In many ways, 2021 is a worst-case scenario for Minnesota Twins. They started badly, losing 28 of their first 42 games, quickly knocking them out of the race after the season. The twins reacted by switching places Nelson Cruz and José Berrios by the deadline. Then, pour salt into the wound, Kenta Maeda Tommy John needs surgery in September.
Center welder Byron Buxton is one of the Twins’ few bright spots in 2021, at least when he gets to play. Hip and hand injuries limited Buxton to just 61 games, but in those 61 games he played at an MVP: .306 / .358 / .647 with 19 home runs and nine stolen opportunities. Add in the defense and Buxton was a 4.5-WAR player for more than a third of the season.
The Twins are rapidly approaching (or may have reached) the point where they must make a decision with Buxton. He’s leaving the freelance agency for another year, and in fact, they have three options with him:
- Sign a long-term contract with him.
- Trade him this holiday for maximum value.
- Trade him on the deadline for a lower value.
Keeping Buxton all season and then letting him go on next season is not something the Twins should do. It’s a choice not a choice. You can’t let your most talented player go just because of a dull draft pick. Sign a long contract or trade with him, and the sooner you trade, the more profit you will get (and the less likely that he will get hurt again and lose the value of the trade).
“It doesn’t look like something has been sneaking up on us at this point,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey told reporters, including The Athletic’s Dan Hayes and Ken Rosenthal, at the GM Meeting earlier this month. “…As always, this is not unique to Byron or in other words, there are people on our team that are very interesting to other clubs and we just need to always find out what is going on. what that looks like, what our team looks like, like when we’re navigating it.”
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Buxton told Hayes and Rosenthal he is fine to play through 2022 with a one-year arbitration contract – “There’s no rush,” he said when asked about a potential long-term contract – MLB commercial rumors expected to be in the $7.3 million range. Valuing Buxton on a long-term contract is difficult given his history of injuries and horrendous production, which, although it is a stumbling block, is not a deal-breaker.
We’ve ranked Buxton as one of the top commercial contenders of the offseason because he’s entering his walking year, and because the Twins aren’t one or two pieces to contend with, even in the invincible AL Central. Besides, Falvey & Co. wouldn’t do their job if they didn’t at least measure a commercial interest in Buxton. It’s not harmful to hear. Here are some potential landing spots.
Best fit: Astros
Once upon a time the Astros chose Carlos Correa overtook Buxton with pick #1 in the 2012 draft (the Twins then took Buxton with pick #2). Can they now look to Buxton to help replace Correa? Obviously they play different positions, but the center court could be upgraded in Houston, and Buxton could replace Correa in the lineup. He will also bring great speed and combat ability.
Keep in mind that the Astros are very confident in their current center court picks (Chas McCormick, Jake Meyers, and Jose Siri) with which they traded Myles Straw by the deadline. That’s all well and good, but Buxton is better than those guys and is a legitimate difference maker. And, if Buxton is injured at some point, the Astros will be right back where they started in the center.
Perfect World Scenario Will Be Traded For Buxton and re-sign Correa, in which case the Astros can send this sprawling lineup out most nights:
- CF Byron Buxton
- 2B Jose Altuve
- LF Michael Brantley
- SS Carlos Correa
- DH Yordan Alvarez
- 3B Alex Bregman
- 1B Yuli Gurriel
- RF Kyle Tucker
- NS Martin Maldonado
Sheesh. The Astros have led the baseball team in runs per game this season even though Bregman has missed most of the year with a major injury. However, in the post-season period, the bottom of the roster was exposed a bit. Opponent pitchers had a soft landing at points 8 and 9 with strikers du jour and Maldonado. Buxton will help eliminate that. He’s an ideal fit for Houston.
Other great fit: Phillies
As noted earlier this week, Phillies has no name Bryce Harper fight. 230/.295/.398 in nearly 1,600 appearances last season, and they also defended poorly. Philadelphia has demands on the center and left wing, and while Buxton is just one man, it sometimes feels like he’s playing in two positions off the field with seemingly limitless speed and range.
Three years ago, Phillies was dealing with JT Realmuto when he had two years left in control of the team and they made no secret of their desire to sign him to a long term contract. They can do the same thing with Buxton. Trade him and a year in control of his team, then sign him to a long-term contract either immediately or after the season. Even so, it’s clear Buxton is well-suited for the 2022 Phillies.
(About Buxton/Josh Donaldson package deal for the Phillies? Alec Bohm may intend to play left-court long-term and take on two years, and the remaining $50 million on Donaldson’s contract will reduce the prospective offer price for Buxton. It might work for the Phillies.)
