MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins and center fielder Byron Buxton agreed to a seven-year, $100 million contract Sunday, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the contract was not yet finalized and pending a physical exam.
Buxton posted an aerial picture of Target Field on his Instagram account with a heart emoji for a caption. The fleet-footed, big-swinging Buxton was only under team control for one more season, raising the possibility of a trade to stem the blow of losing him as a free agent.
Despite some snags along the way in the negotiations, which were complicated by Buxton’s injury history that has significantly limited his availability to the Twins, the 27-year-old never wanted to leave the organization he joined straight out of high school in rural Georgia as the second overall pick in the 2012 draft.
Buxton has played more than 92 games only once in his seven major league seasons. That was in 2017, when he played in 140 games and won a Gold Glove award.
The glimpses of his game-changing, worth-the-admission skills have grown broader over the last three years as he blossomed with the bat to match his long-superior work with the glove.
Last year, Buxton broke out at the plate in a big way with 23 doubles, 19 home runs and a .306 average in just 235 at-bats. He had a .647 slugging percentage that would have led the majors if he had a qualifying amount of plate appearances.
Those bursts of dominance just kept getting interrupted, though, often due to bad luck. Buxton suffered a right hip strain in May. Then in mid-June, in just his third game after returning from the first injury, Buxton was hit by a pitch on the hand and broke his left pinky finger. He didn’t return to…