Injuries robbed Byron Buxton from what could have an MVP caliber 2021 season. He is on track to return to the Twins lineup soon before entering the final year of his deal and it’s time for Minnesota to cash him out or send him to a contender.
With Buxton’s injury history, that won’t be an easy decision. His talent, however, is undeniable.
Buxton was the main attraction in Saint Paul, Minnesota this weekend as he made his return to action for the first time since June when his hand was broken after being hit by a pitch.
— St. Paul Saints (@StPaulSaints) August 22, 2021
After going 0-2 with just a RBI sac fly Friday, he was given the day off Saturday. The rest day did him well as he sent his first home run since June 20th to a lucky fan on the left field lawn.
Byron Buxton is in a different MODE 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 11, 2021
This season started off as promising for Buxton. He is the definition of a five-tool player, and it appeared he finally put everything together as he won the American Leagues player of the month award for his play in April.
At that point in time Buxton was the leader of the pack for the American League MVP award, but in May things came to an end when he injured his hamstring trying to beat out a ground ball late in a game against the Rangers.
Byron Buxton had a sprint speed of 30.9 ft/sec on his infield single!
30.0 ft/sec is considered elite. pic.twitter.com/Dy1sw8B932
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) April 27, 2021
Once Buxton was sidelined, the Twins season fell apart. They went from fighting with the White Sox for first place to having a major fire sale at the trade deadline. Even Buxton had his name thrown around in trade rumors after it was reported that he and the Twins couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract extension.
Buxton is a part of a star-studded 2023 free agency class that will also includes names such as Nolan Arenado and Xander Bogarts. Despite not having the All-Star appearances and hardware those two have, Buxton’s impact can have a similar affect on a team.
Health is a factor that should be taken into consideration when deciding on whether or not to ink Buxton to a long term deal, but judging by the way the Twins’ season crashed and burned without him, I believe they should back up a brinks truck to keep him as a cornerstone of the organization.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) May 5, 2021
The Twins were not offered proper compensation for Buxton during this most recent trade deadline due to the fact teams were not sure of his status for the remainder of the season, but baseball is being cheated out of watching him display his talents in the race for October.
Buxton’s swing already looks Major League ready, so it’s possible he won’t need a long stint in Triple A before returning to the Twins. This week they’re scheduled for a three game set beginning Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox.