Safe at home: Buxton relishes comfort of staying with Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The first offer came from the Minnesota Twins nearly five years ago, initiating their attempt to sign center fielder Byron Buxton to a long-term contract and keep a potential superstar from reaching free agency and a bidding frenzy on the open market.
Getting this $100 million deal done required ample patience, creativity and respect from both sides, but the tipping point was simply the deep desire by Buxton to stay in Minnesota with the only franchise he’s ever been with.
He’ll be with the Twins for at least the next seven seasons, with a full no-trade clause to ensure it.
“This is our home here. The stability here for me and my family and my kids to stay here through school, let ’em play baseball, fishing, whatever it may be. Comfortability level was a big key for us,” said Buxton, who finalized the contract Wednesday before a news conference with president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine.
Buxton turns 28 later this month. His wife, Lindsey, and sons, 7-year-old Brixton and 17-month-old Blaze, attended the event held at a lounge and bar area inside Target Field.
“I love the fans. I love the city. I love the organization. They were the first ones that gave me a chance to become who I am today. So for me, there’s a lot of loyalty to this. That’s how I was raised,” said Buxton, who was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft out of high school in rural Georgia.
If the driving force in the negotiations was loyalty, the complicating factor was his injury history. The Twins were naturally cautious with their commitment, considering Buxton has played in more than 92 games only once (2017) in his first seven major league seasons, but Buxton and his representatives fully realized his ability to be an MVP-caliber player if he can stay in the lineup.
To help bridge the gaps, there are hefty incentives in the deal — “unprecedented,” Falvey said — based on his finishes in the American League MVP voting.