Cardinals Rumors: Should St. Louis pursue Byron Buxton?

If the Minnesota Twins are unable to extend Byron Buxton, they’ll likely trade him. Should the St. Louis Cardinals be interested?

Early Friday morning, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Minnesota Twins and outfielder Byron Buxton were discussing a $70+ million contract extension. But Rosenthal added that if Buxton declines the offer, the Twins are likely to trade him — which could turn the trade market upside down.

Should the Cardinals be interested?

Buxton, 27, presents an intriguing skillset. He is an otherworldly defender. He is hitting .369 with a .409 on-base percentage and a .767 slugging percentage. But his issue throughout his career has been staying healthy — he’s only played over 92 games in a season once — and is on the injured list for the 11th time of his career.

But if Buxton was able to stay healthy, as Rosenthal wrote, he would be in a similar class with Mookie Betts and Mike Trout. It would be the kind of game changing talent the Cardinals need to get over the hump and to potentially compete in the National League Central this year and for years to come.

The asking price, however, would likely be well out of the Cardinals’ price range. After all, players of his caliber will have a strong market, especially since he is signed so cheaply, and could cost them Nolan Gorman or Matthew Liberatore. That’s something the Cardinals are unlikely to do, but Buxton could be the exception considering 1) his defense and 2) his offensive prowess, marking a significant upgrade over Harrison Bader in center field and giving them a third elite offensive threat alongside Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt.

The Cardinals should – and probably will – make a call to the Twins about Buxton, if they haven’t already. They’ve already talked about Jose Berrios and some other of their pitchers. But if the Cardinals can acquire Buxton, and also get another starting pitcher in the same deal or in a separate deal, they should be all over it — as long as the price is right.