According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Seattle Mariners have inquired about Billy Butler. Our old friend, Bob Dutton, now a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune, tweeted that this is old news.
Talks aren’t new. @Tatorsdad: ESPN just pushed an alert that the Mariners have talked to the Royals about a trade for Billy Butler.
— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) July 15, 2014
Jerry Crasnick, from ESPN, tweeted about the Mariners interest:
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 15, 2014
The big question, one that Crasnick touches on, is why would the Mariners want him?
Butler’s 2014 slash line is just not good – .273/.325/.355/.679, with 3 home runs and 36 RBI. Almost all of these numbers are career lows for the 28-year old (his 2008 OBP was .324).
Do the Mariners think he is just having a slump, and maybe a change of scenery would break him out of his funk? Who knows, it just might.
Regardless, if Butler was producing at his career averages, his $8 million contract for 2014 would be a bargain. Heck, the $12.5 million he is due in 2015 (team option, $1 million buyout), would be a bargain.
Let’s face it. If Butler was matching his career slash – .296/.361/.450/.811 – no one would be calling for Butler to be traded. But, he isn’t.
What would the Mariners, or anyone else for that matter, be willing to give up for Butler? It couldn’t be much, certainly not enough to really help the Royals offensively.
How about prospect outfielder Abraham Almonte? The kid is hitting just .255 with a .686 OPS in AAA. That doesn’t help any.
The Mariners probably could shoot the Royals a decent pitcher or two, but the Royals need bats right now, not pitchers.
To be frank, Billy Butler is not trade-able right now. The Royals would be trading him at his lowest possible value, and that can’t be high at all. The Royals barely have enough bats to fill the spots in their batting order as it is.
It is doubtful the Mariners and the Royals are anywhere close to deal for Butler. Seattle isn’t going to give up anything helpful for him. Why would they?
A player like Dustin Ackley would give the Royals some flexibility because he can play right field and second base, but he doesn’t even have a history of positive offensive production to hope for.
The Royals are actually better off keeping Butler, and hoping he can turn it around in the second half. If he doesn’t, the Royals aren’t going to make the playoffs. The Royals have little choice but to run Butler out there every day, and hope for the best.
Billy Butler has more value in the possibility that he can turn it around for the Royals than what he would bring back in a trade right now. Hope Butler rediscovers his hitting skills and stop hoping he will bring the Royals any help in a trade.