Sep 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler (16) drives in a run with a single against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Responding to a Possible Billy Butler Trade Scenario


Aug 17, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) hits a solo home run during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, our sister site Jays Journal put up a post about the possibility of a three team trade between the Blue Jays, Pirates and the Royals. With there being speculation that Billy Butler could be traded from the Royals, and with the Blue Jays being one of the potential destinations, it makes sense to look into such a possibility. Despite Justin’s expectations that I will just ridicule him mercilessly, I will look at this scenario rationally.

The main problem with such a trade is that, while Butler, a fourth outfielder and possibly a reliever being traded make sense, what do either team really have that could benefit the Royals? With the signing of Omar Infante, the Royals biggest needs right now are a power bat in the middle of the lineup and a legitimate second starter. Could either need really be filled by either team?

Theoretically, the Blue Jays have Jose Bautista on the block, who would instantly provide the type of power hitter that the Royals are seemingly looking for. Locked up for the next three seasons at $14 Million per, he would be a cost efficient power hitter for the middle of the lineup. Bautista has also been a solid right fielder, with one of the better arms in the American League. Such an acquisition would likely make Lorenzo Cain a fourth outfielder, if he was not included in the trade. But why would the Blue Jays move Bautista?

Another possible fit for the Royals could be Edwin Encarnacion. Depending on how the Royals feel about the progress, or lack thereof, of Mike Moustakas, they could consider trading for a power hitting third baseman. However, like Baustita, Encarnacion is signed for three more years, only he costs a total of $29 Million over that time, should the third year option be picked up. While neither player would be likely to hit 40 home runs in Kauffman Stadium, they would likely hit over 30, and could actually push Steve Balboni for the Royals single season home run record. But, again, why would the Blue Jays move such an asset? Then there is the Royals need for a third starter. Quite simply, R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and J.A. Happ are not that.

Looking at the Pirates, they simply do not have the type of pieces on offense that the Royals would need. Don’t even mention Andrew McCutchen as a possibility, because Pirates fans would likely storm the front office and burn Neal Huntington in effigy. In terms of pitching, would a year of Francisco Liriano be worth giving up Butler? It certainly does not seem so.

While the idea of trading Billy Butler as part of a three team trade would be a benefit for the Blue Jays, short of Jose Bautista returning to Kansas City, there just does not seem to be a fit. It is certainly a great idea for Toronto, but there is almost nothing there to entice the Royals into trading Butler to the Blue Jays.

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Tags: Billy Butler Jose Bautista Kansas City Royals

  • Marcus Meade

    I can see the Blue Jays wanting to move Bautista to save money. He makes 6 million more than Butler this year, and Butler’s 12 million next year is an option so they could dump him before that. Bautista’s also been hurt the last two seasons and is 33 years old. It makes sense that a 77-win team might want to trade Bautista for Butler, dump Butler after one season, and save 20 million in the process. I don’t think Bautista would play RF in KC regularly. At 33, he would DH most of the time. He could play RF occasionally, but having him DH will help keep him healthy. If the Royals can execute a Butler, Lough, and a reliever for Bautista, they should do it, especially if that reliever is either Hochevar or Davis. Getting a big bat like Bautista will help cover up the lack of a true second starter and the overall lack of depth at SP. More runs scored means it won’t hurt so much when they’re given up.

    • jimfetterolf

      That would work for Toronto, unload an expensive part-time older player for a much younger DH, a much better RF, and one of the hottest arms in the game. Not sure the Royals should.

      Bautista couldn’t physically handle right field, so the Royals would lose not only more RF defense even from Aoki but lose the major defense of Cain by moving Aoki to CF. Just a guess, but that’s three or four wins of defensive downgrade right there and loses more rotational value than Santana leaving. Looks like a bad move to me for a guy who will too often go back to the dugout saying, “That would have been out in Toronto” while Billy turns into a 30-35 homer guy in Toronto and Lough sparkles in the smaller RF and one of the guys with dominant closer stuff mans the back end of the bullpen for the Jays. I’ll pass, but thanks for calling :)

      • Justin Jay

        KC… will not… miss… a beat… without Ervin Santana. You can write that down. Ventura + Duffy + Zimmer = Ervin who?

        And who’s dominant out of those relievers? Davis was effective, not dominant. Hochevar was far from dominant and he only pitched with the lead once!

        Just so you know, Bautista is pull power. He’ll hit them out of Kauffman, as long as his wrists hold up.

        • jimfetterolf

          I’ll stick with my statement, which the numbers support. Bautista will turn into Jose Guillen at Kauffman.

          And just so you know, pull power requires a pitch in, usually a mistake in an adult sized park. The photo above shows Bautista’s swing, looks a lot like Frenchy’s with a better eye.

          • cardsfanatik

            Bautista would be nothing like Guillen. He would be a far better offensive player, and he could play RF for at least 2 more seasons. If the Royal’s can actually trade for Joey Bats, they better get it done. Butler is not going to be here past 2015 anyway, and probably not after this year, especially if he has a good year, they will unload him for all they can get. If you can get a guy with Bautista’s power, for 14 million a year, and you don’t do it, Dayton needs beaten. I’m not sure what Toronto would want, but if it took Davis, Hochevar, Butler, AND Lough, I would do it in a NY minute. I would probably even substitute Cain for Lough in this too. Cain hasn’t played more than 115 games ever. I don’t count on him for to much anyway.

          • Justin Jay

            I’m telling you, they overvalue Bautista in Toronto, and with that team friendly contract, it’s going to take more than the guys mentioned here.

            As far as his RF playing goes, he admittedly said he sucked out in the field this year. Whether that brings improvement or not will remain to be seen, but his range was actually a liability for Toronto. He still has the arm though.

            I agree that he would be nothing like Guillen. He hits the ball much further than Guillen. I don’t care what the stats say. I’ve watched enough games to know he’ll hit some line drives that are HRs in Toronto and line drives in Kauffman… but I’ve seen the bombs too. If healthy, he’ll hit 30+

          • jimfetterolf

            220 games in two years, health is likely the major question on him, as well as age. For Billy’s flaws, he shows up to work every day. He’ld hit 30+ in Toronto. Lough would probably hit 15.

          • Justin Jay

            The wrist thing last season was freak. The bruised hip… well… for it to kill off almost the final 2 months of season, I don’t really know what to say to that. That would be the injury I’d be concerned about because there were conflicting reports.

          • Marcus Meade

            Much better chance to stay healthy DHing. It’s probably one of the reasons Billy stays as healthy as he does. At DH, Bautista will more easily play 145 games.

          • jimfetterolf

            How many games has Bautista played the last two years? Guillen at least made the field fairly often. But was a fire hydrant in right, like Bautista would be. I’m sure Toronto would love your deal, as would Butler and Lough, playing in a little league ballpark would make both of them stars.

            I think our opinions are clear. Maybe the Cards should trade for Bautista? Kind of a poor man’s Beltran at current prices. Of course, the Royals’ cash offer to Beltran sort of defines their view of the type, so doubt they’re interested. If Billy is moved it will be for prospects.

          • Justin Jay

            I don’t think they’d be as interested in Bautista as they would Encarnacion anyway. I think Moore likes the speed he has out there. Even if Bautista fields his position better next year, he doesn’t have the speed that the guys out there right now have.

          • cardsfanatik

            I’m not picking on you Jim, I just prefer a line-up with Bautista in it, as to a line-up with Butler in it. More power, and he is “that” batter, that makes pitcher cringe. He is a game changer. And he could play DH quite a bit, and play more, the only reason Cartman Butler plays as much as he does w/o injuries is because of the DH role.

          • jimfetterolf

            If the trade is even up, Butler for Bautista, I’ll take it, the Jays won’t. If it’s Butler, Lough, and Davis for Bautista, the Jays take it and I don’t.

            Butler and Lough might work, Billy two years left and he’ll be a thumper in a division with Boston and the Os, playing half his games in Toronto and should also be an easy extension for them being a pure DH. Probably a 30 homer guy while staying around .300/.365/.450+. That’s 99 games in parks that his swing plays well in, just as they do for Bautista.

            Add to that Lough and his superior defense and solid plate production as well as several years of control and the Jays do well, the Royals may do well, depending on Bautista’s health and aging curve. To add Davis or one of our other hot arm relievers would take a couple of pretty good A+/AA prospects, preferably middle infielder and a pitcher. Upper ’90s heat and four pitches is more than a throw in and Lough may be too much, Dyson a better from the Royals’ POV, maybe the Jays would rather have Maxwell.

          • Marcus Meade

            Yeah, I too have no problem trading Cain at this point. They have a player who is equal or better in Dyson.

          • Justin Jay

            Really? That’s news to me since I was at that game and not too far from where that ball landed… over the LF wall, about a little less than 400 FT from home plate. It’s a pretty common spot for most of his HRs. That’s a HR in Kauffman isn’t it? What else ya got? haha

      • Marcus Meade

        Bautista is 4-5 WAR with his bat alone (in a full season). He would DH in KC. So, the outfield would still be Gordon-Cain-Aoki. No defense lost. And I think Bautista can still hit 35 HR in KC. 81 games on the road, and it’s not like he’s just squeaking them over in Toronto.

        • jimfetterolf

          You think Toronto trades even up? If not, what’s your package?

    • Justin Jay

      Toronto would never take that package that you mentioned. Strictly on the fact that 1.) They overvalue Bautista, 2.) Seen Wade Davis plenty, and 3.) We all know Hochevar sucks. He doesn’t even pitch in pressure situations, that’s how much the Royals fear letting the guy pitch with the lead.

      You would need something better than that and Toronto, for whatever reason, views itself as a contender.

      • Marcus Meade

        Hoch and/or Davis would be best, but any of the relievers will do. Hoch and/or Davis just allows the Royals to clear some payroll. Could be Butler, Lough, and Crow/Collins/Herrera/Holland. Any of them really.

        • Justin Jay

          Jays already have a strong bullpen. Royals would be giving up starters, not relievers. Davis doesn’t count

  • Ed Connealy

    I would trade Cain, Hoch, and Butler for Bautista. Holland and Butler for him as well. That dude would be a game changer. Edwin? Would go after him real hard as well. This won’t happen, but God it would be awesome.

  • cardsfanatik

    If Dayton Moore trades for Joey Bats, I will buy season tickets.

  • John

    Here’s how the Royals get the World Series in 2014- with 3 trades:

    To Rays:

    - Vendura or Zimmer or Duffy (Rays pick)
    - Starling or Colon (Rays pick)
    - Herrera or Crow (Rays pick)
    - Lough or Maxwell (Rays pick)
    ** for David Price and throw-in

    To Jays:

    - Butler
    - Cain
    - Guthrie
    - prospect

    ** for Cody Rasmus and Lind

    To Cubs

    - Hochevar or Davis (-5m)
    - Starling or Colon
    - 3rd prospect?
    for Jeff Samardzija

    Starting Pitching

    - Price
    - Shields
    - Samardzija
    - Vargas
    - Chen or Duffy or J. Santana or remaining Davis/Hochevar

    ===================
    Starting Lineup
    (1) Aoki (rf)
    (2) Infante (2b)
    (3) Gordon (lf)
    (4) Rasmus (cf)
    (5) Hosmer (1b)
    (6) Perez (c)
    (7) Lind (dh)
    (8) Moustakas (3b)
    (9) Escober (ss)
    - Bonaficio for Aoki or Infante for rests
    - Lough as late game defensive sub and for Aoki
    - Maxwell as right-handed power bat
    - Lind can play first and give Hosmer rests
    - Perez can DH too on occasionally against left-handers (or Hosmer)

    • cardsfanatik

      I like trades, but you just traded the entire damn farm for winning one year. That goes against EVERTHING we have been suffering through to achieve. I’m not picking on you here, but that would be the WORST possible thing to do in the history of Royal’s baseball. You just traded over 25 combined years of control on players for 2 on Price and Shark, and Rasmus and Lind both suck. For everyone hating on Bautista to KC cause it will kill his power, wait til you get Daddy Coach Rasmus to Kauffman. He will still hit low .200′s while only hitting 20 HR’s. Lind is a huge “what if” year to year. I’m seriously not being mean to you, or calling you out, but this is not a good idea buddy. I know you want to win bad, so do I, but I don’t want it to cost us the next 10 years to do so.

      • John

        Lind has been pretty consistent above .800 against righties, and given Royals want to rotate DH, then have Perez bat against lefties and Lind lets Hosmer get a rest and is upgrade over Butler in field. Rasmus is pretty close to Cain defensively and will bring a lot more pop. Why would he necessarily hit low .200s for season??
        There is no gutting of the farm system- Colon is lost at sea anyway and we are only trading one major pitching prospect from Vd/Zimmer/Duffy…and keeping 2 of them. Starling to me is a total ? if he ever even makes it to the majors- he has so far to go and learn. If you take Price, then you keep either Price or Shields (I think Price) and build with Price, Zimmer, Duffy and Vargas from 2015 onward…….Cain will never hit…….your 25 years of control is overdone, since we are keeping control of the good players (except one) and getting rid of mediocrity….win now (but place yourself great for the future)

    • Justin Jay

      Certainly creative. Jays are in win now mode. They won’t bite at that.

  • MikeKC

    I would ask the Toronto about Brett Lawrie. He was playing hurt last year. If healthy, he could be a game changer for years to come,

    • Justin Jay

      Doesn’t sound like they’re going to move him anytime soon.

  • moretrouble

    How come fans think KC still needs improvement? Once the season starts, fans think every loss is Yost’s fault – so fans obviously believe KC should go 162-0.

    KC can win with what they have now. Many of their players lack name recognition, but reputation doesn’t win ballgames. The only addition I’d suggest is resign Ervin Santana.