In a recent tweet, Craig Mish of SportsGrid suggested that the Miami Marlins would be a team to watch out for when it comes to potentially acquiring Minnesota Twins CF Byron Buxton. Although Buxton only had 61 games played (235 AB) in 2021, he played extremely well: .306 BA, 72 H, 19 HR, 32 RBI, 9 SB, .358 OBP, 1.005 OPS.
Buxton’s talent has never been in question, only his durability. He’s now entering his final season of arbitration eligibility.
Should the Marlins trade for Buxton if they can get a fair price for him? Let’s go through the pros and cons.
Buxton is an injury-prone player. In addition to his abbreviated 2021 season, he was limited to 87 games in 2019 and 28 games the year before that. Aside from 2017 (140 games played), he has never come close to approaching a full-season workload at the major league level.
Another huge issue is his contract: he’s on track to enter free agency after the 2022 season. Earlier this year, Buxton was offered a long-term deal worth $80M and declined. For a Marlins team that was reportedly unwilling to meet Starling Marte’s asking price on a four-year deal, it is doubtful they would be able to reach an agreement with him.
Despite these questions, the Twins aren’t going to simply give him away. They probably will command multiple quality prospects in exchange. If you’re Miami, you’re taking the risk of parting with potential rising stars just to get a guy who has had trouble staying on the field.
Negotiating a Buxton trade would come with a lot of complications.
The Marlins are in huge need of a center fielder and Byron Buxton is a great fit. Buxton—turning 28 next month—is still young and has a long way to go in his career. He is one of the best players in the league when healthy.
In 2021, Buxton looked like a Gold Glove-caliber defender as he had 179 putouts and only one error in the 61 games he played. He totaled 10 Defensive Runs Saved and 7 Outs Above Average. Combine him with Jesús Sánchez and Bryan De La Cruz in the corner outfield spots, they would make life easy for the Marlins pitchers.
Buxton would immediately make the Marlins offense a lot better and hopefully more consistent, especially in the power department. He slugged .647 with 19 home runs in 2021. For his MLB career, he averages about a homer for every seven games played.
Steamer projections for the 2022 season forecast 31 HR and a .516 SLG (130 games). That would make him Miami’s top power threat since Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna.
Even Buxton’s on-base skills were solid this past season. He made much more hard contact than ever before, collecting plenty of hits on balls in play. That’s important because his extreme speed helps manufacture runs when the rest of the offense is struggling.
There are many positives and negatives about Byron Buxton’s situation, in my opinion. Ultimately, I personally believe that a Buxton trade would not make too much sense for the Marlins—he’s likely just a rental for them. They should focus on center fielders who still have multiple years of control.
Now, I want to hear from you in the comments.