons to a one-year deal. It didn’t go well. While Simmons provided the solid defense, he did very little with the bat. His .558 OPS was over .100 lower than it had been in all but one of his previous nine MLB seasons. His previous low was .617 in 2014. Even after his rough 2021 season, his career OPS of .683 should make the Twins consider bringing him back on a much lower contract, maybe in the $3 million range. courtesy Byron Buxton Instagram However, there was a shortstop that became available due to Friday’s roster transactions. One would be a player returning to the organization that he spent nearly a decade in and made his big-league debut with. Let’s discuss both, and then in the comments you can tell me if this player should be considered. But before that, I want to point out that my personal opinion is that the Twins need to spend available dollars this offseason on pitching. So while I would love to see the Twins grab one of those big-name, big-dollar free agent shortstops, I’m going to assume that they won’t and that they will spend big on pitching. (maybe not a fair assumption, but one that I will go with for this article.) Niko Goodrum According to MLB Trade Rumors, Niko Goodrum was projected to make $2.9 million in 2022 through arbitration. He wasn’t going to get that coming off of an injury-plagued 2021 season in which he hit just .214/.292/.359 (.651) with 11 doubles and nine home runs. He had several stints on the Injured List with calf and groin injuries. In the Covid-shortened 2020 season, he hit just .184/.263/.335 (.598) with seven doubles and five home runs. These two seasons have been rough for Goodrum offensively, no doubt, but still 10-20% better than what Simmons provided in 2021. That’s obviously a low bar. So why would I personally be interested in bringing Goodrum back to the organization where he debuted in 2017 and went 1-for-17 (.059) in September. He signed with the Tigers and had two really strong seasons. In 2018, he hit .245/.315/.432 (.749) with 29 doubles and 16 homers. In 2019, he hit .248/.322/.421 (.743) with 27 doubles, five triples and 12 homers. He stole 12 bases in 2018 and 2019, and 14 bases in 2021. Goodrum will turn 30 early in spring training 2022. While the upside may be somewhat limited and include a lot of swing-and more,, there is also great athleticism, tools, speed and power with Goodrum. The Twins drafted and signed Cartier “Niko” Goodrum out of high school in Georgia in 2010. Jorge Polanco had signed a year earlier. The two climbed up the organization ladder together. Goodrum played mostly shortstop while Polanco played shortstop. Could the keystone combination exist again? In 2020, Goodrum was a finalist for an AL Gold Glove at shortstop. He is a natural shortstop with good range and a strong arm. If the Twins signed him and told him to prepare to compete for the team’s starting shortstop job, he might be a terrific choice. Hey, if the other choices right now include a return of Simmons, then I would certainly support giving Goodrum a shot. What would it cost? I would think a one-year, $1.5 to $2.0 million would do it, especially if he was given the opportunity to start most days at shortstop. If he’s given an opportunity to start most every day at shortstop, it’s likely he would just want a one year deal, hope it goes well, and enter free agency again after the 2022 season when it isn’t the greatest free agent shortstop class ever. Because of the dollars, it would be a low-risk deal. Because of his defense, speed and power potential, there is a chance for reward. If it doesn’t go well, he can finish the year as a utility player, capable of playing seven positions (yes, all better than Willians Astudillo). If Royce Lewis is deemed ready-to-go sometime in 2021, Goodrum can become a utility player. In addition, Goodrum might have interest in a return because he has several former teammates from his minor league days with the. He played over his years with Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Mitch Garver, Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, and Tommy Watkins was a coach and manager. An added bonus is that Goodrum has always been great in the community, going back to his Twins days when he was a Harmon Killebrew Community Service Award recipient in 2013 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Many times the concept of “Bring Back the Gang” gets a negative connotation. Sometimes that is fair. Other times, it just makes sense. If healthy, Niko Goodrum can provide really good defense at shortstop, some power at the plate and speed. Yes, that comes with some injury risk and a lot of strikeouts. But at the price tag, it is certainly worth strong consideration. So what do you think? Should the Twins consider a reunion with Niko Goodrum?
