Jul 5, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler (16) reacts after getting thrown out at third base in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Butler and the Royals Need Each Other


At this point, the relationship between Billy Butler and the Royals seems like that of a married couple that know things are about to end. There is an awkwardness to the relationship where both sides know that the end is coming, but are still tied to one another for now.

Unlike the example above, the Royals and Butler know exactly when the relationship is going to break apart – whenever the Royals season ends. Even though Butler has a $12.5 Million team option for 2015, it is difficult to see the Royals doing anything more than picking up the tab on the $1 Million buyout and wishing Butler well as he heads out the door for the final time.

Perhaps that impending free agency is wearing on Billy Butler. This season, he has produced at a very un-Butler-esque .266/.321/.342 rate with two home runs. That production, or lack thereof, has seen Butler get moved down to the seventh spot in the lineup. It will also factor into what butler can get on the open market, as few teams are willing to spend large quantities on a player who is considered strictly a designated hitter, unless they can produce like David Ortiz or Nelson Cruz.

For now, however, both the Royals and Butler have a mutual need together. The Royals need Butler to start producing like the hitter he has been in the past in order to make a true run at the playoffs. Butler needs a strong second half of the season in order to position himself well on the open market. This relationship, which will be breaking apart in a few short months, is truly symbiotic at this point.

Billy Butler has certainly performed better of late, hitting at a .288/.346/.390 rate since June 1st. Even though he only has one home run in that time frame, he has not looked entirely lost at the plate as he did during the early part of the season. There is hope that something resembling power could come around for the second half, as Butler has been making better contact.

The Royals, and Butler, both have to hope that is the case. A surge in performance helps both Butler and the Royals achieve their goals, either this season or next. And who knows – maybe if Butler begins to produce and the Royals make the postseason on the strength of his hitting, they could look to stay together.

The end may be coming soon, but for now, Billy Butler and the Royals need one another.

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Tags: Billy Butler Kansas City Royals

  • Stan Colbert

    Someone needs to hang a big sign in locker room, make more $$$$ hit the ball!
    Wouldn’t DM & Glass love that?

  • Debby Lamb

    All he’s paid to do is hit the ball and he can’t even do that. Something has GOT to happen.

  • Ryan Caltrider

    I’m sure Billy can’t wait to get out of KC. This is such a poorly run organization and at some point in your career you just want to play some meaningful baseball in October. This is an 80-85 win team, at best, and that won’t get it done. And next year is likely going to be worse.

    • catfishjohn

      “Such a poorly run organization”. Really, man? Sure, they haven’t gotten everything right, but you make it sound like we’re the Rays or something…

      • Ryan Caltrider

        You mean the Rays that have been in the playoffs 4 of the last 6 years?

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    Butler and the Royals need to part ways either during the ASB or for sure at the end of the year. After Butler’s Silver Sluger year he has been pathetic. Now that all might not be his fault, due to the stadium being more of a pitchers park than a hitters park, but he isn’t helping the team anymore. The Royals need a player that can play defense effectively and give the team offense. Butler is a terrible defender and has been struggling while hitting the last couple years. I’m ready to see them part ways.

    The only way Butler comes back next year is if he re-signs with the Royals and takes a HUGE pay cut because he’s not playing like a $8.5M player, much less a $12M player. But I don’t forsee Butler taking a pay cut and I see Butler playing the rest of his career in a different uniform, which I’m fine with.

    • Bear Brinkman

      No one will want Butler unless he takes a massive pay cut. It would be nice to see him lose 30 pounds and build himself up some and get his power back but he doesn’t strike me as a guy who would do that.

  • lautrec

    I think that these times of disconnect between a once well-liked player like Billy and fans/team are sad but inevitable. Who amongst we Royals fans does NOT think that EVERY time Billy bats with a runner on 1st or 1st and 2nd is going to hit in to a double play? Butler is basically a double play machine at this point of his career with the Royals. He cannot hit for power and he cannot play defense. It it past time for him to try to benefit from a “change of scenery” with another club. Billy needs to go so the fans don’t end up loathing him and he needs to go to try to resurrect his career. I believe his skills are in decline and his obesity is not helping him improve. I wish him well with another club, but I think he’s pretty much ran his course.