When Byron Buxton entered Target Field on Wednesday morning to officially announce his seven-year contract extension, he did so as a self-proclaimed Minnesotan.
The Twins center fielder's $100 million deal will keep him in the state through 2028. This is the only organization the Georgia native has ever played for, with the Twins drafting him No. 2 overall back in 2012.
"This is a special place for me. This is a special place for my family," the 27-year-old said. "There's nowhere else we want to be."
Buxton, his wife, Lindsey, and sons Brixton and Blaze were present, alongside Twins front office bosses Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Twins legends such as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Paul Molitor also came to show their support.
While the Twins had a disappointing 2021 season missing the playoffs, and Buxton struggled with injuries that severely dented his playing time, all involved preached how Buxton's long-term signing is just the beginning. Despite limited playing time this past season, Buxton still hit .306 with 23 doubles, 19 home runs and 32 RBI.
The signing ranks among the richest in team history. Joe Mauer's eight-year, $184 million deal signed in 2010 remains at the top, and Buxton's is larger overall than Josh Donaldson's four-year, $92 million contract last year.
Buxton earned a $1 million signing bonus, making his 2022 salary $9 million, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Buxton, who made $5.125 million this past season, will make $15 million per season from 2023 to '28.
He also has the potential to achieve large bonuses for where he finishes in AL MVP voting: $8 million for finishing first, $7 million for second, $6 million for third and so on, down to $3 million for finishing sixth through 10th. He could also make an additional $2.5 million annually for staying healthy: an additional $500,000 for 502, 533, 567, 600, and 625 plate appearances each season. He had a career-high 511 plate appearances in 2017, when he played 140 games, the only season in which he played more than 100.
The Twins have been working on this deal with Buxton for years, and he could have become a free agent after next season.
"We view this as a championship-caliber team, but he is a central figure to that," Levine said. "He's a memory maker."
Levine was speaking of how Buxton creates moments for fans, but Buxton emphasized several times how Minnesota has become a place of comfort for him. And much of him deciding to sign on for the long haul was based on loyalty, to the team that picked him from the start and saw him through his complex injury history.
"My biggest goal here for me now is to win as many rings as I can to bring back to Minneapolis. That's my biggest focus," Buxton said. "I don't have that scariness of, 'Am I going to be here anymore?'"