Trade rumors always are always interesting but it seems as if few ever come to fruition. Some make very little sense. This off season there has been rumors floating around about the Kansas City Royals trying to trade their Designated Hitter, Billy Butler.
For a team as offensively challenged as the Royals were in scoring runs last year, scoring 648 (11th in the American League), trading one of the their best offensive players makes little sense. There is a good chance Butler has more value to the Royals than to other teams, so is it even possible for Kansas City to get equal value for him?
Butler is a fine hitter but he has some warts as a player. He isn’t the most accomplished with the glove, although he can play first base in a pinch. For his career, he hits the ball on the ground almost as much as he hits it in the air (.95 GB/FB), and in 2013, he hit more grounders than he did fly balls or line drives (1.15 GB/FB). As slow as he is, that ain’t good! Butler led the Majors in hitting into doubles plays for the second time in his career.
On the other hand, Butler has been been the Royals best hitter for years. He has the exact same number of doubles through the age of 27 as Royals legend George Brett did (244), and Brett is 6th all time for his career with 665. Butler also has 20 more home runs through the age of 27 than Brett did – 118 to 98. Billy Butler even has 65 more walks.
Butler has 17 fewer RBI than Brett at the same age but has 122 fewer plate appearances. Of course, Brett had more triples (78 more), runs scored (174 runs), hits (133 more), stolen bases (106 more), and fewer strikeouts (356 fewer) than Butler through the age of 27.
Billy Butler is not George Brett but except for the speed and hustle stats, Butler is not that far off.
Yet, Butler always seems to be walking the edge with Royals fans.
Yes, the ground balls and double plays are annoying. Yes, his lack of consistent power can be frustrating. No, he doesn’t appear to be well conditioned.
But the dude can hit. And he can produce.
For the Royals or anyone to else to think that Kansas City can just plug in a hodge podge of players in the DH spot and adequately replace Butler, they are just not paying attention. Do you really think a Justin Maxwell/David Lough platoon split is going to match Butler’s production?
That’s what your are looking at, with Salvador Perez getting some at bats at DH along the way. Of course, that means Brett Hayes or whatever other back up catcher the Royals have will be playing catcher. These guys are not going to replace Billy Butler.
If the Royals trade Billy Butler, then they need to seriously upgrade in more than one place. Butler for second baseman Nick Franklin and starting pitcher James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners might (might!) have done it. That won’t happen now that Seattle has signed Corey Hart.
Billy Butler for a handful of prospects – nope! Nit if the Royals are trying to when games in 2014.
The Royals and their fans need to take a long look and realize that Billy Butler is valuable to the Royals. They are not going to get a major upgrade offensively by trading him, and if they trade him for pitching, do they really think they can replace his production in-house? They are just crazy if that is what they really think.
The best way to upgrade, if the Royals can’t sign a nice free agent, is to trade a good bull pen arm and a prospect or two. Find someone to bat around Butler, not instead of.
Billy Butler is not George Brett, but he is a darn good hitter, and he is our hitter. Dayton Moore, don’t be giving him up for peanuts. No offense to Justin Maxell, David Lough, and Brett Hayes, but they are no Billy Butler, not even combined.