It seemed that we had gotten past the thought that Billy Butler should, or would, be traded. It was thought that, with two years left on his contract heading into next season, that this would be the perfect time to trade Butler and to maximize his value. Yet, Butler has been the Royals most consistent hitter over the last few seasons, a player that is truly a professional hitter. For a team that struggled offensively last season, trading that type of a player just would not make sense.
However, the idea of trading Butler has started to circulate once again. Since it is thought that the Royals could use help in the starting rotation after James Shields and Jason Vargas, the thought has begun to circulate that the Royals should trade Butler for pitching help. Well, that thought is mainly held by former GM Jim Duquette, who also thinks that the Royals should sign Kendry Morales, although he has been worse than Butler and would cost a draft pick. We can see why Duquette is not currently a member of a front office, since that move would make no sense at all.
Signing Morales would give the Royals the flexibility to trade B Butler for a pitcher too @MLBNetworkRadio
— Jim Duquette (@Jim_Duquette) January 2, 2014
Although that thought was expressed a month ago, the idea of trading Billy Butler has begun to pick up. Pete Dymeck at BleacherReport.com advocated such a move a couple of days ago, feeling that moving Butler could allow the Royals to bring in some needed pitching. However, there is a major problem with that thought. What pitcher, exactly, are the Royals going to get for Billy Butler?
This is not a knock on Butler. He has proven to be the consummate hitter. Even what was considered an off season for him last year was roughly the equivalent of what Morales produced last year. The problem is that Butler is considered to be a designated hitter. While he has improved defensively at first base over the past couple of seasons, Butler’s reputation defensively is such that he may only be considered by American League teams. Of those teams, how many would really be willing to spend that much money on a designated hitter?
Even if Butler was to be traded for pitching, that just serves to weaken the lineup to help the pitching staff. As much as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez are expected to improve this season, they are all still young players. What if their anticipated development does not turn out as anticipated? The Royals could end up in the exact same situation they were in last year, where the pitching staff has to carry a subpar offense.
Trading Billy Butler is not the answer to the Royals pitching issues. If they really want to unload salary to make a run at a starting pitcher, perhaps they could package Wade Davis with Emilio Bonifacio. Moving Butler just does not make sense.