It was a foregone conclusion that the Royals would turn down Billy Butler‘s team option for 2015. After all, $12.5 Million is a steep price to pay someone who, in a perfect world, would simply be a designated hitter for the Royals. Today, the Royals made that thought process official, as they declined Butler’s option, allowing him to test free agency for the first time.
This, however, does not necessarily indicate that Butler’s time in Kansas City is done. While Ned Yost has mentioned his desire to turn the designated hitter spot into more of a revolving door, there certainly appears to be interest in having Butler stay a member of the Royals, on both sides. Dayton Moore even said that he wants Butler to return to the Royals, and be a member of the team going forward.
"“Billy’s been a huge part of our success, and we’re going to stay engaged with him and do everything we can to bring him back,” Moore said."
Yanks Go Yard
At first glance, bringing back Billy Butler would not seem to help the Royals in their search for a more consistent offense. After all, last season, Butler posted his worst season since his 2008 campaign, finishing with career lows over a full season in batting average, OPS and home runs. While Butler enjoyed a bit of a resurgence when he played in the field during the month of August, he began to wear down with the everyday grind. Also, given Butler’s body type, there may be concerns about whether or not he will be able to bounce back and be the player that he had been for the Royals.
Prior to last year, Butler was a player that averaged a .302/.372/.469 batting line with 20 home runs and 40 doubles over the previous five seasons. It seems difficult to imagine that his prowess with the bat left overnight, or over the offseason from 2013 to 2014. Perhaps all Butler needs is the knowledge that he will be back the following season, as, based on his comments throughout the season, the option was definitely on his mind.
At the right price, Billy Butler could be a bargain for a team looking for a designated hitter/occasional first baseman. If Butler and Moore get their way, it may be that the Royals fill one of their offensive holes at a bargain price.