Proposed Trade: Billy Butler to the Rays

With the Royals recently calling up Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler looks to have been permanently moved to the DH spot. With Mike Moustakas ready to be called up to take over third base, that leaves Wilson Betmit without a position. Also, 27-year-old Clint Robinson (all hit, no field or run — a Billy Butler clone) is knocking the leather off the ball in Triple-A. It is time for the Royals to look at trading Butler to another team. The one team that screams for some offensive production from either the 1B or DH spot is the Tampa Bay Rays.

Billy Butler and the Royals

Billy Butler has been the best offensive player on the Royals over the last few years. The Royals right now a glut of players that fit into the 1B/DH role. There could be a case made for Kila Ka’aihue, Clint Robinson, Wilson Betemit or Jeff Francoeur being moved to the Royals DH spot. With Hosmer entrenched at 1B, Butler is expendable.

Just this offseason Butler signed a team-friendly extension of $3M for 2011, $8M for 2012 to 2014 and $12M for 2015 (with a $1M buyout). Using these values, I estimate how much surplus value in dollars Billy is worth if he were traded half-way through the 2011 season:

Year Salary Age $ (million)/WAR pWAR w/UBR Value($ Millions Surplus (1/2 2011 season)
2011 3 25 4.5 2.5 11.3 4.1
2012 8 26 5 2.5 12.5 4.5
2013 8 27 5 2.2 11.0 3.0
2014 8 28 5.5 1.9 10.5 2.5
2015 12 29 5.5 1.6 8.8 -3.2
Total = 10.7 Total = 10.9

Using the entire length of the contract, Butler looks to have surplus value of around $11M. Now if his $1M buyout is enacted, his surplus value jumps to $13M.

A note on how things can change in a week. I ran the values initially before Fangraphs added in UBR (baserunning values into the WAR calculation). Before the values were added, Butler looked to be near a 3 WAR player. He loses close to 0.5 WAR each season due to his baserunning. Using the WAR from just over a week ago, the surplus value of his contract had an extra 2.25 total WAR added to it leading to a total surplus value of $22.5M. Who says speed doesn’t matter?

The Void That Is 1B and DH for the Rays

From 2010 to so far in the 2011 season the Rays have accumulated 41.2 WAR from their position players. Over that same time frame, the DH and 1B position have added 1.3 WAR (1.5 from 1B and -0.2 WAR from the DH position) to that total or 3.2% of the team’s position player WAR. In the last two seasons, the Rays have used such players as Dan Johnson, Carlos Pena, Casey Kotchman, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Brad Hawpe, Hank Blalock, Rocco Baldelli, Pat Burrell and Willy Aybar at that those 2 positions. Butler accumulated 3.7 WAR over that same time frame.

The Rays seem to pride themselves with their defense, so Butler, a horrible defensive player, would be an affordable DH. Having Butler as the DH would probably give the Rays an extra one or two wins worth of production this season. In the ultra competitive AL East, those wins could be quite important at the end of the season.

The Royals will probably begin looking at the Rays top prospects to find needed help. The Rays have a fairly stacked minor league system with several top prospects such as the following players ranked in BA top 100 for 2011:

6. Jeremy Hellickson, rhp
15. Matt Moore, lhp
22. Desmond Jennings, of
27. Chris Archer, rhp
71. Jake McGee, lhp
88. Josh Sale, of
92. Hak-Ju Lee, ss

Using the work of Sky Kalkman and expanded on by ColinJ, the preceding prospect’s surplus value would range from $16.3M (Jake McGee) to $33.3M (Desmond Jennings). All of the player surplus values would be worth more than Butler’s surplus value. The one item that the Rays need to take into account is the how much extra it would be worth to the team to make the playoffs this year.

The Proposed Trade

The Royals are in need of starting pitching this season and in the future, so it would best for them to try to get a starting pitcher from the Rays. Since McGee has already begun his MLB career and thereby having a little less trade value, I see him as a nice trade option for the Rays to send the Royals for Butler. Another possible option would be for the Royals to look at trying to get a couple lower rated pitching prospects like Alex Torres, Alex Colome, Jake Thompson or Alex Cobb (which has made his major league debut, but was not as highly rated as the other pitchers at the beginning of the season).

