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Friday, July 16, 2021

Twins to Byron Buxton: Sign $70 million extension or we will trade you

You’re either with them or against them.

The Minnesota Twins offered outfield Byron Buxton a long-term extension that is above $70 million, according to The Athletic. The deal also includes escalators and incentives that would increase the value of the contract. However, if he declines the offer, the Twins will send him away before the July 30, trade deadline.

The Twins are currently 39-50 and sit in fourth place in the American League Central. They have decisions to make on several players including Nelson Cruz, Andrelton Simmons, and Jose Berrios – who has been linked to the Mets. Buxton is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2022 season, and Minnesota needs to gauge if Buxton would stick around past that.

The 27-year-old is currently on the injury list with a fractured right hand, and was hurt from May 7 to June 19 with a strained right hip. That said, he has put up stellar numbers through 27 games. Buxton had a .369/.409/.767 slash line while hitting 10 home runs and 19 RBIs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 16, 2021 at 05:58 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: byron buxton, twins

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 16, 2021 at 06:54 PM (#6029327)
Not much of a threat. And why do we keep getting these useless reports -- "$70 million" without some years attached is useless. "Escalators and incentives" doesn't help us much. Anytime a reporter gets a leak on $, the first words out of their mouth should be "how many years?" If the source doesn't say (or know) then "the other info is useless to me without knowing how many years."

Admittedly, in this case, the contract offer is probably so complex it can't be that easily explained. Given his injury history, Buxton should jump at $70 M guaranteed with a chance at more -- he'll be lucky to get more than $6.5 in his last arb year. That just raises the question of why hasn't he signed it then? Which leads me to "there's a catch." Like it's an 8/$70 offer with extras that cap it at 8/$120.

I don't know that I'd make any kind of "fair" offer here if I'm the Twins. Even at 5/$70 ($10 next year; 4x$15), I'm not sure that's a good risk. Of course we both know that if he's healthy then he might well pull down $30-35 AAV in FA so all he needs is one healthy year next year to easily beat 5/$70 so he won't take a flat 5/$70. So my escalators ... how are we gonna sensibly escalate $15 to a fair contract while still rewarding the team a discount for being kind enough to guarantee $70? Say the AAV increases by $10 M the next season for every season he reaches 600 PA? (With lesser amounts for 500?) Will that fly with the union?

This is the sort of contract that needs an opt-out, maybe a dual option. You offer him say 5/$70 with some PA bonus structure for the first 3 years. After year 3 the Twins can either guarantee 3/$75 (3/$90?) or stick with the last 2 years of the original deal. If the Twins decline 3/$75 then Buxton can opt-out. Something where Buxton ends up guaranteed $70 M if he can't get healthy (still not sure I offer this); PA bonuses could bring the first three years up to 3/$65 and the Twins presumably exercise the option to bring the total to 6/$140 or Buxton goes FA.

So something where Buxton is very comfy and Twins waste money if he's not healthy; Twins get a discount if he's healthy the whole time; Twins win then lose if he's healthy the first 3 years then starts getting hurt again ... and if it's all in the middle there somewhere (healthy but doesn't perform that well or the Buxton we have now) then Buxton has to decide if he can do better than 2/$30 when the option arrives.
   2. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 16, 2021 at 07:01 PM (#6029329)
"Take our money or we'll send you to a better team!"
   3. Walt Davis Posted: July 16, 2021 at 07:02 PM (#6029330)
It is almost incredible ... over the last 4 seasons combined, Buxton is still a bit shy of a single "full" season's worth of 650 PA. He's produced at an 8 WAR level (mostly on speed and defense) ... but 1/4 of a season per year.

Ahhh, maybe that's it. Nothing in the excerpt explicitly says it's $70 guaranteed. Maybe the offer is a 3/$30 contract and the Twins get 2/$40 in options. That makes a lot of sense for the Twins and no sense whatsoever for Buxton.
   4. The Duke Posted: July 16, 2021 at 07:31 PM (#6029335)
I’d love to get a shot at him. You just have to put the past out of your mind and focus on the talent. He could be a 5-8 WAR talent if……

One thing I would do is try to get him to play more conservatively but you just have to hope all of these injuries define him as the guy who Is 3 SD from the bell curve on injury frequency and now it’s over.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: July 16, 2021 at 07:48 PM (#6029337)
#4 ... useless unless you attach a years/$ value to that "hope."
   6. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 17, 2021 at 10:13 AM (#6029383)
If that $70 million is guaranteed money, with a chance to make more if he's healthy, he should run to the bank to deposit the first check...except he'll probably get injured during the run.

Seriously, let's evaluate this for a second:

In his parts of seven seasons thus far, his games played:

He's played more than 92 games in a season a grand total of one time. His OPS+ during those seven seasons?


That 222 is this year, in 110 PAs, and it includes an unsustainable 25/4 K/BB ratio.

