Minnesota Twins: Trading Byron Buxton would be a mistake

(Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

There’s been a lot of talk this season that the Minnesota Twins might try to trade outfielder Byron Buxton this offseason. In some ways, it’s not a surprise, since the Twins have some holes to fill in their pitching staff. Plus, if the Twins, who have had a disappointing 2021 season, are looking to rebuild, as some have suspected, then Buxton would be a strong trade chip.

However, a lot of Twins fans would likely be against this, and with good reason. Buxton, the second overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, has been a big difference maker when he is on the field and healthy. Consider this:

Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton is too valuable to trade

The one thing that has kept Buxton from reaching his full potential, as he will be 28 next year, is that he’s had a hard time staying healthy. However, it shouldn’t be considered a coincidence that the Twins are a much better team with Buxton on the field.

Despite the fact that Buxton has only gotten into 55 games so far in 2021, he still has posted an incredible WAR of 3.5, and despite all the time he’s missed over the years, his career WAR sits at 15.2. After homering again on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Buxton now has 16 home runs and is batting .290 with an OPS of .948. His OPS+ is an incredible 157 (the league average is 100).

Yet it’s not just his bat; it’s his defense in center field as well. A Gold Glove Award winner in 2017, Buxton owns a 7.3 career defensive WAR, while his range factor, according to Baseball Reference, is well above league average.

Because he’s been injury prone, assessing Buxton’s value is difficult. He is set to become a free agent after next season, while he reportedly turned down an $80 million extension. For that reason as well, it makes sense that he would be a trade candidate. Yet the numbers don’t lie; Buxton is a critical part of this team’s success. They’ll need him if they want to compete in 2022.

Yes, injuries have been a concern for Buxton, but he’s been a dominant player when he’s been on the field. If he can stay healthy and pick up where he left off towards the end of this season, there are few players the Twins could find that can match what Buxton can do. Hopefully, the two sides will be able to come to an agreement on an extension and he’ll be a part of the Twins’ plans in 2022 and beyond.

Next. Minnesota Twins: A look at Justin Morneau’s run of dominance. dark