It appears the Twins and Byron Buxton will avoid arbitration, as he closes in on a one-year contract worth around $1.7 million.
Two sources close to the negotiations confirmed the deal, which comes as major league teams try to reach contracts with arbitration-eligible players before Friday's filing deadline.
Buxton made $580,000 last season, playing in only 28 major league games during an injury-plagued year. He spent most of the season at Class AAA Rochester trying to find his swing. He hit .272 in 35 games with the Red Wings.
The Twins did not promote in September. The move ensured that Buxton would not gain enough service time -- he's 13 days shy -- to become a free agent until after the 2022 season instead of 2021.
"Yes. I ain't sugarcoating nothing," Buxton said Dec. 11 when asked of his displeasure over the decision. "It kind of didn't go over well."
Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey responded by saying Buxton will be the starting center fielder for 2019. "I feel as soon as Byron gets around his teammates and we get things moving, going forward, he's going to be exactly what we expect him to be. And we are going to support him to be the best possible player he can be," Falvey said.
The deal will exceed the $1.2 million salary he was projected to receive by mlbtraderumors.com. If Buxton has a bounceback season, he will have a higher jumping off point for his second arbitration season.
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The Twins have quite a lot of work remaining. Pitchers Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May; outfielders Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler; and third baseman Miguel Sano are also eligible for arbitration.
If teams and players don't reach agreements Friday, both sides propose a salary number. They can still reach an agreement before an arbiter chooses the winner.
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