This is as good as it gets, folks - for people like me who have already lived through our 20s and 30s, generally speaking...ages 21-27 were about as easy to stay healthy as we'll ever see.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2021 at 02:51 PM (#6029406)
One thing I would do is try to get him to play more conservatively but you just have to hope all of these injuries define him as the guy who Is 3 SD from the bell curve on injury frequency and now it’s over.

Injuries don't tend to work that way. The best predictor of future injury is past injury. Also, he's 27. Players don't tend to get healthier as they age.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: July 17, 2021 at 04:15 PM (#6029407)
In his parts of seven seasons thus far, his games played:
That's really misleading as it doesn't include over a hundred minor league games. And also the last 2 are not full seasons.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2021 at 04:20 PM (#6029408)
That's really misleading as it doesn't include over a hundred minor league games.

I don't think it really helps his case they he repeatedly had to be sent to the minors b/c he sucked in MLB.
   10. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: July 17, 2021 at 04:22 PM (#6029410)
It does if the concern is durability. Is there a concern about quality?
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: July 17, 2021 at 04:52 PM (#6029411)
I don't think it really helps his case they he repeatedly had to be sent to the minors b/c he sucked in MLB.
It's fair to say he sucked in 2015 and 2016; it's misleading to list only his MLB game totals to imply he missed a lot of time to injury in those years.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 17, 2021 at 05:13 PM (#6029412)
It does if the concern is durability. Is there a concern about quality?

How could there not be? His first 1075 PA were at an 80 OPS+. Then he had 430 PA of a 120 OPS+, and this year 110 PA at 222.

Projecting off that record is not easy.
   13. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 17, 2021 at 05:52 PM (#6029416)
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, on July 14, 2020, this excerpt upon his latest injury at that time:

Byron Buxton put a scare into Twins officials and teammates Monday when he was carted off the field because of a left foot sprain during an intrasquad game at Target Field. He’s day to day, but the injury history of the speedy and talented center fielder is already a lengthy one:

Year: Injuries, Games played (Twins record)

2015: Sprained left thumb, 46 (83-79)

2016: Knee contusion/back spasms, 92 (59-103)

2017: Groin strain/migraines, 140 (85-77)

2018: Migraines/fractured toe/strained wrist, 28 (78-84)

2019: Wrist contusion/concussion/left shoulder dislocation/labrum surgery, 87 (101-61)

• Buxton suffered additional injuries in the minors, and spent non-injury time in the minors for production issues and on rehab stints.

My comment was that Buxton has a very problematic injury history, and that if a team is willing to pay a 27-year-old with his injury history $70 million in guaranteed money, he should put on a suit of bubble wrap, and run down to sign that contract ASAP, before they come to their senses. If you google "Byron Buxton injury history", you'll find plenty more information and stories. Also, he wasn't very good when he did play for several years, so there's that, too.

I'm not saying he shouldn't take tens of millions of guaranteed money; he should try to get every dime he can, because Lord knows the next corner he goes around, he could easily slip on a banana peel and be out for another month or something. But he has injured almost every part of his body at some point, and missed time because of it. Take the money!
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: July 17, 2021 at 06:26 PM (#6029418)
"Hey, don't knock a $70M contract 'til you've tried it !"

- Aaron Hicks, following another session with his physical therapist

his games played:
54 (out of 60)

crediting him with 144 G in 2020 (generous) gets him to 92 G per year iaac
   15. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2021 at 06:29 PM (#6029419)
Or to put it another, combined majors/minors games:

2015: 118
2016: 141 (fair point here)
2017: 143
2018: 64
2019: 87
2020: 39 (of 60)
2021: 30 (of 89)

So in the last 4 years, his highest proportion of games is 2/3 last year. 2016 is really the only season where adding in his minor-league games turns what looks to be a problem season into a full season.

So I agree with Balboni but like I said, that just raises the question for me of why it hasn't happened yet which leads to my suspicion that there's something we haven't been told. Buxton will probably get something like $6.5 in his last arb year which will bring his career earnings to about $18 plus whatever his signing bonus was. So he's already comfortable for life and maybe the Twins offer is so team-friendly it does make sense for him to hope he's healthy and productive next year (then he'll get a contract that tops this easy). Again, we need to know years and what these escalators are worth.
   16. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 18, 2021 at 12:14 AM (#6029480)
As Baloni's PT points out, Buxton seems to suffer from the Nick Johnson disease, dude just can't avoid being injured somewhere, somehow, much of the time.
   17. Jose is an Absurd Sultan Posted: July 19, 2021 at 11:02 AM (#6029567)
It does if the concern is durability. Is there a concern about quality?

It seems to me the problem with these oft-injured guys is that while they are often quite good there comes a point where their body just no longer lets them do what they were once able to do. I'm about as far from a pro athlete as you can get but I'd assume that at some point the cumulative effect of the injuries wreaks havoc on your physical abilities even when you are "healthy."

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