With trade rumors continuing to swirl left and right (a rather big move was actually made just before I started writing this, with Adam Frazier off to San Diego), an important piece of information dropped in regards to a Philadelphia Phillies trade target.
According to MLB insiders Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes — the Minnesota Twins were unable to agree to an extension with their star outfielder Byron Buxton:
According to a report made earlier this month, the Phillies have positioned themselves at the front of potential trade discussions in regards to Buxton. That appears to still be the case, with Jon Heyman following up the above-pinned tweet by identifying the Phillies as a team that is heavily interested in Buxton’s availability:
While Buxton has dealt with his fair share of injuries over the past few seasons, he’s still established himself as one of the top center fielders in baseball. He’s a Gold Glove winner and a Platinum Glove winner, and has received AL MVP votes on two different occasions. Buxton recorded an .800+ OPS in both 2019 and 2020, and posted an eye-popping 1.127 OPS through 110 plate appearances this season.
For the Phillies, center field has been a consistent position of need over the past few months. Scott Kingery and Adam Haseley failed to take control of the job leading into the 2021 season (for various reasons), former #1 overall pick Mickey Moniak appears to need more time in AAA, and the likes of Odubel Herrera and Travis Jankowski are better suited for bench roles. Acquiring a potential All-Star in Buxton to lockdown the position for at least one full season fills one major roster hole for the Phils moving forward.
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The injuries are obviously of concern (Buxton is currently on the injured list with a broken hand), but that’s actually something that could play into the Phillies favor. Dave Dombrowski doesn’t have a ton of high-tier prospects to offer the Twins in potential trade negotiations — targeting someone whose value is on the lower side due to injuries makes sense.
The tricky part with Buxton is the extra year of team control that Minnesota possesses. Obviously that’s something that is of great interest to Dombrowski and the Phillies (seeing as 2022 looks more like a contention year for Philly), but it’s also something that gives the Twins a ton of leverage. Minnesota could easily wait until next year’s trade deadline to deal away Buxton.
Rumored Phillies trade target Byron Buxton has failed to reach a contract extension with his current team, the Minnesota Twins.
Ultimately speaking though, Buxton failing to reach an extension with the Twins is good news for Dombrowski and the Phillies. If they are serious about making a move for the star CF, there’s now at least a notable reason for Minnesota to entertain offers.