  20. The Twins find themselves in a difficult situation this winter. After trading their #1 starting pitcher in Jose Berrios, they’re left with only two rotation spots tentatively spoken for, each by a rookie. A pitching staff that sunk the former back-to-back AL Central champs has to be completely reworked on the front end with significant needs in a bullpen that struggled as well. Shortstop, the quarterback of the infield, is also vacant and will require a legitimate impact addition in order to help propel the team back into contention. In addition to on-field tangibles, they’ve also lost the leader of their pitching staff in Berrios, as well as the leader of the team as a whole in Nelson Cruz. A path to a comeback in 2022 is a bumpy one, but it could certainly be done. What can’t be recovered from, however, is adding center field to the list of vacancies. Center field is one of the most important everyday players on any baseball team. In Minnesota, the player manning the position has been the reason the team has sunk or swam. Since the Twins rise to success in 2019, they’ve been 100-64 with Buxton on the field and 106-106 without him. Correlation does not equal causation, but there’s no denying those numbers are indicative of Buxton’s impact when you watch him on the field. Some have called for Buxton to be traded in the past, mainly due to his long list of injuries. There’s no stopping such an opinion, but those who hold it have to realize what they’re advocating. The Twins almost certainly surpass the point of no return if they choose to field a team without Byron Buxton. The best case scenario following a Buxton trade, regardless of the return, is to sell off literally everyone else. Pay part of Josh Donaldson’s contract to get the best possible return. Take advantage of the need for catchers across the league and get a haul for Mitch Garver. See if anyone is willing to make an offer for Taylor Rogers. 2022 will certainly be a wash, and these players would offer more value on the trade market than on a losing team. Does that reality sound painful? Try the alternative where the Twins trade one of the best players in baseball and try to compete in 2022. The path to doing so without emptying the farm system or spending an unrealistic amount in free agency simply doesn’t exist. Pretending that the team marches into the playoffs in 2022 without Buxton manning center field would set Twins baseball back years. At least Option A gives full attention to collecting young talent to try to develop a new core for the near future. The team still has a path to contention in 2022, and even if that doesn’t work out, their upcoming prospects should position them well for 2023. Extending Byron Buxton is a vote of confidence not only in the front office's ability to rebound, but in the current core that’s in place. Trading Byron Buxton is waving a white flag on both fronts. The next move by the front office won’t be forced. It’s a choice. Byron Buxton isn’t asking for anything near record-setting money. There is no better player they’ll ever find to man center field, and the one they have is a home-grown fan favorite. Such a move by the front office would be giving up on a two-year window that earned them so much praise despite it never having been capitalized on. In six years this front office has inherited a stinker of a team and converted it into a core of players that once had fans thinking the stars are the limit. Now they sit on the edge of a decision that would rightfully leave fans wondering “What was it all for?”. For more Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  21. As the Twins weigh their options for the talented center fielder, at least one fan thinks the correct answer is staring them right in the face. Classic North Metro halfwit Tom Hanson has seen enough. With the Twins allegedly looking to move Byron Buxton, the self-taught expert on epidemiology thinks the franchise is overlooking the best path forward. “He oughta pay them to play centerfield,” said the frequently-divorced electrician. “Bet he lands on the injured list reaching for his wallet, lol.” Hanson, who frequently interrupted his interview to speculate on the accuracy of Dominion Voting Systems machinery, credits Buxton’s injury history with this outside-the-box notion. “He’s hurt all the time, and the whole insurance game is a racket,” mused Hanson. “I bet they’ve paid more on premiums for him than salary. And I bet he hasn’t thanked them for either one.” Hanson, who has been banned from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, the Star Tribune comments section, Rube Chat, YouTube, and the Perkins chain of family restaurants, said Buxton reminds him of another Twins great, and not in a good way. “Joe Mauer must have taught (Buxton) that if you say you’re hurt, these suckers will believe you every time,” said Hanson. “I almost respect it. Must be nice to make $23 million a year to hit singles and then not even do that because your quote-unquote concussion hurts. Must be real nice.” When told that one of the quoted figures for a potential Byron Buxton deal was 7 years for $100 million, Hanson was livid. “You could have a lunch pail, 110% effort guy like Zach Granite or Jake Cave who’ll go out there every day and compete for a fraction of that, or you could have a prima donna like Buxton,” exclaimed Hanson. “The fact that they’d choose the latter is just another example of the woke cancel culture infecting our society.” Hanson would not elaborate on what that meant but did say it also applied to his local school board, KARE 11 meteorologist Belinda Jensen, maternity leave, paternity leave, rap music, Home Depot, his first, third, and fourth wives, and Little Free Libraries. View full article
