Buxton talks extension: 'I want to be here'

Center fielder makes his stance clear after initial talks fall through

July 27th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- Byron Buxton's representatives and the Twins reportedly couldn't reach an agreement on a contract extension on Sunday, as first reported by The Athletic and confirmed by MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, but Buxton himself made clear on Monday that he doesn't want this to be the end of those discussions.

"Everybody knows I want to be here," Buxton said. "It's just one of those things. We didn’t come to an agreement, but it’s not the first time it's happened. We've been in numerous conversations before, and it's not the end. You never know how many more chances they have to communicate with each other."

Sporting a gel-filled splint on his broken left hand after a light session of catch on the field before the Twins' series opener against the Tigers, Buxton indicated that he's not at all frustrated by the lack of agreement to this point and remains hopeful that he and the Twins can come to a long-term agreement that will keep him in Minnesota.

Of course, with Buxton primed to hit free agency following the 2022 season and months removed from an MVP-caliber opening to his '21 campaign that saw him named American League Player of the Month in April, he and his representatives will still be looking for an agreement that they feel represents the center fielder's upside and value.

"I talked, they talked. It’s mutual," Buxton said. "So, everybody is on good terms. We're great. I’m great here. Happy to be here. There’s nothing I’m pressing or frustrated with."

A source told Feinsand that the Twins’ latest offer amounted to a guarantee of around $80 million dollars over seven seasons.

For as sky-high as Buxton’s true talent level might be and the flashes he’s given the Twins of how that could fully translate to the field with his .369/.409/.767 line with 10 homers, 11 doubles and five steals in 27 games this season, the issue with Buxton has always been his extensive injury history, leading to only 459 games played over seven seasons -- an average of just under 66 games per year.

"What we really need to get a sense for is, what do we think a player is going to do going into the future?" president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said on MLB Network on Sunday. "That is informed by what has transpired over the last number of years. We feel like we've continued to help Byron in particular with some of the things he's done on the field. I think he's managed his center-field play where he's run into some injuries along the way a bit better."

If the Twins don't feel they can secure Buxton's services beyond 2022, it could make sense for them to pursue a trade sooner rather than later, though it might be more difficult to work out an agreement before the July 30 Trade Deadline, considering Buxton has been on the shelf with the broken hand for five weeks and is still wearing the splint.

Whatever the case, any rumors aren't Buxton's primary concern.

"It’s not frustrating," Buxton said. "For me, it's just more about me getting back out here to compete with my teammates and get back in the groove of playing again. Obviously, I’ve been out a while, so it’s not really my main focus right now. My main focus is getting back out with my teammates."

And, as far as he's concerned, he's made his stance clear -- to both his representatives and to Twins fans -- whatever does end up transpiring, whether in the next several days, or during this coming offseason or beyond.

"My representatives know I want to be here, so they take that into account," Buxton said. "So, I don’t really have to say too much else because they know where I want to be."

"Obviously, for me, the Twins drafted me, so this is where I want to spend my career," he added. "There’s not too much I can say for anybody else, but for me, I know where I want to spend my career. So, that’s kind of it for me."