The Twins have the worst record in baseball and are poised to be sellers at the Trade Deadline. The Yankees are in need of outfielders due to injuries and lack of production.
MLB insider Joel Sherman, of the New York Post, recently listed Byron Buxton as a potential trade candidate for the Yankees as they inch closer to this summer's MLB Trade Deadline.
Are the Yankees and Twins a perfect match for a deal involving Buxton? Let's break it down.
The justification from Sherman was the latest injury to Aaron Hicks. The center fielder could be sidelined for an extended period of time due to a torn sheath in his left wrist, landing him on the 10-day injured list.
Besides Aaron Judge, New York hasn't had consistent production from the rest of the outfielders on this roster. With Giancarlo Stanton's injury woes rearing its ugly head once again—resulting in a trip on the injured list due to a quad strain—there's no question this offense could use a spark at some point in the near future.
In other circumstances, this idea would be completely outlandish. The Twins came into this season looking to win their division for the third season in a row. Yes, the Twins have struggled quite a bit in the postseason, but even with the surging Chicago White Sox, the consensus entering this spring was that Minnesota would be in contention once again in 2021.
Instead, the Twins are 13-26 and already 11.5 games back of first place in the American League Central.
With what appears to be an already insurmountable deficit in the standings, all signs point toward Minnesota trading away some pieces over the next few months to recoup some talent. We'll call it a soft rebuild of sorts.
The question is, would they be willing to part ways with a star like Buxton.
The center fielder has all five tools, showcasing his MVP-caliber skillset early on this season. Before landing on the injured list, Buxton was hitting .370 (34-for-92) with nine home runs and a 1.180 OPS over 24 games.
The 27-year-old's injury history has been a recurring theme over the last several seasons, though. Buxton has only played in more than 100 games in a single season once over seven years in the big leagues. That one full season came in 2017 when Buxton played in 140 games during his age-23 campaign.
Injuries aside, if the Twins were ever to make Buxton available, countless teams would be interested. That in mind, it would take a haul to convince the Twins to make any sort of deal including Buxton, but a club like the Yankees may theoretically have what it takes to put together an enticing offer.
Although New York would make their top prospect—phenom Jasson Dominguez—untouchable, odds are a mix of pitchers Deivi García and Clarke Schmidt, along with big leaguers Clint Frazier and Miguel Andújar, would factor in.
It's worth noting that the Twins and Yankees have a history making trades. These two franchises have recently negotiated on separate deals that sent Hicks, Lance Lynn and Jaime García to the Bronx.
As much as this might seem relatively feasible on paper, it's time to snap back to reality.
First off, the Yankees would benefit more than anything from trading for a left-handed hitter. The production from the left side for New York has been putrid to this point of the season, so if the Yankees part ways with prospects to make any deal, it's hard to imagine a package not being invested in a lefty bat.
That means Buxton's teammate Max Kepler would be more in line with New York's needs. Otherwise, names like Joey Gallo of the Rangers, Arizona's David Peralta, Joc Pederson of the Cubs, San Francisco's Mike Yastrzemski, Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Brewers and more make sense as possible targets.
Further, New York has made it clear that they're trying to stay below the Competitive Balance Tax threshold. The financial implications of adding a player like Buxton to the payroll would need to be considered here if GM Brian Cashman hopes to remain below the luxury tax.
The biggest factor, however, is the Twins would be silly to trade away Buxton. As alluded to earlier, even if 2021 is a wash for Minnesota, the center fielder is only 27 and has the potential to be one of the league's best players if he can stay healthy.
Bottom line, even on the off chance that Buxton is placed on the trade block, the Yankees will likely be looking elsewhere (if anywhere at all). Besides, the Twins won't be dangling Buxton on the trade market. They'd be better served trading away Nelson Cruz, Andrelton Simmons, Michael Pineda or J.A. Happ, veterans on expiring contracts.
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