The Minnesota Twins have agreed to a seven-year, $100 million extension with veteran center fielder Byron Buxton, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
More details:<br><br>$1M signing bonus.<br>2022 salary-$9M<br>2023-28-$15M per season<br><br>MVP bonuses, believed to be unprecedented, for every year of deal.<br><br>1st-$8M<br>2nd-$7M<br>3rd-$6M<br>4th-$5M<br>5th-$4M<br>6th-through-10th: $3M<br><br>Also: $500K each for 502, 533, 567, 600 and 625 plate appearances. <a href="https://t.co/leTEjfa4wR">https://t.co/leTEjfa4wR</a>
The deal comes as the 27-year-old was set to enter his final year of arbitration. Rosenthal and Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported July 25 that the two sides hadn't reached an agreement on a long-term extension, thus raising the potential of a trade.
Hayes and Rosenthal also reported Minnesota's best offer to that point included at least $80 million guaranteed over seven years.
The Twins' hesitance to go higher than that was understandable, as was Buxton's belief that the total didn't match up with what his value could be in the future. Perhaps there's also some lingering frustration with how the organization handled his service time years ago.
When he's healthy, the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft can be one of the most dynamic players in MLB. Over 140 games in 2017, he hit 16 home runs and had a .314 on-base percentage while stealing 29 bases and winning a Gold Glove in center.
As he became more accustomed to major league pitching, his offense started to come around. In 18 games across April and March this year, Buxton had eight homers and a 1.363 OPS.
Once again, though, injuries got in the way of his success. The Baxley, Georgia, native missed time because of a strained right hip before he fractured his left hand after getting hit by a pitch in June.
Buxton returned in August and finished 2021 with 61 appearances. He closed the year on a high, posting a .966 OPS in 29 games across September and October, per Baseball Reference.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had a promising career derailed by injuries, so he had an idea what Buxton might be experiencing in terms of his frustration at missing so much time.
"He's beyond upset. And that's what I would expect from him," he told reporters in June. "... I think the number of traumas, physically, that he's had to deal with, and because of that, emotionally, when you have to deal with that many types of things, difficult things, it's hard on you."
During his hot start to 2021, Buxton was basically the best hitter in MLB, outperforming even Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout. Were it not for his hip and hand injuries, he almost certainly would've cooled off eventually. Still, that stretch illustrated his tantalizing potential.
When it comes to Buxton's health, no team knows more than the Twins. Their willingness to hand him a multiyear extension is seemingly a sign of the franchise's confidence in his ability to turn a corner in that regard.
To some extent, this also sends a message to the players and fanbase that ownership will pony up to keep Minnesota's best homegrown stars around.