  22. As Derek Falvey and Thad Levine continue to drag their feet when it comes to a potential contract extension for Byron Buxton, we are becoming increasingly more likely to see the alternative to what happened with Joe Mauer. In March of 2010, Minnesota inked hometown hero Joe Mauer to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension. He’d played in 699 games to that point and tallied three batting titles along with an MVP. With free agency looming, the Twins did the right thing and signed him to a deal that kept him from being paid by the Boston’s or New York’s of the baseball world. Because we know that we can’t have nice things as Twins fans, Mauer’s career would be forever changed due to injuries. He’s still a Hall of Famer, and he was still underpaid, but what could’ve been is something we can always wonder about. Due to those injuries changing production Mauer’s contract was long a point of consternation for fans. Working through revisionist history, detractors will often suggest a desire to have let Mauer walk and watch larger markets pay him more. As luck would have it, those same people may now have their day. Coming into 2022, Byron Buxton will have played 493 games for the Minnesota Twins. He’s owned an .897 OPS over the past three seasons and has a Platinum Glove to his credit before turning 28-years-old. An expected prime still ahead of him, this is a player that’s one of the ten best in the sport when he’s healthy. That’s where we pick up this story. Unlike Mauer, Buxton has experienced injury issues early on in his career. Also, unlike Joe, those injuries are the only reason Minnesota has a chance to sign the superstar in the first place. Reportedly offering an $80 million deal, Minnesota has not yet pushed to the $100 million asking price even with a valuation that would far exceed that number with an average bill of health. Instead of being asked to pay $250 million or more to keep their home-grown talent, the Twins are being asked to pay pennies on the dollar to factor in the availability, or lack thereof, that comes with Buxton. Instead of jumping at that chance, they are said to be leaning in the opposite direction. This isn’t a scenario in which history can be aligned to Terry Ryan’s ultimate gaffe regarding David Ortiz. No one is getting released, and the Twins will undoubtedly get something in exchange for Byron. The problem is that no player as valuable can be had for the same dollar amount, and a move regarding someone so intertwined with the fan base will forever cause ripple effects that only Mauer could’ve mirrored. We should know soon how the front office is going to play this situation. Maybe they’ve purposely been leaking misinformation to increase their negotiating stance. However, time is running out on wondering what may happen as we are less than a year from knowing what will. Byron Buxton might not be from St. Paul, Minnesota. Still, the Baxley, Georgia, native is every bit as Twins Territory as it gets and there isn’t an opportunity to put the band-aid back on this bullet wound once the trigger is pulled. Target Field was sold as an opportunity to keep the internal stars. That rung hollow when flipping Jose Berrios, and it hits rock bottom in moving on from Buxton. Whether he stays healthy or not isn’t the question for now. It’s whether or not you are willing to keep your best talent or continually recycle it. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  23. In many cases, getting more information about a situation brings clarity. But in the case of the Minnesota Twins and their negotiations with star center fielder Byron Buxton, emerging details only generate further confusion. Based on what's been reported, it's really hard to make sense of what the team is doing here. On Tuesday, Dan Hayes and Ken Rosenthal bylined a report in The Athletic with the headline: Byron Buxton’s future with the Twins remains in limbo as team gauges trade interest, potential extension offers. The article depicts a team struggling to decide whether it should trade its best player with one year remaining under contract, or hold him for the 2022 season. The option that seems most obvious and desirable — striking a long-term extension with this generational talent in his prime — doesn't really seem to be on the table, even if it hasn't been ruled out. "Chairman Jim Pohlad, according to major-league sources, is reluctant to move Buxton, knowing such a decision potentially would upset a fan base tired of seeing the team part with homegrown stars," per The Athletic. Pohlad's