Minnesota Twins: Despite Surgery, Byron Buxton’s Deal is a Good One

Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton reacts to hitting a single. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton reacts to hitting a single. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /

The 2022 season may not be over yet, but for the Minnesota Twins, it ended when the team lost four of five against the Cleveland Guardians. Unfortunately, the hits somehow keep coming with the news that Byron Buxton is undergoing yet another season-ending surgery:

With the the superstar now officially shut down, his season ends with him on the injured list for the second straight season. This has once again led to a lot of anger, spite and resentment from Twins fans, who I’ve heard call him soft, fragile, and labeled his contract a massive bust. It’s time once again to dispel this nonsense.

Despite his most recent injury, the Minnesota Twins did not overpay Byron Buxton.

We’ll start with the soft and fragile comments. Sure, Buxton isn’t as durable as anyone would like, including Buxton himself. He wants to be out there. As things stand though, Buxton played the most games he’s played in five years and he played through an injury despite everything that was going on:

Four hours every day just to be able to play in a game? That’s insane. That’s far more than almost every other player, and he worked to be out there with his teammates. Even tougher still, Buxton knew that he would likely need surgery for months, far longer than most people expected:

Instead of missing 6-8 weeks during the year while the team was in the hunt, Buxton worked to stay on the field, and if the team would have been able to stay in contention, there’s no doubt in my mind that Buck would have worked to come back as a designated hitter. He’s that kind of player.

On top of being tough, Buxton had a very good year. His final slashline of .224/.306/.526 and 34 walks showed he was a little more patient, and his career-high 28 homers were very impressive. Sure, he seemed to be swinging for the fences more than he should have, but he made his first All-Star team and the power was simply incredible to watch.

It’s part of what makes his contract so great for the Minnesota Twins. Buxton is making $9.1 million this year before moving to $15.1 million over the next six years for a grand total of $100 million over the course of the contract. A lot of people seem to think that after one season, it’s an albatross. In reality, after one season, it’s been the opposite.

Over just this season, Buxton has been worth 4.0 fWAR based on his 92 game offensive and defensive performance. Per Boardroom, 1.0 WAR is worth $5,380,791.93 on the free agent market. By that metric, Buxton has been worth $21,523,167.72. He’s already been worth nearly 25% of his contract value after just one season.

Now I know, some people will gripe, that he’s being paid to play a full season, but in reality, he’s just not. If Buxton were able to stay healthy, the Minnesota Twins wouldn’t be able to pay him such a small number.

In 2022, Byron Buxton is the 27th-highest paid outfielder in baseball. Over the length of his deal, the contract’s average annual value, is 18th in the MLB. Given how arbitration limits the money some of baseball’s top young outfielders receive, the fact that Buxton is paid like an 18-27th ranked outfielder for his production tells me that he is extremely underpaid.

I understand how frustrating it is to see Buck miss more time with injury. He is a leader on this team, and one of the most electric players in baseball. Everyone wants him on the field. But stop overreacting because Buxton’s productive season was far from perfect. He’ll be a Twin for life, and on a pretty good deal too.

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