The Twitter-sphere was abuzz on Tuesday as this tweet came out from ESPN’s Buster Olney on another off-day prior to the World Series:
A year ago, fans would have gasped at this statement. Why? Because DH Billy Butler represented the KC Royals at the All-Star Game, which they hosted. He was coming off career highs in home runs (29) and RBIs (107), while hitting .313. Unfortunately, the team was not in contention.
This season, the Royals were in contention, but Butler put up lows in home runs (15), RBIs (82), and batting average (.289). Plus fans blamed him for about every loss because he hit into a ton of double plays and wasn’t clutch enough, and was well…slow.
Not helping is that Butler is set to make $8 million in 2014, with a 2015 option ranging from $12.5 million to $14.5 million. Oh and then he gets a bonus if he is traded. For a guy who is purely a DH, who does not run the bases well, and is not a true power threat, that is a TON of money for the cash-strapped Royals. Especially considering fans want to see the Royals re-sign starting pitcher Ervin Santana and get a second baseman and right fielder.
However, Butler has been very consistent over his career with a line of .298/.364/.459 over 1015 games, which has been hard to come by in the DH department in recent history. Also, he is a fan favorite, known as “Country Breakfast” in the Midwest, and the Royals even have rally BBQ sauce.
Potential suitors will be limited to the American League and who would be interested depends on how much salary that team would have to take.
Tampa Bay is an interesting spot. They have struggled over the years with their DH spot, as Carlos Pena was probably their best player in terms of power, though he struggled to hit his weight. The two teams have already hooked up for a blockbuster deal last offseason and maybe they can hook up again. Maybe Butler and a prospect for lefty ace David Price?
Seattle is an interesting spot too, especially if Morales turns down the Mariners qualifying offer like he says he will. However, they could look internally and slide Jesus Montero into that spot or rotate their young players. I do think Butler would fit in nicely with the Mariners young core of players.
Texas is in desperate need for offense and Butler could be a fit. Plus, the Royals could acquire some of their young pitching. However, the Rangers are heavy on the right-side in their lineup and may be looking for a left-handed bat. And they really could use some power, which Butler has not consistently shown.
Should the Royals move Butler?
Where would you like to see him traded and who would you want in return?