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As Toronto extends Berrios, will Twins do the same with Byron Buxton?

Could the Twins wind up dealing their star outfielder this winter?
Byron Buxton

According to a report, the Minnesota Twins continue to negotiate with Byron Buxton on a long-term deal but also explored trade options at last week's general manager meetings.

The Athletic's Dan Hayes and Ken Rosenthal report that many within baseball expect the Twins to trade Buxton over the winter. But they also note that several team officials are in favor of extending the star outfielder including executive chairman Jim Pohlad.

The report states that Pohlad is reluctant to move Buxton due to the fear it would upset the fan base. While it would be tough for the Twins to move another homegrown talent, the negotiation is a tricky one.

Buxton, who will turn 28 in December, is coming off a career season where he produced a line of .306/.358/.647 with a career-high 19 homers. But Buxton's talent has never been the issue as much as his ability to stay on the field.

Buxton suffered a hip injury and a broken hand that limited him to 101 games last season and has played in over 92 games in a season just twice (2017, 2021) in his career. But the Twins have also reaped the benefits when he's been able to play with a 209-146 record since 2017.

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Twins offered Buxton a seven-year, $80 million contract last July. The deal also included incentives that would have pushed the total to $100 million but Buxton's camp wanted a higher total value, which prompted the Twins to shop him at last year's trade deadline.

The situation is playing out in a similar way to what happened with José Berríos where the Twins sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson.

On Tuesday Toronto announced it had extended Berrios on a 7-year, $131 million contract, far in excess of what the Twins had apparently offered Buxton last summer.

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Adding Martin and Woods Richardson to the Twins brought two more pieces to the team's young nucleus and the Twins could get more in return for a promising but oft-injured outfielder. 

But the Berríos trade also let a legitimate No. 2 starter walk out the door. Berríos finished the season by posting a 3.58 ERA in his last 12 starts and was rewarded with a seven-year, $131 million extension on Tuesday.

Buxton's current contract does not expire until after the 2022 season but it benefits the Twins to get something done this winter.

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