The Twins and outfielder Byron Buxton agreed on a new contract Sunday, checking off the organization's major offseason agenda item before Major League Baseball heads into a potential work stoppage Thursday.
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Buxton's new seven-year, $100 million contract extension comes with a full no-trade clause and a lucrative set of bonuses. The center fielder was American League player of the month in April, putting on an offensive and defensive show before injuries derailed much of his season, and the Twins finished in last place in the AL Central after winning the division in 2019 and 2020.
Buxton appeared to confirm the news on Instagram, posting a picture of lit-up Target Field at night captioned with a heart emoji. The team has not confirmed the reports.
Once official, the deal will rank among the richest in team history. Buxton's contract would fall between Joe Mauer's eight-year, $184 million deal signed in 2010 and Josh Donaldson's four-year, $92 million contract last year.
The Georgia native will earn a $1 million signing bonus, making his 2022 salary $9 million, according to the reports. He will make $15 million per season from 2023 to '28. He also has the potential to achieve large bonuses for where he finishes in AL MVP voting: $8 million for finishing first, $7 million for second and so on, down to $3 million for finishing sixth through 10th.
The 27-year-old could also rake in an additional $2.5 million annually simply for staying healthy. He will earn an additional $500,000 for 502, 533, 567, 600, and 625 plate appearances each season. He had a career-high 511 plate appearances in 2017, when he played 140 games, the only season he has played more than 100 in the majors.
The Twins had been working on this deal for months, as Buxton could have become a free agent after next season. He made $5.125 million this past season.
Buxton, whom the Twins drafted with the No. 2 overall pick out of high school in 2012, played in only 61 games this year but hit .306 with 19 home runs. It was his strongest season yet since making his MLB debut in 2015, but injuries have curbed his potential.
The outfielder missed significant time in 2021 because of a hip strain and a fractured hand. He played only 28 games 2018 because of migraines, a fractured toe, a wrist sprain and a demotion to the minor leagues. He also had surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2019.
Buxton returned to the lineup last summer in late August and heated up at the plate after a cool start to his comeback. He hit .283 with a .619 slugging percentage in 29 games in September and October, including nine home runs. On the last day of the season, a dreary day in Kansas City, Buxton's outlook was sunny. "I'm pretty pumped," he said.
On the contract negotiations and the talk of a potential trade, he said that day: "It's nothing I've worried about. The only uniform I know is the Minnesota Twins. It's the only thing I really cared about."