absolutely right in his assessment of how trading Buxton will be perceived by Twins fans, who just watched Jose Berrios sign an extension with Toronto. Fortunately, it would seem nobody is in better position than he to ensure Buxton sticks around. Pohlad and his ownership group have the power to greenlight an offer that keeps Buxton in Minnesota long-term, and such a framework — from all indications — is extremely achievable under team-friendly terms. The article from Hayes and Rosenthal reiterates that a 7-year, $80 million offer was extended in July, which we've heard before, but later offers up this detail: "Sources said talks about an incentive-laden extension in July broke down because of the Twins’ unwillingness to push the potential total value to $100 million." Back in July, reports indicated Buxton's side was amenable to that guaranteed amount of $80 million (which surprised me), but that an agreement couldn't be reached over the incentive structure. In my mind, I figured Buxton's camp must have been demanding some extravagant bonuses that could've done something like double the base amount. Yet, the wording of this new report — talks about an incentive-laden extension in July broke down because of the Twins’ unwillingness to push the potential total value to $100 million — well, that sure sounds like the team was not open to a contract that would maximize at $100 million. And if true, that's nothing short of embarrassing. Shameful. And egregiously foolish. I mean, come on, that would average out to about $14 million per year. That's Ricky Nolasco money, for a homegrown MVP-caliber player in his prime years. I'm having a really hard time connecting the dots here. If Twins ownership is adamant about keeping Buxton, and the center fielder's side is open to a reasonable deal, then what is the hold-up? Why are the Twins mired in internal debate over whether to trade Buxton or let him leave as a free agent, rather than opting for the best choice, which is neither of those? Here are a few possibilities I can conjure. If you have others, I'd love to hear them in the comments. The reported numbers are inaccurate. Hayes and Rosenthal are two of the more respected writers in the biz, and I trust they're providing a realistic view of the overall dynamic, but that doesn't mean every single detail is spot-on. Perhaps there are some specifics getting obscured in the communication loop. Or maybe they're receiving false info from a biased source with an agenda. (Ostensibly, this would be Buxton's agent, but I'm not sure what their end-game would be in leaking a low-ball offer?) Also: the numbers that've been reported would have be a loooong ways off to not make sense for the Twins. The Twins front office doesn't believe in Buxton. Or at least doesn't have enough confidence in his durability and aging regression to feel that a long-term extension is in their interest. I find this kind of hard to believe, but when you look at the evidence available to us — an owner expressing his desire to retain a player who is seemingly open to reasonable terms, and a front office that isn't making it happen — it's a plausible explanation. Buxton has no interest in signing an extension in Minnesota. This would run contrary to what he's said publicly, but it'd hardly be the first time a pro athlete gave lip service to appease fans. Maybe the bridge truly was burned when the Twins held Buxton in the minors in September of 2018. Or maybe Buck has a yearning to return to the South where he was raised. Or maybe he simply recognizes an opportunity to earn a much bigger payday one year from now if he can deliver in 2022. Sadly, I think this is probably the most likely answer behind everything, and also the only one that completely ties the Twins' hands. Pohlad is bluffing, and doesn't really want to pay up. It's the favored explanation for many, I'm sure. Maybe it's true, and Pohlad is portraying himself to media as the good guy who fought for Buxton before an inevitable trade. But if the reported number he's targeting is anywhere close to correct, there's no reason that Twins shouldn't be able to keep Buxton while building a quality team around him under the payroll parameters that have become standard under this ownership. One thing I will say: if Pohlad is pushing to prevent a Buxton trade solely to mitigate fan blowback, knowing the team won't be able to re-sign him (which is one way to read the opening in the Athletic article), the front office needs to shut him out and not listen. Team strategy cannot be dictated by such factors. Trading Buxton will be a bitter pill to swallow, but it may result in making the best of a bad situation. A totally self-inflicted bad situation, if reports around these negotiations are to be believed. