Another day of Summer Camp has come and gone, but it wasn’t a boring day in Minnesota Twins territory, especially for Byron Buxton and Rich Hill.
Over the past two days, the Minnesota Twins have received important news on a couple of players the team expects to be key contributors in 2020: outfielder Byron Buxton and pitcher Rich Hill. We’ll start with Buxton, as his news is more important.
Minnesota Twins optimistic about Byron Buxton’s Foot
Byron Buxton is an absolutely fantastic baseball player, one who I consider the Twins’ franchise player, but he has a long history with injuries. The team just isn’t the same without him, so when he went down hard during the Intrasquad game on July 13th, all of Twins territory collectively held their breath:
The Twins immediately got imaging done on their centerfielder, but Baldelli and the rest of the organization stated that they were “optimistic” that the injury was a minor one. Just one day later, we have good news.
Buxton simply has a sprained foot and is listed as day-to-day, the best possible outcome. It’ll be a close call as to if he’s ready for the start of the season, but at the very least we know he’ll be ready in the coming weeks as opposed to months.
The hope was that this season Buxton would be a little safer in 2020 after working with the team to improve the safety of his fielding. It’s good to know that Buxton went down because his shoe appeared to get stuck and not anything else. This keeps the hope alive that 2020 will be Buxton’s first mostly full season since he finished eighteenth in MVP voting in 2017.
Minnesota Twins’ Rich Hill excluded from roster bonus agreement
The MLB and the MLBPA had been fighting to put together an agreement on different vesting options and roster bonuses, contract issues that could cause problems going into the season. The agreement stated that much of the vesting options and roster bonuses were slimmed down to prorated amounts.
This will not however include Rich Hill and New York Yankees starter J.A. Happ. Hill’s contract was signed with the expectation that he wouldn’t be ready until June (at the earliest), so the fact that he wasn’t included makes some sense.
He still has to make just 15 starts or play 75 innings to make his full bonuses, both still reachable (yet tougher) numbers in a 60 game season. It’s not clear why Happ was left out of the agreement, but Hill’s exclusion means there’s still a lot of nice incentive for him.
Both of these bits of news are nice small pieces for Buxton and Hill, respectively, but also for the Minnesota Twins themselves. Having Buxton and an incentivized Hill give two talented players more ability and motivation to perform in 2020.