Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler (16) Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals Rumors: Are The Toronto Blue Jays Interested In Billy Butler



The Kansas City Royals have not made any kind of move yet during the Winter Meetings but that doesn’t mean the rumors have stopped flying around.

The Toronto Blue Jays may have some interest in Billy Butler. According to Tip of the Tower, which covers the Toronto sports scene, based on tweets from Jeff Blair, a sports columnist for Canada’s National Newspaper, the Royals have just had preliminary discussions with the Blue Jays involving Butler.




It is difficult to see what the Jays would be willing to part with that would actually help the Royals. Kansas City is not going to trade Butler just for the sake up trading him. The only players could provide that help would be Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, or Colby Rasmus. The latter option could probably be had in the right deal but it is doubtful he would be an offensive upgrade over Butler.

Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19)Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It is highly doubtful Toronto  would trade Bautista or Encarnacion, as both are relatively cheap, considering the power they provide. Bautista is due to make $42 million over the next three years, and Encarnacion is set to make just $20 million over the next two seasons, barely more than Butler.

If the Jays are interested in trading Bautista, then maybe they are worried about a drop in production over the remainder of his contract. He will be 35 years old by the end of that contract in 2016, although the team has the option for the final season.

This rumor is most likely just that – a rumor. It would be surprising if the Toronto Blue Jays  are a good trade partner for the Royals. This rumor is probably all smoke and no fire.

Don’t get too excited or upset by these particular rumors, as these two teams just don’t seem to be compatible as trading partners, and definitely not for Billy Butler.


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Tags: Billy Butler Jose Bautista Kansas City Royals

  • jimfetterolf

    I would only trade Billy for prospects. Doing that stocks the farm system and saves one of the excess OFs to be used in a DH rotation and to maintain depth in a position that we have no one close in the minors.

    • Michael Engel

      Nah. Go for it. If they’re trading Billy, get someone with impact or who’s a significant upgrade somewhere else. Bautista would fit that bill. I don’t think there’s a deal happening at all but The Royals window is 2014 and, unless Ventura/Zimmer/Duffy really hit their potential, it might be pretty rough after that with weak pitching.

      I hate/loathe/despise the DH rotation idea the Royals official churned up yesterday. Take Butler out of your lineup and insert Maxwell or Lough or Ciriaco? Or put Sal there and Hayes behind the plate? One way or another, you’re losing production in the lineup. Those guys are worthy bench contributors and in the case of Maxwell/Lough a reasonable platoon, but unless they’re replacing Butler’s production through a supposed Butler trade, they don’t have the pieces to fill the gap they’d create in the lineup.

      So I’d say just don’t trade Billy. At least not this year. Maybe other acquisitions change that context, but it’s a better lineup with him at DH than trying to mix and match in the name of flexibility. Sometimes going with what works (well, relative to the DH position) is the best way.

      • jimfetterolf

        I don’t see Bautista as that much of an upgrade beyond his positional value and that would cost much more than just Billy, it would also take one of the Young Guns plus a position prospect.

        As or “window”, I don’t buy the whole “all-in/window/one shot” thing”. The design of the team is sustainability, which is why we have five better arms than Shields competing for the last two rotation slots. Shields will be replaceable if he chooses not to extend, so the Royals’ window stays open until they change the business model or lose talent evaluators.

        As for platoons, Billy does have a career .133 OPS difference L/R. and his .783 against RHP is .085 better than Dyson’s and Dyce has a much wider skill set, including insurance for the fragility of Cain. Billy is .133 better than Maxwell against lefties, but Maxwell also has positional value, so that’s the two sides of the scale, unloading some payroll while keeping positional flexibility with two fairly fast players whose OBP is point for point more valuable than Billy’s.

        I would keep Billy at the moment unless the return was a decent haul of prospects. Billy should be worth two or three times what the Nats gave up for Blevins and I’ld take a couple of Burns and a AA arm for Billy right now. Of course, I’m on a longer horizon, so am concerned with constantly trading trading high-priced veterans for high ceiling prospects. Billy is the obvious one this year with two years of control left, Gordon is the obvious one next year with two years left. On the other hand, if Billy hits ahead of Gordon I think he has a real good year.

