Reason No. 4 why Buxton’s deal is so Important for the Minnesota Twins: It’s a Massive Steal
When Twins fans first hear the number $100 million dollars as a base deal, they groan. Paying an injury-ridden center fielder that much money seems like it will be an issue in the long run. Here’s the thing though. If none of the incentives hit, Buxton will only be making $15 million dollars a year. That’s really not a lot.
“So yes, Buxton has been hurt a ton, but he’s developed into such a spectacular all-around player that he’s been worth far more than $15 million per year even while missing huge chunks of time. Last season, for instance, he was limited to 61 games, yet produced 4.5 WAR, fourth-most among all center fielders. Based on a standard WAR valuation, he was worth about $40 million in 2021.”
If Buxton plays 80 games at the pace he played last year, he’ll be worth $53 million. And the Twins are only paying him $15 million or roughly what they would have to pay second tier outfielder in free agency.
If you’re worried about incentives, even the incentives are reasonable:
Buxton makes more money based on where he finishes in the MVP race and how many plate appearances he has. If he finishes in the top 10, he would have put together one of the best seasons in Twins history and still would cost AT MOST $25.5 million (if he wins the American League MVP and reaches 625 plate appearances).
If Buxton finishes 11-25th in MVP voting in each year of this deal (he’s done it twice already), the Twins will have an elite player that only makes in the range of $15-$17.5 million. The Twins could have the best value in baseball on their hands.