Byron Buxton has been the Minnesota Twins‘ top prospect since he was drafted in 2012 with the second overall pick. Up to this point, he just hasn’t performed to the level the Twins had hoped. He missed the 2014 season because of injury, didn’t perform as expected in 2015 and has already been sent down by the Twins in 2016.
Buxton is by no means a bust. It will just take some time for him to get used to hitting the ball consistently. No one can deny that he is a good outfielder and has great speed, but none of that matters if you can’t hit. He reminds me of the Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hamilton. The potential is endless if he can just hit the ball.
With every send down, Buxton loses more and more value. His time with the Twins has not gone well and the club is stocked with outfield options. I truly believe at this point, the Twins should just trade Buxton and get a handsome reward in return. Buxton is the No. 2 prospect, according to MLB.com, so he still has plenty of value.
Trading Buxton really comes down to what the team needs. They currently have outfielder Eddie Rosario, who doesn’t hit free agency until 2022. The recent move of Miguel Sano to the outfield seems like one that will stick, even with him playing third base right now in place of Trevor Plouffe (who is on the DL). Plouffe has another year with the club, while Sano won’t be a free agent until 2022.
Max Kepler was sent back down to Triple-A as well, but there is really only one outfield spot left after Sano and Rosario. The DH spot is filled as well, with Byung-ho Park and Joe Mauer trading off between first base and DH. Park and Mauer both have multiple years left on their contracts.
This all brings up the question of where does Buxton actually fit in? The answer is he doesn’t. What the Twins could really use is a pitcher and that is precisely what Buxton could bring in return. I’m not saying losing Buxton wouldn’t hurt, but if he does end up being a bust, holding onto him this whole time will hurt more.
If the Twins bring up Buxton again, then have to send him to Triple-A once again, he will lose all the value he has now. By sending down Buxton this season, they have already lost some of that value. The time to move on from the game of Buxton musical chairs is now. A middle-of-the-rotation starter could be the prize.