I have to admit that I thought the prospects of the Minnesota Twins signing Byron Buxton to a long-term contract extension were 50-50 at best. Thankfully, a deal got hammered out.
When it came to completing what some had described as a next-to-impossible contract extension with the Twins, a major-league source said Buxton’s top priority was obtaining a full no-trade clause.
After declining to offer it in previous negotiations, the Twins included the sweetener during this round of talks. Once the clause was incorporated, Buxton and the Twins finalized an incentive-heavy seven-year deal worth at least $100 million Sunday, sources confirmed. The deal, which includes bonuses for elite performance and plate appearances, is pending a physical exam.
In agreeing to the deal, Buxton, who turns 28 next month, bypassed an opportunity to become a free agent after the 2022 season at what could be the peak of his career. Buxton belted a career-high 19 home runs and hit .306/.358/.647 in 254 plate appearances this past season.
But Buxton, the No. 2 pick of the 2012 amateur draft and one of the most talented players to ever wear a Twins jersey, set the tone back in March when he acknowledged wanting an extension and discussed his desire to play for one team for his entire career.
“I’ve been blessed to stay with this one team in my career,” Buxton said. “To be able to put on this (uniform for my entire) career and go out there every day, it’s something that many guys can’t do.
“I want to be one of those guys that was there with that one team. This place just means a lot.”
I obviously don't know Buxton personally, but I can only surmise that he is a cool, easy-going dude. I mean, to desire to stay with a franchise after they openly listened to trade offers for you last July as well as blatantly manipulated your service time to delay your free agency eligibility says a lot about one's character.
By sending Buxton home (in September 2018) instead of promoting him from Triple A, the Twins pushed back the outfielder’s free agency from the end of 2021 to 2022. Through it all, Buxton has remained steadfast that he wanted to be with the Twins for the rest of his career. Once they made clear that was their desire, too, he quickly agreed.