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The offseason message for Twins owners: Pay Byron Buxton

Despite the risk, the Twins outfielder is worth the investment.
Byron Buxton

Prior to Thursday's game, Derek Falvey addressed reporters and made it clear that they are not rebuilding for 2022. If the Twins are truly serious about competing next season and in the future, it starts with paying Byron Buxton.

"Yeah, but he can't stay healthy!"

Buxton has been the subject of trade rumors since he was unable to agree on a contract extension with the Twins last July. While he is not eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season, the team would like a long-term commitment or be able to maximize the return in a trade if Buxton is unwilling to sign.

"He's made of glass!"

Normally, signing a player of Buxton's caliber is an obvious decision but...

"Put him in bubble wrap!"

OK! We get it!

The only thing stopping the Twins and Buxton from signing on the line is his injury history. Over the past three years, Buxton has played in just under half (47.9 percent) of games. This creates a debate about his value and makes agreeing on a deal more difficult. 

But the Twins should do this anyway.

If we were to look at what Buxton brings to the table, we would be backing up a Brinks truck to his house. We all know he has the speed to stretch singles into doubles and make extraordinary plays in the outfield. But it's what Buxton is doing at the plate that has transformed him into a potential superstar. 

Since the start of the 2019 season, Buxton is hitting .273/.319/.568 with 41 homers and 25 stolen bases. He also took it to another level this season, setting career highs in average (.299), on-base percentage (.354), slugging percentage (.629) and home runs (18).

Buxton is a generational talent and that value is shown in the Twins' record when he plays. When Buxton is healthy, the Twins are 116-88 (.630 win percentage) since 2019. When he doesn't, the Twins are 92-105 (.444).

Yes, the injuries are frustrating. But they were just as frustrating as they were with Joe Mauer. Even in his 2009 MVP season, Mauer missed April with a back injury and proceeded to hit .365/.444/.587 with 28 homers.

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That following season, Nick Punto Guy from Monticello would have called into the local radio station and rioted if the Twins didn't pay Mauer over his injury history. Although the Twins caught some egg on their face, people came to see Mauer play and his No. 7 is retired because of it.

There's nothing to say that Buxton couldn't follow the same path. If he stops getting hit by pitches or has the same muscle pulls that literally every baseball player has, he could be an All-Star or even a MVP candidate on a winning team.

Those are players you don't get rid of and it's why the Twins should pay Byron Buxton.

If not? Well, then prepare for him to become the next David Ortiz.

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