Close your eyes as tight as you can and you’ll still be able to see as light as day that the Minnesota Twins can’t keep this up with Byron Buxton.
Buxton is having one of the worst seasons of his career, slumping so bad at the plate that fans are beginning to wonder if he’ll ever find a way to crawl out of the abyss he’s fallen into. He’ll eventually find his stride again, but that’s hard to imagine given just how bad he’s played this year.
Through 96 games, Buxton is slashing an unacceptable .196/.285/.409 and is among the Twins worst hitters. That’s saying a lot considering how bad the offense has been this year, but somehow the team’s best player is almost unplayable.
After going 0-for-5 on Monday and extending his hitless streak to over 20 at-bats, Buxton was taken out of the lineup on Tuesday. It’s the long-term future, though, that has Twins fans concerned and the coaching staff scrambling for a solution.
Twins manager addresses Byron Buxton struggles
Before Tuesday’s game against the Mariners, Rocco Badelli addressed Buxton’s slump and his struggles at the plate. In terms of how to fix it, Baldelli seemed to be at a loss but admitted he’s been thinking about making a move.
“I haven’t made any final calls on that,” Baldelli said. ”It’s something that I think I’ll address, whether it’s making the decision to leave him where he’s at, or it’s to move him. I think that will be addressed sometime soon.”
Buxton was held out of Tuesday’s game, but Rocco downplayed that as nothing more than a normal night off. It gave the Twins a chance to finally find a spot in the lineup for Matt Wallner, who was called up during the series in Oakland but didn’t do much more than watch from the bench.
The Twins have a pretty big decision to make in regards to Buxton’s immediate future. He has yet to play the field this season, serving exclusively as DH in lineups where he makes an appearance. That’s just about all he’s been doing though, as Buxton is hitting under .200 on the season and has now gone multiple stretches of 20 or more plate apperances without recording a hit.
Buxton is playing some of the worst baseball of his career, and there’s no other way to put it.
To his credit, Buxton has been playing through a lingering knee injury which is the reason he’s been held from the field. Given how bad he’s struggled, the decision the Twins need to make might involve shutting him down so he can get healthy.
It’s a decision that is going to get both difficult and pressing in very short order. Jorge Polanco is in beginning a rehab assignment in St. Paul and he’s expected to be back in the Twins lineup soon. When that happens, someone needs to be moved to make room and Minnesota can’t afford to have it be Edouard Julien
Julien would normally be the guy who gets moved back to Triple-A, but he’s been one of the brightest spots in an offensive black hole for the Twins this year. It’s worth noting that Waller filled in at DH on Tuesday, which could be a sort of soft launch to see if he can serve as a replacement.
Having Julien remain in the lineup, Waller able to fill in at DH, and Michael A. Taylor playing centerfield, the Twins are well-positioned to shut Buxton down and allow him to get healthy.
For some reason the team seems reluctant to do that — even if it clearly seems to be what’s best — but something has to change sooner rather than later.