Strictly speaking, the Mets and the Yankees are both potential landings for Buxton. Michael Conforto and Kevin Pillar are free agents, leaving the Mets with a left fist in the center (Brandon Nimmo), a first person to the left (Dominic Smith), and a second warrior on the right (Jeff McNeil). Buxton is an obvious fit and a substantial upgrade in terms of defense.
As for the Yankees, they are said to be following the central market with Aaron Hicks Wound healing after wrist surgery. Hicks and Buxton both have issues with staying healthy and maybe they will help keep each other on the field? Instead of playing one person per game, the Yankees can spread the workload and use both Hicks and Buxton frequently in the center. Probably?
They can make it work: Giant
The Giants have more players than spots on their list and their current playing field for 2022 is set to include Steven Duggar, Austin Slater, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Mike Yastrzemski. Mauricio Dubon, Austin Deanand top potential customers Ramos helicopter may also be present in the mixture. Central school is not a priority. However, Baseball Executive Chairman Farhan Zaidi is not one to rest on his glories.
Possibly more than any other team, San Francisco is uniquely positioned to bring in Buxton and give him regular rest to avoid injury. It’s possible that Buxton will never be a 150-game-per-year player, and 120 games is a more reasonable goal. In that case, the Giants have enough quality players to tackle the games Buxton doesn’t play. Plus his defense and spacious Oracle Park is a game made in baseball heaven.
These two clubs begin their transition from reconstruction to rivals in 2021 and are ready to spend this season (The Tigers signed a contract with Eduardo Rodriguez). Split deals can be complicated, but if Detroit can get Buxton to let loose, they could find a way to sign him long-term and make him central. He just turns 28 next month. He fits their timetable. Consider the possibilities:
- CF Byron Buxton
- RF Riley Greene (top potential customers)
- SS top free agent?
- DH Miguel Cabrera
- 1B Spencer Torkelson (top prospect)
- LF Robbie Grossman
- 2B Jonathan Schoop
- 3B Jeimer Candelario
- NS Tucker Barnhart
That lineup can happen Next Season. Not 2-3 years down the line. It could become a reality in 2021. Detroit is rumored to be among all the top free agency stops (Correa would be ideal and they have AJ Hinch connections for them), so add one of those guys and Buxton, and you’ve imported two of his best talents in midfield positions in a single season. I’m not sure the Twins would trade Buxton in the squad, but my goodness he would be a great fit for the Tigers.
As for the Mariners, they have more quarterbacks than positions on the roster, but only in theory. Mitch Haniger one more year as a free agent, Kyle Lewis miss most of 2020 with injury, top prospect Jarred Kelenic mostly struggles in his time MLB launch and colleagues are top leads Julio Rodríguez Haven’t played on Double-A yet. You don’t have to work very hard to see Buxton fit in 2022 and beyond. He would be a good target for the growing Mariners.
There is a recent history of Marlins trading for a top striker with short-term control. Two years ago, they put in Starling Marte on deadline, tried to sign him to a long-term contract, then sent him on a quest to find prospects on this year’s deadline while temporarily enjoying 92 All-Star caliber productions. Could Miami try a similar approach with Buxton? Hey, why not?
The Marlins have more pitches along the way. They need attack to make the jump from rebuilder to opponent, and Bryan De La Cruz and Jesus Sanchez, they seem to have two goalkeepers off the field. Lewis Brinson It didn’t work out well, though, and Buxton would provide Miami with a premier hub operator to build around or flip later for prospects. It’s not crazy. They did it with Marte.
Just keep him: Twins
I understand any hesitation in signing a long-term contract with Buxton due to his injury. However, injuries do pay off – Buxton is a $200 million player with raw talent but signings for significantly less money because of injury – and when you have a homegrown player Excellent gardener in a superior position you should try to keep him. Real Twins Won’t Trade Buxton and Berríos, will they?
Minnesota extends beyond future figures to include some combination of Gilberto Celestino, Max Kepler (if he is not trading), Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnachand maybe even the former #1 choice Royce Lewis. That’s fine, but none of those guys can impact a game like Buxton. Keeping him and signing him for the long term is not just a defense. That is something Gemini should actively pursue. Trade Buxton and you will spend the next 10 years trying to find another talent like him.
https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/will-twins-trade-byron-buxton-potential-landing-spots-for-talented-injury-prone-center-fielder/ Will Twins Trade Byron Buxton? Potential landing spot for a talented, injury-prone striker