For many years, the strategy for winning Minnesota Twins baseball was as simple as “hope Byron Buxton stays healthy”. When Buck was in the lineup—especially at his centerfield post—the Twins would look dynamic. With Byron riding the pine pony for one injury-related reason or the other? The whole squad seemed listless.
The problem with that approach was that as much as the Twins wanted to dream of Byron leading the charge, such somnambulant visions usually turned nightmarish when Buxton would rarely play more than 100 games per season. In 2023, the Twins finally took action by signing Michael A. Taylor—who produced a career season at the plate and was solid in the field—while also giving Willi Castro time in CF. Neither player is signed for 2024.
Recently, Buxton underwent another knee procedure in hopes of being ready to patrol the widest OF swath next season. Sadly—and I truly mean that: Buxton’s injury history is up on the Mt. Rushmore of Twins Tragedies with Killebrew in a Royals uniform, Oliva’s knee, and the M&M Boys concussions—this is far from a guarantee. With CF too important of a position to leave up to a “wing and a prayer”, here are some options at that spot in ‘24...
Michael A. Taylor
- Would need to be signed back, but perhaps the easiest option. Though Mr. Tater should not be expected to replicate his ‘23 batting performance, his defense always sparkles.
- Currently eligible for arbitration. More than capable of handling CF in short stretches—but prolonged play might expose his defensive and offensive liabilities as well as severely reduce his ability to pinch run/hit and contribute to Rocco’s roster flexibility.
- Has the “speed” tool in abundance—but I do not know enough about him as a prospect to gauge his everyday effectiveness as a long-term Buxton backup.
- I only put Our Lord & Savior here because someone will mention it if I don’t. But seeing how his three career OF innings resulted in an ACL tear, I think the Twins keep him on the dirt.
Free Agent Signing
- This is tricky, because the Twins need a guy okay with potentially not being the starter if Buxton does finally get the knee fixed up. Looking at the ‘24 free agent tracker, names like Aaron Hicks & Robbie Grossman up don’t exactly instill me with a ton of confidence.
What say you on the matter...
What is the best CF option for 2024?
This poll is closed
Buxton and crossed fingers
Bring back Michael A. Taylor
Rely on Willi Castro if Buxton falters
The mystery of Andrew Stevenson
Royce Royce Baby