The best trades are the ones that work out for both sides. In this trade, I feel that both sides come out ahead. The Royals move one of their many 1B/DH types for starting pitching they need. Tampa on the other hand, gets some much need help at the 1B or DH position and gives up one of their pitching prospects, but not one of their best pitching prospects.

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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

72 Responses to “Proposed Trade: Billy Butler to the Rays”

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  1. How often is a player dealt in the same season they sign a new deal with a team?

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    • Dan says:

      Most recent example I can think of is Nate McLouth and his multi-year signing with the Pirates – signed in Feb 2009, dealt to Atlanta in June 2009.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        That’s the Pirates when they weren’t trying to win but keep every cost imaginable down to Nutter or whatever his name is can make bank. The Royals draft and scouting spending makes me think they actually care about winning. I doubt Butler gets traded.

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      • sirvlciv says:

        I disagree – the Pirates ‘won’ that trade by selling high on McLouth. Has nothing to do with ‘saving costs no matter what’.

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  2. Telo says:

    I guess the question is, what 1B do the Rays have in the pipeline? If they have anyone remotely decent, they’re not taking 5 years of Butler.

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  3. Sandy Kazmir says:

    Nice read, Jeff. I’ve been saying this for awhile as it seems like a natural fit on all sides. Even the mighty Royals could use more arms.

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  4. ecp says:

    Jake McGee? You are proposing that the Royals trade Billy Butler for a reliever? You are insane.

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    • zywicmd says:

      I agree… It would be pretty unlikely for Butler to digress through the duration of his contract. He’s still only 25, and the Royals have leverage with any team that would consider swapping for him. Why on earth would you want to rush dishing out Butler, especially for a probable relief pitcher?

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  5. Hunter says:

    Why would Tampa Bay not give up one of their “A” pitching prospects for a consistent 2.5-3.0 WAR with a team friendly 5 year contract?

    There’s so much more volatility locked up in a pitcher and so much less in a guy like Butler.

    If a mediocre prospect is all they can get, if I’m the Royals, I pass.

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  6. guest says:

    To ECP: Based on McGee’s player page, he has been a starting pitcher throughout the minors. He’s probably relieving in the majors since the Rays have enough starting pitching.

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    • zywicmd says:

      That’s true… but he’s had some rocky experiences…

      How would this deal compare to the Lawrie/Marcum trade? Dealing Butler straight up for a pitcher like McGee (at this moment) just doesn’t make sense…

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    • rotofan says:

      McGee is pitching in the pen because his arm broke down as a starter and he lost a season-plus to surgery and recovery. He is simply a bigger injury risk as a starter — before the injury he was briefly the Rays top starting prospect, ranked just above Wade Davis.

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      • Sandy Kazmir says:

        He’s on the same level of injury-risk as every other pitcher. The real issue with him is that he’s essentially a Matt Thornton clone of good-great fastball, and a sometimes decent breaking ball that he does not have a on of confidence in. Durability and stamina are not his problems. He just needs to harness a third pitch and improve his second best pitch, while showing the consistent velocity that he was known for prior to this year.

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  7. j6takish says:

    What do they do with Johnny Damon? Playing Butler at first is probably less damaging than having Damon in left. Or, they could think outside the box and have Damon play 1st and Butler DH, he played left/center for all those years, he has to be athletic enough to play 1st, even at age 37

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  8. Antonio Bananas says:

    Dumb idea. As I said in the other post suggesting this trade, the Royals need him. He’s the most consistently good hitter they have. He’s young, and he’s fairly cheap. With all the young guys coming up, they’ll need that stability. Not only that, but it’s not like his contract is hurting them. Meche retired and they traded Greinke, they can afford him.

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  9. miffleball says:

    why do you project butler’s WAR as decreasing during his age 26-29 seasons? doesn’t it usually rise then for a peak during the 28-31 seasons?
    also, wasn’t it 5 million/WAR this past off-season, not 4.5 so that in all likelihood your future dollars/WAR estimations are well off, too?
    something tells me that butler under his current contract carries far more value that you are crediting him with.

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      Peak for the average players is actually around 25 years old.

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      • miffleball says:

        I like your analysis but I think there are a couple of essential flaws with it. Firstly, you categorize Butler as having ‘old-player skills’ despite having a low K rate and a relatively high LD%.
        The second issue is that you don’t name your comps for Butler, so it’s very hard to gauge the accuracy of that assessment. Matt Klaassen did a piece on Butler’s projections after he signed this contract with the Royals ( comparing him to the top 10 likenesses by baseball-reference’s formula and the top 3 by zips and all showed dips at 25-26 followed by improvement from 27-29.
        Additionally, your analysis accounts for all players in the majors at 25 and 26, not players who actually had careers (or else you’d argue that the 26 year old evan longoria is already on the downside of his career). As long as you believe that Billy Butler will have continued value, you should probably compare him to players who were in the league at least until their age 30 season so that you can factor out guys like francoeur who were good at 24 and never good again. By now, Butler has put up 2 solid seasons with what projects to be a third good one in a row. Maybe criteria like three straight 2+ WAR seasons from 23-25 or something would help determine players who are more comparable.

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      • baty says:

        Early on, I used to think Billy Butler was on his way to being comparable to Edgar Martinez

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      • Blue says:

        Jeff, it’s going to take more than a few graphs on BTBS to change conventional wisdom. There’s so much subjectivity in the way your define your variables that you should be a great deal more circumspect about your results than you are.

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  10. Mac says:

    The Royals already have 5 pitching prospects (4 of them left handers) in the top 100 of Baseball America. Why on earth would they trade Butler for a 5th lefty, who projects worse than the other 4?

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  11. CircleChange11 says:

    There could be a case made for Kila Ka’aihue, Clint Robinson, Wilson Betemit or Jeff Francoeur being moved to the Royals DH spot. With Hosmer entrenched at 1B, Butler is expendable.

    You must be using the word “expendable” differently than I do.

    Hosmer made Ka’aihue expendable.

    I agree with some others, why would KC trade their most consistent hitter with a team friendly contract for more prospects? They have prospects. What they need are guys (and some of them may be their existing prospects) that show that they can produce 3 WAR in the ML.

    Quite frankly, the Rays need this trade much more than KC does.

    If I’m KC, I hold out for their best pitching prospect … or let them continue to try and win the East with what they have. I’d take my chances (as GMDM) on which team will cave first. If TBR makes a deal elsewhere, I still have Billy Butler. I can live with that.

    Does KC really need more pitching prospects? (at the expense of trading a good hitter?)

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  12. miffleball says:

    also, of the players that you listed that the royals need to find at bats for, and therefore should trade their best player who had a team friendly contract going into his prime, you have francoeur, who has been described as the worst position player in baseball on this website (or second only to yuniesky betancourt), kai’ahue – a lifetime minor leaguer who bombed in the majors last year and at the beginning of this year, betemit – who may have found the jose bautista fountain of gold, but is probably just another 30 year old who’s never had a full season in the majors for a good reason and chris robinson, another career minor leaguer who has hit minor league pitching well but has never played in the majors.

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    • mcneo says:

      Geez. Harsh on the Kila Monster. Kila appeared to be completely out of place for a few weeks both this season and last. He was hitting about .270 in his last ten games when he got sent down. He’s actually the exact guy Tampa should be trying to get because his defense at least looked average at first, and Tampa is the exact place a low avg, high obp, high power guy like Kila would be appreciated.

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  13. Mike says:

    Butler is KC’s best hitter (or 2nd best hitter depending on Hosmer), is still young, and is cheap for the next 4 years. KC can contend in the next 4 years and will need him. Betemit and Francoeur are not adequate or comparable replacements for the next 4 years. Kila Ka’aihue is looking more and more like a failure and Clint Robinson is no sure thing either. So how is it that Billy Butler expendable?

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    • NEPP says:

      Frenchie puts up 2 solid months and suddenly he’s the future DH of the franchise.

      Am I the only one who thinks that might blow up in their face? Same with Betemit?

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      • mcneo says:

        Betemit is not the same hitter he was as a bomb. You can look at his plate discipline numbers over this year and last and come to that conclusion pretty quickly. He’s always been a good power guy, but he was much more patient at the plate last year.

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  14. HongKongBong says:

    The issue here is Butler is expendable because KC has ample hitting and Butler is a terrible defender. Hosmer is taking the 1B spot and Moustakas the 3B spot. Butler can’t play outfield and even if he could, KC feels that they might be able to put Wil Myers out there. That leaves either RF or LF and Franceur is having a great season AND can play outfield 12 times better than Butler.

    This is why being a DH is not a “good thing”, it makes you expendable because ANYBODY can DH.

    As to the pitchers, yes, KC has some very highly thought of arms. The problem is, there is rumbling that they were perhaps “over-rated”. I still have faith in Duffy, but he isn’t lighting the world on fire. Crow has great stats, but he’s in the bullpen. Lamb is over-rated. And while I still really like Montgomery, he is having a rough time right now.

    Odds are KC is going to try to deal Betemit first. That allows them to keep both Franceur AND Butler. Franceur will probably be next in line, IF they feel Butler can play OF. If not, it’s gotta be Butler.

    What they will want back is Matt Moore. If they can get him, they do the trade in a second. Moore is THAT good. Odds are TB won’t do that. Odds are TB will try to move McGee and Brignac, but I doubt KC will take that. Odds are TB will probably move Archer but KC will probably want something else, like Brignac and/or Hak-Ju Lee and maybe give back Escobar. Or, it’s possible TB could send Jennings or Sale along with a low end pitching prospect. KC has the leverage, but TB has a TON of options. KC also has options because both of these teams have the 2 best farm systems in baseball so there could be multiple prospects moving back and forth to get the deal done.

    Shields and Niemann are both expendable with Matt Moore doing so well in the minors. I don’t think they’ll deal Shields while in a pennant race, but they might deal Niemann straight up for Butler. That gives both teams something they can use right now.

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    • Adam Dunn says:

      This is why being a DH is not a “good thing”, it makes you expendable because ANYBODY can DH
      As I was told…

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    • Mike says:

      “ANDYBODY can DH” ???

      Is that why Tampa desperately needs one and has had zero production from the DH for a year and half? And KC does not have “ample hitting”. You just can’t assume that Hosmer, Moustakas, and Wil Myers all become above-average major leaguer’s. Even 2 of the 3 pan-out … are 2 good hitters enough? They need Butler the next 4 years.

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    • mcneo says:

      Butler is the Royals best short and long term option at DH. He’s likely a superior hitter compared to Hosmer, Moustakas, and Myers over the course of his career. Butler isn’t leaving KC. Clint Robinson is expendable. Kila is expendable. Betemit is expendable. Franceour is expendable. Butler is not expendable..400 OBP guys don’t grow on trees, or Tampa would have one.

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  15. Andrew says:

    Okay – Butler isn’t expendable, but he isn’t untouchable either. IF the Rays decide to buy, and IF the Royals decide to sell, they could make a good match. I think Butler’s a good deal more likely than Beltran, for instance; and if anyone could bowl Dayton over, Friedman could. And let’s not sour so much on Kila and Clint – remember Pronk and Big Papi were once AAA mashers, too “old” be prospects, traded or non-tendered from their originals clubs before unleashing themselves on the league. There are no such thing as prospects, only major leaguers in waiting.

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    • Hunter says:

      I agree with you; I disagree with the author who seems to think a “B” level pitching prospect will get the deal done.

      2.5-3.0 WAR guys signed to team friendly deals for 5 years don’t grow on trees. They’re worth more than a “B” prospect.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      To me expendable means “you don’t need him” … or as Rambo explained “it’s like, someone, invites you to a party and you don’t show … doesn’t really matter” (Heh Heh, I quoted Rambo … it’s a good day).

      I’m not seeing the quality and amount of hitters that KC has that makes Butler expendable. It does, however, make Kila expendable.

      Certainly if you can get great value for him, trade him. But don;’ trade him just because Hosmer and Moustakas are up. DH is still a position. If you have a good one for a team-friendly contract, even better.

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      • baty says:

        expendable would be Joakim Soria. Unfortunately, it might take a while to return the value he could have commanded.

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      • Antonio Banans says:

        Soria isn’t expendable. His stats are right now, however it kinda seems like he’s off because of an injury or something else that could be fixed. Think of it like this, Soria gets better, so then you have a great anchor to a young bullpen, he doesn’t get better, he’s not tradeable.

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  16. bp says:

    I would rather go after Yonder Alonso if I were the Rays.

