Report: Yankees could pursue star outfielder, but it would be a mistake

byron buxton, yankees

The New York Yankees have been connected to a variety of potential trade partners, and the latest is Minnesota Twins star outfielder Byron Buxton. While general manager Brian Cashman has considered Starling Marte as a potential solution in centerfield, Buxton has elite potential, coming off a season when he recorded a .306 batting average with 19 homers and 32 RBIs.

The Twins could look to acquire significant assets in return for Buxton, who is just 27-years-old and coming off his best season as a professional. However, they are not completely sold on the concept due to the expected response of the fan base if he were to be moved.

Per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes:

Chairman Jim Pohlad, according to major-league sources, is reluctant to move Buxton, knowing such a decision potentially would upset a fan base tired of seeing the team part with homegrown stars. But the Twins have failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension with Buxton, their dynamic, yet oft-injured center fielder who is eligible for free agency after the 2022 season. … Before the Twins would move Buxton, they would want to make sure they are unable to reach an agreement with him on an extension. The parties continue to communicate, but have not made progress toward a deal, sources said.

Buxton is eligible for free agency in 2022, but his most prominent negative is his health history. Buxton played in just 61 games this past season, 39 in 2020, and 87 in 2019. He has only played over 92 games once in his career, back in 2017, which seems like it was 1 million years ago.

Aside from Buxton‘s incredible offensive performance in 2021, he was also an impeccable outfielder. He recorded a .994 fielding percentage with just one error over 509 innings. With elite speed, providing 71 stolen bases over the course of his career, the Yankees would undoubtedly love his talents in the lineup.

Buxton has a sprint speed of 30.9 ft./s, which is categorized as elite. Despite all of his positive attributes, the Yankees can’t afford to add another injury-prone player to their payroll, so they should avoid Buxton like the plague, turning their attention to trade targets like Matt Olson instead.