The Minnesota Twins made it obvious on Saturday night that they are ending center fielder Byron Buxton’s season early. On Sunday, they told Buxton he did not have to go to the Rochester game if he did not want to. Despite that, he reported to the game. The beat writers are rightly up in arms about the Twins ending the season for who was once the center fielder of the future. There are multiple reasons the Twins are doing this, which we will get into. However, the clear answer is obvious: Byron Buxton should be traded out of Minnesota.
The first and most obvious reason for this move is the manipulation of Buxton’s service time. Rather than him pay him more in 2019, they want to focus on paying him later, when he may or may not be a star. The Twins are being cheap and risking their future. Byron Buxton has spent most of the 2018 season in AAA or injured. He lost valuable growth time with a Twins team that fell apart after a magical 2017 season. Now instead of being a possible cornerstone piece of a Twins dynasty, there is doubt he will be here once he reaches free agency. It reeks of them being cheap.
Byron Buxton was on pace to be the public face of this Twins team. Joe Mauer served this purpose for a long time. The Twins paid the Minnesota native Mauer $184 million to stay home. Everyone who knew the 2000s Twins knew Joe Mauer. Now, with the Mauer era slowly ending, there is no face whatsoever. Byron Buxton looked like that face the Twins needed. Now, he probably is ready to hit the road for another team who actually value his services. What is an organization telling you that we do not want here in September and you do not have to play in games at AAA? Yeah, the theory that it is anything positive is absurd.
Thad Levine on Byron Buxton: “He's been swinging the bat better clearly over the last couple of games. He's performed well down there. From a health standpoint, I think he's still progressing toward being healthy. But to his credit he's playing through it right now.” 1/2
— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesMLB) September 1, 2018
Now, the excuses for this move are laughable. Thad Levine, the General Manager of the Twins, noted that they will make amends later on for this decision. What amends? Are they going to give him $25 million right now to be the center fielder of the future? No. What if Buxton does not live up to his prospect level? He will never see $25 million. While it is baseball and that stuff happens, there is no way to know without playing him. Next Levine notes that Buxton still has the same problem of the left wrist affecting his playing. So why shut him down? How can we know anything unless we see him play? It is all laughable.
So, who could use a player like Buxton? The first team that comes to mind immediately is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Anaheim has Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun, a group of three which could use another player. Calhoun is not able to be continuously successful. Trout and Upton are great players. Buxton could make that outfield otherworldly. He fits the team in so many places like Peter Bourjos used to. If the Twins could swing a trade for Buxton to get into a place where he will be respected, the benefits are there.
Right now, all this reeks of is cheap.
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