Buxton Covets World Series Ring(s) But Do Twins?
Byron Buxton was a bit nervous when his big press conference started. You could tell. It was a quick glimpse into why Buck and his family’s comfortability in the Minneapolis area and with the Minnesota Twins organization was a very big part of his decision-making process.
Byron is a quiet guy who doesn’t like all eyes and lights on him in that type of atmosphere. On the baseball field, with a bat in or glove in his hand? Sure. But behind a microphone, with street clothes on? No thanks. That’s why he likes it here so much. He’s become comfortable, his wife feels safe and his kids love fishing (and the Vikings). Buxton might as well be “one of us” at this point.
But laced within all of that talk about his appreciation for Twins fans, the city of Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota and the organization he works for, Byron Buxton wanted to make something else very, very clear.
His main priority now that his contract and future are taken care of, is winning a championship OR (even better) championships. As he put it, “winning rings”. Yes, plural. Byron Buxton is dedicated to winning World Series ringsss as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
Byron Buxton has one goal now that his contract is done. Bring World Series rings to Minneapolis. #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/0yPGISNT4V— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) December 2, 2021
It Takes Two to Tango
I appreciate Byron Buxton’s passion for the state of Minnesota and his priority list is aligned perfectly. The number one goal should be to win a World Series. Everything else, either as a team and individually, should come after that. But there’s one big problem with Byron’s dedication to winning rings. Is he sure that Twins ownership and front office share that same dedication? Because I’m not.
At the very end of the video above, you hear Thad Levine chime in on the “rings” conversation, when he says, “we’re open to winning rings too.” It was a funny moment and I’m sure the front office is open to a World Series ring (or multiple) magically falling onto their fingers. But I doubt winning sits as high on the priority list as it does for their newly extended star centerfielder.
Anyone who has looked at the Minnesota Twins’ depth chart recently can tell you that they have serious issues in their infield, problems to figure out in their outfield and a meteor-sized hole in the front of their pitching rotation.
If the Pohlad’s wanted fans to have palpable faith for 2022 heading into the lockout, Falvine needed to pull AT LEAST one top-10 starting pitcher out of free agency. At the final bell they signed another cheap retread, Dylan Bundy, to a 1-year, $4 million deal with options in 2023. That means the current 2022 starting rotation features Bundy. Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober. Yikes.
Is $4 million better than $0? We’ll see…
As of now, Phillies are one of eight teams yet to spend $1 in major-league free agency. The others: Diamondbacks, Reds, Guardians, Royals, Twins*, A's, Padres. (Twins spent $100m on Buxton extension.)— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) December 1, 2021
League business expected to freeze at 11:59 p.m.
Same old Twins
Instead of using the momentum of signing Buxton long term, Minnesota Twins ownership and the front office sat on the sidelines watching as all of the top pitchers fell off the free agency board. Many of those pitchers went for less than $15 million per season. If you need a review on the economics of current MLB contracts, $15M is no longer breaking the bank for a starting player, pitcher or positional.
But after securing Buxton, the Twins became cheap or scared or dumb or something and they didn’t make any real moves to supplement. Whatever they were being, it certainly wasn’t aggressive. Not for a team whose star player made it very clear this week that he’s here to win championships. Byron Buxton may very well want to win but this is the MLB, not NBA. And the team he just signed up to play the next seven years for doesn’t appear to be on his same level.
Sure, extending Buxton was the first step in rebuilding a roster that’s not at all ready to compete at a high level in 2022. But the ink dried on those signatures days ago and the Twins did nothing else, after signing Byron’s contract, to improve their roster around him.
Now, we wait.
After the Collective Bargaining Agreement expired, MLB organizations committed to locking players out of team facilities and that means we could be without any type of an MLB hot stove for months. That leaves Minnesota Twins fans to talk about all of the things Falvine and the Pohlad’s DID NOT do to supplement the Buxton signing.
There are some very capable starting pitchers still available but what faith should we have that Falvine will be allowed to pursue any of them when the lockout ends? Given the very consistent Pohlad track record, we should have zero faith in that happening. Last year’s failed pitching rotation has obviously taught them nothing about building for 2022.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan