May 2, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante (14) is congratulated by Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler (16) after scoring in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Well, the cries demanding that Billy Butler be traded, which had been quite vocal this offseason, had died down. Unfortunately, with his slow start, those shouts have risen up once again, amidst people demanding that he either be benched or outright released. This demand that Butler be traded has become so prevalent that it even appeared in Andy McCullough’s mailbag over at the Kansas City Star, where it was asked if the Royals should trade Butler for a player with more power.
Well, the Royals have plenty of players with more power. As McCullough points out, the Royals have Justin Maxwell, Mike Moustakas and Carlos Peguero hanging around. So, there are candidates that have more ‘power’ than Butler. However, as it could be assumed the intent was, none of these players are exactly home run hitters. In fact, it is not as if any of those players have proven that they can be every day major league players.
So, the question is essentially whether or not the Royals should trade Billy Butler for a player that can hit more home runs. Sure, we would all love to see Jose Bautista return to Kansas City as the player he is today. Jose Abreu would look great in a Royals jersey. So would players such as Ryan Braun, Giancarlo Stanton or Troy Tulowitzki. The problem is, none of those players are going to be available for Butler, or even Butler with a few players added.
Right now, with his .236/.292/.309 batting line and poor defensive reputation, Butler just is not an attractive trade chip. What exactly are people expecting that the Royals would get for him at this point? If people are frustrated with Butler’s struggles, what makes them think that another people will trade for him? If a team is going to trade for Butler based on his past production in the expectation that he will improve, then why not wait for that production to occur for the Royals?
These demands seem to be completely irrational, and to be a knee jerk reaction to the elevated amount of double plays that Butler had grounded into. For all the concern about his production, Butler has performed a lot closer to his accustomed level during the month of May, where he has produced at a .280/.321/.520 rate, hitting three doubles and driving in six runs. He has also grounded into one double play in that time frame, so the thought that he is some sort of a rally killer just does not appear to be the case.
Butler is, quite simply, too good of a hitter to struggle all season. Over the past five years, he has proven himself to not only be a professional hitter, but to be one of the best on the Royals roster. While everyone would love a designated hitter that hits 40 home runs, such a player just does not thrive in Kauffman Stadium. Instead, the Royals have a doubles hitting machine in Butler, who is far better suited to their ballpark.
Billy Butler is not going anywhere at this point in time. Once he gets back to his typical batting line, the cries demanding his removal will cease. Then, we cal go back to enjoying Butler’s hitting ability without all the background static.