As you’ve probably heard, the Twins declined to call up center fielder Byron Buxton when rosters expanded for September. The former gold glove center fielder has been in the minors since earlier this year when he had migraines, and then broke his toe, and then had an issue with his wrist — the list goes on.
A lot of people thought Buxton would be a September call-up, so the reaction to him not being a September call-up was.... tepid?
Twins officially say Byron Buxton will not be called up in September, even after the Triple-A season is over. I don't understand not wanting to get him as many at-bats as possible given all the time he missed. Twins can't/won't say it, but this stinks of service time suppression.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) September 2, 2018
If I'm Buxton (or his agents), I let the club know that I understand the service time thing was done in their best interest... and then, in my best interest, I'd like to be traded.— Jeremy Nygaard (@jeremynygaard) September 2, 2018
This is a bad look for the organization and players around the league recognize that.
With Buxton, Eloy and Vlad Jr. spending September somewhere other than the majors I am becoming convinced that the next CBA will have to figure out something other than service time as the key driver of pre-FA salaries and free agent eligibility.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) September 2, 2018
Here’s my take on this, and I guess it could be considered a “hot” one: I don’t care?
Generally, I am pro-union, pro-player, pro all of that stuff. I’m poor myself, despite working hard. Go the little guys! I just don’t really care the Twins didn’t call up Byron Buxton. The dude has been injured all year, whether it be his brain, his toe, his wrist, etc. If Buxton had been healthy all year and the Twins failed to call him up (which would never have even happened, because he’d never have been in the minors in the first place), I would be pissed. But he hasn’t been healthy. I’m not his personal doctor, but for all I know his wrist could still be bothering him. The one thing I do know about Buxton will never admit that he is hurting. Doug Mientkiewicz described this exact problem with Buxton when he managed him in High-A.
Thad Levine’s comment about Buxton’s service time, admittedly, is regrettable. If you don’t know, the deal is basically that if Byron Buxton played ten more games in the majors, the Twins would lose an extra one year of control over him (a.k.a. another team could sign him away). Levine admitted that fact played a role in not calling Buxton up. He probably shouldn’t have said that. That gave the bloggers so much ammo.
Honestly, to me? If Buxton had been healthy all year, the Twins would have called him up. He would have been in the majors. The bigger problem is that Buxton isn’t healthy. Thad Levine just might be suffering from a bit of foot-in-mouth disease by saying it was a service time issue, when I think that clearly was not the bigger issue.
I love Buxton as much as anyone else. He is one of the most fun players to watch based on just his speed. But, let’s be real — over 230 major league games, he’s hit .230/.285/.387. For those who aren’t aware, that is not very good. Of course he’s shown flashes of greatness, his defense is amazing, but nothing has been sustained. He’s been injured pretty much since mid April. The fact people are freaking out about him not being called up is actually sort of mind-boggling.
I’m not even going to lie. I woke up after my sushi-induced coma last night and was looking at my phone, and mentioned to my boyfriend, “Oh yeah, September call ups now?” He responded, “OH, YEAH, YOU SAW THE BYRON BUXTON NEWS, HUH?” I literally didn’t. I actually saw a tweet that Andrew Vasquez was called up and was amazed just by that.
Here’s what I have to say about Buxton: He’s extremely talented. He will do great things for the Twins one day. He’s not healthy. The Twins didn’t make a huge mistake here, beyond what they said to the public maybe. Publicly saying it was a service time issue was not the right thing to do, especially considering I don’t think it was mostly a service time issue. It’s the fact Buxton hasn’t been healthy or playing well all year, with the service time as the extra cherry on top.
Yeah, that’s what I have to say on the topic. Have at it in the comments.