Buster Olney reported on Twitter that Dayton Moore and the Kansas City Royals are willing to trade DH Billy Butler. The Royals currently owe Butler $8 million next season and $12 million in 2015. That might not seem like a lot of money but Butler has almost no value in the field and would only be capable of playing first base, and I use the term playing very loosely.
Butler is coming off of his worst season since 2008. He hit .289/.374/.412 this past season with 15 home runs, 82 RBI, 62 runs scored and 27 doubles. He will turn 28 next April so age isn’t much of an issue but aside from on-base percentage and a little pop, Butler doesn’t offer much. He is strictly a DH at this point since he looks like he runs with cement in his shoes on the basepaths and in the field.
In the past, Moore has overvalued many of his players, making getting a deal done very difficult. It is highly doubtful that Moore will be asking for a realistic price in return for one of his few marketable players.
More importantly, the market for Butler is small. Tiny even. No National League team would, or at least should, make an offer. Butler can’t play the field. That leave the American League and not every team would be willing to meet Moore’s likely asking price while also taking on $20 million in salary over the next two seasons.
If the Royals don’t ask for the moon and two planets and are willing to take on some of the financial burden the Oakland Athletics might be a fit. Oakland GM Billy Beane loves guys that get on base and Butler certainly fits that mold. Seth Smith is currently penciled in as the DH for the A’s but he can play the outfield.
The problem is, Beane won’t give up much and he certainly won’t take on too much of Butler’s contract. It would take a lot of compromising on both sides for Butler to get sent to Oakland.
The Royals are probably a year late in trying to trade Butler. In 2012, he had a career year, hitting .313/.373/.510 with 29 homers, 107 RBI, 72 runs scored and 32 doubles. Now, Butler is just a bat, a bat Moore will overvalue and other teams will undervalue. It will be surprising if Moore finds a partner to make a deal.