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  24. Classic North Metro halfwit Tom Hanson has seen enough. With the Twins allegedly looking to move Byron Buxton, the self-taught expert on epidemiology thinks the franchise is overlooking the best path forward. “He oughta pay them to play centerfield,” said the frequently-divorced electrician. “Bet he lands on the injured list reaching for his wallet, lol.” Hanson, who frequently interrupted his interview to speculate on the accuracy of Dominion Voting Systems machinery, credits Buxton’s injury history with this outside-the-box notion. “He’s hurt all the time, and the whole insurance game is a racket,” mused Hanson. “I bet they’ve paid more on premiums for him than salary. And I bet he hasn’t thanked them for either one.” Hanson, who has been banned from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, the Star Tribune comments section, Rube Chat, YouTube, and the Perkins chain of family restaurants, said Buxton reminds him of another Twins great, and not in a good way. “Joe Mauer must have taught (Buxton) that if you say you’re hurt, these suckers will believe you every time,” said Hanson. “I almost respect it. Must be nice to make $23 million a year to hit singles and then not even do that because your quote-unquote concussion hurts. Must be real nice.” When told that one of the quoted figures for a potential Byron Buxton deal was 7 years for $100 million, Hanson was livid. “You could have a lunch pail, 110% effort guy like Zach Granite or Jake Cave who’ll go out there every day and compete for a fraction of that, or you could have a prima donna like Buxton,” exclaimed Hanson. “The fact that they’d choose the latter is just another example of the woke cancel culture infecting our society.” Hanson would not elaborate on what that meant but did say it also applied to his local school board, KARE 11 meteorologist Belinda Jensen, maternity leave, paternity leave, rap music, Home Depot, his first, third, and fourth wives, and Little Free Libraries.
  25. Earlier this week, the Toronto Blue Jays extended former Twins pitcher Jose Berrios on a seven-year deal. On that same day, The Athletic reported an update in regards to Byron Buxton. Neither looks great for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. For years the Minnesota Twins organization has suggested that the goal would be to keep homegrown stars. Yes, they paid Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sano. None of those deals were substantial, however. Instead of paying Jose Berrios, who was reportedly intent on reaching free agency, they flipped him for two top-100 prospects. Now with the Blue Jays handing out a seven-year deal worth $140 million, it’s clear that it wasn’t about paying Berrios, but probably more about how long they would. Despite Berrios suggesting he wanted to reach free agency, he was perhaps more interested in finding a deal that compensated him correctly. That’s where this begins to break down. Before getting into what the front office is trying to do, or more appropriately failing to do, we need to look at Buxton. Dan Hayes and Ken Rosenthal reported, “Talks about an incentive-laden extension in July broke down because of the Twins’ unwillingness to push the potential total value to $100 million.” That’s an awful look for the front office as well. Seven years or not, Minnesota is looking to nickel and dime a superstar they are only invited to the table because he’s been injured. Assuming Buxton was a free agent, Minnesota wouldn’t be in the realm of his possible destinations, and if an injury bug hadn’t hit him, the price tag would be well north of $250 million. Trying to piece together a salary that goes long on years and short on average annual value for a talent like Buxton is the exact opposite of the message sent to Berrios. The needle Falvey and Levine are trying to thread is a seemingly hopeless one. They appear intent on avoiding long-term deals but also are expecting to play at or below market value. There’s no give and take in that negotiating style, and the alternative is one we’ve yet to hear them dabble in. Should you opt to avoid length, the result has to be higher than the market average annual value. No player will take fewer years for the same amount of money, but they might be lured by a more lucrative deal that makes up for the lacking security. There’s no denying that this front office has done a great job establishing a strong culture and organizational structure. Minnesota’s farm system may not be as loaded as it’s ever been, but it’s undoubtedly as deep. The developmental talent is there to push players towards realizing their potential, but there has not been a good enough job done supplementing the talent at the top. Now faced with the opportunity to keep some of their best, Falvey already chose to forgo length on one and is seemingly leaning towards passing up on dollars for the other. Should Minnesota sign a top-tier pitcher with the money ticketed for Berrios, then the addition of two top prospects makes a ton of sense as an alternative. There isn’t a situation where Buxton will be replaceable at a similar valuation, though, and skimping on dollars to contradict their length stance could be something that looks like a David Ortiz-esque mistake. It’s time to stop stepping toes in the water when filling out the roster and make more than one splash move, then suggesting it’s enough. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
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