The Minnesota Twins have agreed to a long-term contract extension with center fielder Byron Buxton, CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden confirms. The deal is for seven years and $100 million, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
Buxton, 27, was set to hit free agency after the 2022 season. Word around the league was that the Twins were either planning to reach a long-term extension with him or trade him before next season.
Given the immense upside Buxton has flashed on the field versus the myriad issues he'd had staying on the field, the deal makes sense for both sides with some MVP incentives based upon any top-10 finishes Buxton has during the course of it:
More details:— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 28, 2021
$1M signing bonus.
2023-28-$15M per season
MVP bonuses, believed to be unprecedented, for every year of deal.
Also: $500K each for 502, 533, 567, 600 and 625 plate appearances. https://t.co/leTEjfa4wR
As Rosenthal noted, we've never seen anything like this. Of course, that's kind of the situation the Twins and Buxton were in with an upcoming free agency or trade discussion where it would've been incredibly difficult to pin down his exact value.
Buxton is heading to his age-28 season and has the potential to be a five-tool superstar in the MVP conversation. He hit .306/.358/.647 (171 OPS+) last season, but that was only in 61 games. He had 23 doubles, 19 homers, 32 RBI, 50 runs and nine steals 254 plate appearances. Throw in his absurd defensive chops in center and he was worth 4.5 WAR. If he could maintain that pace over the course of 162, he'd be a frontrunner for MVP.
Due to some demotions in the minors earlier in his career and lingering injury issues, Buxton has only played in more than 92 games one time in his career (140 games in 2017). Even in the pandemic-shortened 2020, he managed just 39 of 60 games.
But when he's on, there is perhaps no more dynamic player in baseball. The Twins' annual outlay is perfectly acceptable for their financial wherewithal and if he plays well enough to win MVP, they'd be happy to pay the extra $8 million. On Buxton's side, he's signed a deal that guarantees him $100 million and surely he's confident enough that he can cash some of those MVP vote incentives.
All this is to say, it appears they reached a mutually beneficial deal. Kudos to both sides.