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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Twins, Byron Buxton Unable To Reach Extension

The Twins and franchise cornerstone Byron Buxton have been unable to come to terms on a contract extension, increasing the likelihood of a full-scale sell-off before Friday’s trade deadline. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes report that the Twins’ initial offer was for $73MM over seven years with an unspecified number of incentives. The Twins “increased the guarantee slightly,” but not enough to come to a long-term agreement. The final guarantee increased to $80MM, tweets The Athletic.

The end result here is not surprising, given the muddled valuation process for a talent like Buxton. When he’s at his best, he’s one of the best players in the game, a five-tool player capable of anchoring a first-division lineup on both sides of the ball from a premium position. The injury concerns, however, have limited his contributions and saddled him with a tricky long-term risk profile.

This season perfectly illustrated the dichotomy of Buxton as a team-building asset. In 27 games, he made 110 trips to the plate and accrued an insane 2.7 fWAR with a .369/.409/.767 line, good for a 217 wRC+. But 27 games of MVP-caliber production from Buxton wasn’t enough to keep the Twins anywhere near contention. They currently have a 0.0% chance to make the playoffs, per Fangraphs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 25, 2021 at 10:55 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: byron buxton

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 26, 2021 at 02:40 AM (#6030378)
an unspecified number of incentives

That's the tricky bit. If 7/$73 guaranteed is accurate, let's assume that would be something like $7 for next year (last arb year) then 6/$66. For the oft-injured version of Buxton, that's a great deal and he should run to the bank. For a healthy version of Buxton, that's a disaster. Of course the healthy Buxton is potentially worth 6/$180 or more. That's a lot of ground for incentives to make up plus the Twins deserve some sort of give-back for guaranteeing $73 M. Some ideas:

1. It almost certainly has to have an opt-out clause after 2 or 3 years.
2. Incentives based on PAs but it also probably has to have some vesting options.

So ...

year 1: $7 plus year 2 vests at $25 M if he reaches 502 PA.

year 2 (if not vested): $11 plus $4 M bonuses at 300, 400, 500, 600 PA (so max $27 M). If year 2 vested then year 3 vests at $30 M after 502 PA; if year 2 not vested, then year 3 vests at $25 M after 502 PA.

year 3 (if not vested): $11 plus $4 M bonuses at 300, 400, 500, 600 PA. Twins get first option at 4/$120 (too cheap?) If declined then Buxton gets option at 4/$44.

So still 7/$73 guaranteed. Buxton potentially gets up to 3/$62 if fully healthy then the option potentially takes it to 7/$182. Presumably the Twins don't exercise their option unless he's been fully healthy at least two of those three years.

One problem with all of those is they make him an FA after his age 34 season which is about the worst time to be an FA. So maybe that Twins option needs to be 5 or 6 years at $30, otherwise he did have the option to go FA at 31. He also makes $61 M if he's only healthy in years 2 and 3 but not year 1 which seems not enough reward for being healthy in year 1 (he gets $62) so some monkeying around. Whether any of this would satisfy the union I have no idea.

Still, that guarantees him a ton if he's still hurt all of the time while rewarding him pretty well if he stays healthy and gives the Twins a decent deal and him an opt-out if he's somewhere in between.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: July 26, 2021 at 03:03 AM (#6030380)
I've intrigued myself ... over the first 3 years:

unhealthy all 3: salary of 7/11/11 (3/$29), maybe 1 or 2 PT bonuses, with 4/$44 player option

un/un/healthy: salary of 7/11/11 plus at least $12 in year 3 bonuses (3/$41+) ... Twins probably pass on their option, Buxton surely does (assuming a good season)

un/healthy/un: 7/11/25 plus at least $12 in year 2 bonuses (3/$55+) ... tough 4/$44 option for Buxton

un/healthy/healthy: 7/11/25 plus at least $12 in year 2 bonuses (3/$55+) ... tough call for Twin

healthy/un/un: 7/25/11 (3/$43) with 4/$44 option

healthy/un/healthy: 7/25/11 plus at least $12 in year 2 bonuses (3/$55+) ... tough call for Twins

healthy/healthy/un: 7/25/30 (3/$62) with 4/$120 option ... Buxton would take 4/$44 if he's badly hurt

healthy/healthy/healthy: 7/25/30 (3/$62) with 4/$120 option

So something to iron out in that being healthy in year 3 after being healthy in year 2 doesn't seem to do anything for Buxton. Maybe healthy in years 2 and 3 pushes the option to 5/$150.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 08:36 AM (#6030383)
That's the tricky bit. If 7/$73 guaranteed is accurate, let's assume that would be something like $7 for next year (last arb year) then 6/$66. For the oft-injured version of Buxton, that's a great deal and he should run to the bank. For a healthy version of Buxton, that's a disaster. Of course the healthy Buxton is potentially worth 6/$180 or more. That's a lot of ground for incentives to make up plus the Twins deserve some sort of give-back for guaranteeing $73 M.

A guy like Buxton shouldn't get a long-term deal. His output just isn't predictable enough. If he wants a long term guarantee, I don't think 50% of his market value is a bad deal. He basically plays 50% of the time.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:00 AM (#6030391)
Someone like Buxton, who has been with a single organization for 10 years, might value free agency itself. The Twins are approaching somewhat of a crossroads and he may want to see which way they turn. And he is not coming from a baseline of zero future dollars - he is all but guaranteed millions of dollars in both 2022 and 2023.

It's not surprising if he both received a good extension offer and did not accept it.
   5. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 26, 2021 at 10:50 AM (#6030413)
Time for a Twins fire sale. Everything must go!

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