Pohlad is Right: Fans Will Be Pissed if Twins Trade Byron Buxton
It’s a make or break offseason for the Minnesota Twins and the future path they want to travel as an organization. The first stop along the offseason trail is what to do with Byron Buxton. His contract isn’t due immediately, but if they are going to trade their injury-prone star centerfielder, pulling the trigger this winter will lead to a much better haul than waiting until spring or later.
But according to The Athletic, the Twins front office, upper management and ownership can’t decide what they want to do with Buck. The Pohlad’s don’t want to pay him… but fear the backlash they’ll face from the fanbase if they trade him away.
The biggest concern for the Minnesota Twins in current negotiations are the escalators in pay IF Buxton were to stay healthy and play well. In other words, they don’t want to sign him to a deal that pays him what he’s worth if the best-case scenario unfolds after an extension. Imagine your owner being afraid of success. No wonder the Twins are who we are.
Welcome to life as a Minnesota Twins fan.
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. But the Twins have failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Buxton, their dynamic, yet oft-injured center fielder who is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season. And the chances of the team returning to contention in Buxton’s final year under club control appear slim without a single veteran starting pitcher returning to the club’s rotation.The Athletic – Ken Rosenthal & Dan Hayes
I hate reading embarrassing stories like this about the Twins. We’re talking about a team that’s entering the offseason with one of the lowest projected 2022 payrolls ($70M) in the MLB. Josh Donaldson’s $21 million is the only salary currently on the books for over $10 million either of the next two seasons. After that, he can fall off the books too.
In reality, Minnesota has a $50-60 million in their budget for 2022 and even more beyond. Why wouldn’t they want to spend $15-ish million of that on Byron Buxton next year and going forward? And if he stays healthy and plays well, the team will too. That’s more money for Pohlad and more money for Buck. That’s a positive.
We know the Pohlad’s aren’t signing a star centerfielder to a $30 million per season contract, even if that’s what they’re worth. That’s the exact reason why they need to pay Buxton. His injury history is the reason why he’s discounted at $15 million per year + escalators. Take advantage of the injury insurance you normally don’t get in MLB contracts.
Forget about trading him
Sure, if you’re going to move on from Byron Buxton then Falvine should trade him now. Letting him walk in free agency would get the Twins nothing in return and that would be stupid. But why move on from him at all?
The Twins claim they want to win in 2022 and 2023. If that’s true (which I’m currently doubting), then extending Buxton is their only option. Couple that with a splash #1 SP signing and, not only would fans not be rioting, they’d be celebrating.
Jim Pohlad needs to trust what he’s sensing from the fanbase and ink Buxton long-term.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan