Monday, August 10, 2015

The Twins Make A Move, And They Get It

The Minnesota Twins are a sub .500 baseball team for the first time since May. They have gone from Wild Card contender, to post All Star Game flop. In nearly every facet of the game, the Twins have normalized towards their projections, and it's caused an ugly domino effect. Thankfully though, in their most recent transaction, they show they get it.

Today Byron Buxton was activated from the disabled list and them optioned to Triple-A Rochester. In activating Buxton, the Twins could have immediately called him up to Minnesota. They intelligently chose not to, and in doing so did themselves some favors along the way.

There's little room to argue against the fact that the Twins offense has been horrible since the All Star Break. Could Byron Buxton, baseball's best prospect have provided a spark, maybe. He also may not have. Regardless, the Twins absolutely did the right thing today.

Buxton had been on the disabled list for over six weeks (with an initially reported 4-6 week timeframe). He has played in just three rehab games at Triple-A Rochester (his first taste of the level), and he owns a .189/.231/.270 slash line across his first 11 big league games. As a whole, rushing him back immediately when cleared would seem a silly decision.

Looking past the on field ramifications, something more important is at play here. The Twins are understanding of who they are and what they have going forward. In activating and optioning Buxton, they will save 17 days of service time (assuming he's recalled on September 1). In doing so, Minnesota could be better positioned to save millions down the road by gaining more team control, and avoiding Super 2 status for a potential superstar.

Also, with the way transactions are handled, the Twins are offered flexibility. Because they optioned Buxton, the Twins must wait 10 days to recall him. By making the move today, Minnesota has plenty of time to let him play at Triple-A prior to the rosters expanding in September. Also, if the Twins recall Buxton within 20 days, the option will not count.

Most importantly at play here is the saved service time. With the flexibility the move gives the Twins, they can allow Buxton to get ready and not be hurt financially by it. The lost (or potentially not) option is next to irrelevant. Options should be considered for players moving back and forth between the minors. For a guy like Buxton, dubbed the best prospect in baseball, being out of options would signify a greater problem altogether.

Terry Ryan and the Twins are acknowledging their success, and also not negating their window. Competition this season wasn't expected, and even with the strong positioning early on, regression was always looming. In not dealing away assets at the deadline, and making key moves like this one, the Twins are poised to have all their chickens hatched and ready to go starting next season.

Byron Buxton was already going to be the Twins opening day centerfielder in 2016 regardless, a move like this may have guaranteed he's there for a World Series challenging team in the early 2020's.

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