Questions arose recently when Dayton Moore was quoted as saying that he would be willing to trade Kansas City Royals DH Billy Butler this offseason. Butler has been a cornerstone of the Royals’ offense for nearly a decade, but he saw regressions in most offensive statistics this year. Would the Royals actually be willing to trade Butler, and if so, what would it take?
Billy “Country Breakfast” Butler has been one of the best hitters in MLB for the last five years. Since 2009, Butler has a .302 batting average and 455 RBIs. In that time, only 12 players earned as many RBI, and only five players earned as many RBI with as high of a batting average. All of those five players are household names with at least four All-Star awards each. An offensive playmaker like Butler doesn’t come along every day, so why would the Royals trade him?
Well, they almost certainly won’t. A big bat like Butler’s is an invaluable commodity in today’s game, especially in the AL where reliable power hitting is required to reach the playoffs. It would take quite an offer to even consider trading Butler away, but all options are still on the table at this point. The Royals still have several unanswered questions like Ervin Santana‘s possible re-signing, Luke Hochevar‘s future with the team and their ability to sign a new power bat.
When asked about his comments regarding Butler’s chances of getting traded, Moore reiterated that he would be willing to entertain offers for virtually anyone on the Royals’ roster. This simply meant that he would talk, not that he would move any cornerstone players like Butler this offseason. Still, with a diminished payroll and multiple goals for roster change, the chances of Butler being traded may be closer than most Royals fans would like to think.
The Royals aren’t the only team in the league with an interest in acquiring a power bat this offseason. It wouldn’t be easy to pry Butler away at this point, but if any team offered KC a potential ace or a no. 2 starter in return, the Royals would have to consider it. Anything less, and Country Breakfast should be wearing the power blue until at least 2015, when Butler has a club option for one more season at $12.5 million.