Billy Butler Agrees to Extension [Update]

Big news just broke from FanFest as Billy Butler has agreed to a four year deal that will pay him $30 million.  He was in his first year of arbitration eligibility and had asked the Royals for a $4.3 million contract for 2011.  The Royals offered $3.4 million.

[Update] According to @aroundthehornkc (’s Royals Blog on Twitter), the deal also includes a fifth year as a club option.  Barring trade, injury or release, Butler will be a Royal through 2015.

Apparently the two sides were close enough there that they just negotiated a long-term deal right now to get it out of the way.

Both sides benefit from the agreement, as Billy gets a nice guaranteed chunk of money through his peak years and will still be just 28 years old when the deal expires after 2014.  The Royals benefit by buying out three arbitration years and one year of free agency and still have a club option available after that.  They don’t have to worry about negotiations with Billy for a while now.  Also, it’s a very team-friendly contract at an average of $7.5 million a season.

[Update #2] Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that the deal gives Butler a $2 million signing bonus, pays him $3 million in 2011, $8 million in each of 2012, 2013 and 2014.  The club option in 2015 is for $12.5 million and includes a $1 million buyout.  So at his peak of his career, as prospects are hopefully leading the charge towards the playoffs, Billy Butler will only cost the Royals $8 million in those key seasons.  That leaves a lot of payroll flexibility for Dayton Moore for those important years.

What this means for Kila Ka’aihue is another matter.  With Eric Hosmer maybe a year and a half away from making the big leagues, Ka’aihue looks to be the odd man out.  Likewise for Texas League Triple Crown winner Clint Robinson who’s currently on the 40 man roster and approaching his first year of Triple A ball.  Both could be trade candidates later in the season or next offseason.

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  • Daniel

    Kila has all of 2011 to prove himself, he really doesn’t have much to worry about for a while.

    • Michael Engel

      This is true. Short of hitting .750 with two homers every day, I don’t see a way the Royals let Hosmer’s service time start up in 2011. Kila will be given every shot to put up numbers this year.

      I hope.

  • drgus0626

    why why why wouldnt you want to try to move hosmer to the outfield? i loved it when even billy stepped up and flat out asked why this couldnt be done to get all of these guys on the team at the same time, and i am with him. hosmer is an exceptional athlete and definitely capable of fielding a spot such as a corner outfield. if his defense is a positive (like the award that he won says it is) i think that it would be nice to utilize it at a position other than first, where a platoon split of kila and an improving butler would be suffice. i suppose a lot depends on kila’s production this year, but if he gets in 500 plate appearances hits .275 with 25 – 30 homeruns why would you not want to have all 3 of these guys in our lineup if you could?

    • Michael Engel

      If I could get all three in there, that’d be great. I remember a lot of the early buzz on Hosmer was that he had the arm to work in right field, and he’s still got the athleticism to work out there now, I’m sure.

      With no huge outfield prospects (at least at the caliber of Moose/Hosmer/Myers) it’s not the worst idea, but I just don’t think the Royals will do it. They seem committed to him at first base and obviously committed to Butler now. His winning the Defensive POY award is probably deserved, but I think it means he’s just MORE likely to stay at first. If it’s not broke, why fix it? and all that.

      A lot of this depends on Kila, who the Royals still don’t seem fully behind. I don’t understand their hesitancy with him after 2008, but at some point, he has to get tossed in the water to see if he can swim or not. This year is that test. I hope he passes. But at some point, even if Kila’s still mashing, he’s gotta be the odd man out in the organization’s eyes.