        • Michael Engel

          Disagree with a great deal of that.

          First, you say Bautista isn’t an upgrade beyond positional value, then say that Maxwell is equal enough to Butler because he has positional value. So does positional value matter or not?

          Second, if we have five better arms than Shields, then why trade for Shields in the first place?

          You’re right that Shields will be replaceable in that he’ll have to be replaced. Eventually, Ventura, Zimmer, maybe even Duffy or Almonte down the line can be a top of the rotation guy, but to this point, they haven’t been, either from iffy results or injury or simply just not being ready. Not writing them off, mind you, but until they ARE better than Shields, I’m not giving the organization the benefit of the doubt. They’ve developed two guys who’ve started a game in the big leagues.

          I think you’re dismissing how wide a .085 gap in OPS can be. An .800 OPS is a lot better than a .715 OPS, even if the raw number of it looks small.

          If I’m going to battle, I’d rather latch on to the guy who’s been a hitting machine for a consistent five year period than someone like Dyson who I don’t think can hold up over a full season and be productive, or Maxwell, who’s been dumped so many times already and is older than most of the team (i.e., little upside left, no room to grow).

          Now if the Jays wanted to give up two high ceiling guys who are MLB ready today, hey, worth a shot. I’m only mildly against a Nick Franklin/James Paxton type of move for Billy because I’m not convinced on Franklin and I have a hometown bias towards Billy, but those are everyday, solid guys (so say the scouts) who can step in now.

          But trading away Butler means you need to replace Butler, and I don’t think that the remaining guys can do that for the lineup.

          • jimfetterolf

            We traded for Shields and Davis because the four better arms were either young, coming off surgery, or coming off a terrible year as a starter. We have Hoch, Duffy. Ventura, and Zimmer in addition to Davis now. We wouldn’t make the trade today.

            As for Billy, pretty much agree. I’ld trade him for good prospects, wouldn’t trade him for much else, but the team will survive trading him as we have the parts now. If Billy gets hurt in April we’re screwed.

          • Michael Engel

            They might be better arms in that physically, their arms are physiologically better, but Shields is the best pitcher on the team until one of those unseats him, and I can’t see that happening this year as much as I like Ventura and Zimmer and believe Duffy can get it together. But Hoch is not a better pitcher than Shields. Davis is not a better pitcher than Shields. Duffy’s never been scouted as having the upside to be what Shields has been – a borderline #1. Ventura/Zimmer, we’ll see. Maybe they don’t make the trade today, but it’s a better rotation today with Shields in it and it’ll be a worse one next year if he doesn’t extend *unless* the young guys step up and realize their potential. Given that the Royals have been banking on young pitchers to realize their potential since 2009 (and I’ll be more fair to DM and say 2010 and ignore his first three years of development and rebuilding), I’m not so quick to give them credit until they show me on the field.

            But you’d like to trade Billy for prospects to reload the depth of the system because we have the parts now to afford losing him, but if he gets hurt, we’re screwed? I just see a disconnect there. Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but it seems like you’re saying two different things.
            That a) Billy isn’t necessary because we can trade him for minor leaguers and the remaining players are going to repeat his performance with him gone or b) that if he gets hurt the Royals are screwed, thus implying that the remaining pieces after an injured Butler is out of commission aren’t enough to compensate for the loss.

          • jimfetterolf

            No disconnect, with the trade for Aoki we will lose two of Maxwell, Lough, and Dyson, as none have options left. The two things I’m saying are time-relative. With two of them gone, we not only have no useful replacement for an injured Billy but also have no replacement for 4th OF if Cain gets hurt.

            As for Moore and pitchers, we’ve discussed the team’s view on long-toss/program training. I think most people who follow theses ideas are more comfortable with Royals and pitchers now than a few years ago.

  • Joel Wagler

    You wouldn’t trade Butler for Bautista or Encarnacion? This trade won’t happen, but you would rather have prospects than someone who could make KC better in 2014?

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  • Christian camlin

    We have a bat in Butler already.We need Starting pitching not a Center fielder or a right fielder