Billy Butler: The Consistent Royal
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Thursday January 3rd, 2013
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
For the past few seasons, the Kansas City Royals have not had a lot of consistency. The pitching has been sub-par, and the hitting has been disappointing. But, there has been one guy the Royals have been able to rely on: Billy Butler. Butler, a First Round pick in the MLB Amateur Draft (14th Overall), is not the type of player that is a household name, but he gets the job done—very well for that matter. Not much attention has been paid to Butler, probably because of the lack of success that the Royals have had. From 2009 to 2012, Butler has played in no less than 158 Games—something that is very valuable to a team. His worst season (power-wise) in that 4 Year span was 2010, in which he hit .318 with 15 HRs and 78 RBI. In 2012, Butler was outstanding, hitting .313 with 29 HRs and 107 RBI. This season included his first All Star Game Appearance and a Silver Slugger Award.
In terms of defense, Butler has been squeezed out. The rise of star prospect Eric Hosmer eliminated any possibility of Butler playing First base. Butler did not play much defense before Hosmer came up anyway, but the call-up solidified this. Now, Butler is the everyday DH, similar to a David Ortiz-type. He occasionally gets some time in the field, notably in 2012 when Hosmer was mired in a deep slump. If Butler was more versatile, maybe he would be more recognized and could receive the attention he deserves. When Ortiz retires soon, Butler may take the reigns as the best DH in the game.
Billy Butler 2012 Highlights
Billy Butler might also get more attention if he were on a different team. Butler would become a big-name player if he played for one of the big-market teams. Butler would fit perfectly on the Yankees as a DH. He would benefit from the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium and would undoubtedly have more HRs. I could not see Butler on a national league team due to the fact that he is not one of the top-of-the-line first basemen. Another suitable situation for Butler could be in Oakland. Billy Butler is just the kind of player that the A’s would go after, and they would most likely get him at a somewhat low price. Now that the Royals have some pitching in James Shields and Wade Davis, a trade could be possible, and I do not see the Royals trading Mike Moustakas or Eric Hosmer—their two home-grown talents. Yet another good fit for Butler could be the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners failed to land Josh Hamilton, and are in desperate need for middle-of-the-lineup power. The Mariners just moved the fences in, so it would be interesting to see what Butler could do in Seattle.
Butler is signed through 2014 with a team option for 2015. This is a Four-Year Contract worth $30 Million. If the Royals are out of contention by the trading deadline this year, it is possible that we could see a trade of Butler for prospects. The Royals basically spent their whole Minor League System to land James Shields and Wade Davis, so they might want to get some depth. There is also a chance that the Royals become contenders this year. The acquisition of the two Tampa Bay Rays Pitchers could prove the difference for the Royals to win one of the Wild Cards. After the Oakland Athletics’ magical season, anything is possible. In my opinion, the Royals are starting with a much better team than the A’s started with at the beginning of 2012 and are in a much weaker division than the AL West was in. If all goes well, I see the Royals contending within the next few years, and Billy Butler will play an integral part in the success of the team.
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, Baseball Writer & Facebook Administrator. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Bernie on Twitter Follow @BernieOlshansky
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Posted on January 2, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged @bernieolshansky on twitter, al central, American League DH Position, bernie olshansky, billy butler, david ortiz, DH Leaders, eric hosmer, josh hamilton, Kansas city, kansas city royals, mike moustakas, rays, stove, trades, wade davis, yankees. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.