Over the past month or so, most fans of the Kansas City Royals have been focused on what pieces could be added to the offense to improve the team. Despite the solid production that a platoon of Jarrod Dyson and Nori Aoki provided before Aoki was injured, that upgrade was expected to take place in right field. At no point has it been expected that, if the Royals remain in contention, they would trade any of their starters, unless it was Aoki as part of a trade. After all, the Royals should be buyers at this point, right?
Instead, it may be that the Royals become buyers and sellers. The latest of the Royals trade rumors involves the Seattle Mariners, who, much like the Royals, are in the market for another bat or two for their lineup. Seattle, desperate for anything that resembles a major league hitter at this point, has reportedly checked in on the availability of designated hitter Billy Butler.
Butler, the maligned designated hitter, has become one of the focal points for the Royals offensive woes this season. Hitting at a .273/.325/.355 rate with only three home runs, Butler is in the midst of his worst season in what is likely his final season with the Royals. It is highly unlikely that Royals will pick up Butler’s team option for 2015, and as they would be on the hook for a buyout, they may be interested in trying to acquire something for the struggling hitter.
What could the Royals actually get for Billy Butler? At this point, probably not much. However, as the Mariners have been interested in acquiring Butler before, and have reportedly coveted the Royals designated hitter for some time, the Royals may be able to get something more useful than a lottery ticket minor leaguer. According to the same article, Bob Dutton indicated that the Royals have displayed interest in Mariners infielder Nick Franklin. Since both teams would reportedly like to part with the respective players mentioned, that trade could be a possibility.
The question then becomes, is it worth getting rid of Billy Butler? If that was to happen, the Royals may be looking at needing to make two trades to bolster their lineup, should Dayton Moore consider right field an area to improve. Unless the Royals designated hitter would be a rotating position, something that Ned Yost indicated he would prefer during the offseason, the Royals would need to get another power bat.
We all know that Billy Butler’s time in Kansas City is ending soon. However, that time may come to an end sooner rather than later.