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    • lex logan says:

      What could the Rays offer for Alonso? Maybe a three-way trade resulting in a LF or SS for the Reds. I doubt Alonso can be leveraged into an Ace starter, the other apparent need for the Reds.

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  17. Eminor3rd says:

    Butler makes a ton of sense for the Rays, but dealing Butler only makes sense for the Royals if they rip someone off.

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  18. baty says:

    It’s easy to forget the typical growing pains of prospect development, and also assume players like Moustakas ARE the present. Butler is still the most stable presence in that lineup.

    Also, I know Butler has a ton of MLB experience by now, so it’s easier to see a potential offensive plateau, but he’s still only 8 months older than Justin Smoak.

    The Royals are going to have a tough road ahead, trying to get over a dozen prospects to simultaneously gel at the MLB level before time runs out. The only reason to consider dealing him, is because of a disappointment with his “power production”, especially being in a DH slot, but why be overly concerned about that now? You only deal Butler because of an offer you can’t refuse.

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  19. Heyward says:

    Why would Francoeur be a DH? He’s a pretty bad hitter but a pretty good RF. Did Ozzie Guillen write this?

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  20. DrVox says:

    Not that Dayton Moore isn’t, but he’d have to be an idiot to make this trade if it’s McGee and a couple prospects for Butler.
    The only reason Butler is remotely expendable is that he very rarely hits homeruns. He’s 25 and could DH for the Royals at a high level for a long time.


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    • shthar says:

      Dejesus couldn’t even stay with the royals.

      You really think they could keep butler?

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        DeJesus will probably get a raise for 2012-2015, and will be 32-35. Butler will be 26-29 and a decent salary. It’s a timing issue.

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      • McChampions says:

        Dejesus would not have been worth what it would’ve cost to extend him.

        We might as well gripe about how the Blue Jays couldn’t keep Vernon Wells.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        DeJesus was also good trade bait at the time …. then he broke his thumb slamming into the wall. So, then he was a 30+yo coming off an injury.

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  21. rwinter58 says:

    can we get some more of these proposed trade columns? love it

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  22. TheGrandslamwich says:

    Great timing with this article as Butler just hit a walk-off bomb!

    Even with their prospects coming up, I can’t see the Royals trading Butler unless they are completely overwhelmed. It certainly wouldn’t hurt for the Rays to check in and make an offer or two, but I can’t see them being willing to give up enough young talent for a medium-power DH/1B.

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  23. Nat Haniel says:

    It’s interesting that the prevailing opinion here is that KC shouldn’t do it. Well, I don’t think TB would ever do it. I can’t even imagine them tying up so much “team friendly” green for a DH who is awful defensively. That’s not at all what has that team winning ballgames.

    They’re paying Damon $5m on a one-year, and he attracts Boston/NY fans to their stadium.

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  24. shthar says:

    that’s too much, you’ll have to replace a couple of those guys with boxes of balls to get KC to make that deal.

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  25. Moe says:

    I think that people looking from the outside underrate the value of a bat-only guy to other teams in the league. Billy Butler is a younger, cheaper player than Adam Dunn with similar overall value. I think it’d take Chris Archer + to nab him at the least.

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  26. Phillie697 says:

    Am I missing something? Yes, don’t get me wrong, Butler is a good hitter, and has some value as a player, but are we talking about the same Billy Butler here? Guys, he doesn’t play second, short, or third… He plays first, and pretty badly at that. A career 815 OPS first baseman? Oh no, whatever will you do if you trade him!!! Now, if he played any of the aforementioned positions or CF, he’d be a stud. But he doesn’t. Here are some players with career OPS higher than Butler:

    Seth Smith, OF, 845 career OPS
    Pablo Sandoval, 3B, 843
    Carlos Quentin, OF, 841
    Grady Sizemore, CF, 841
    Mike Napoli, C, 838
    Carlos Pena, 1B, 836 (yes, Carlos Pena)
    Josh Willingham, OF, 836
    Aramis Ramirez, 3B, 836
    Pat Burrell, OF, 834
    Hunter Pence, CF, 822
    Geovany Soto, C, 821
    Raul Ibanez, OF, 820
    Nick Markakis, OF, 818

    This list contains only active players, so I didn’t even include names that would make him look even worse. And I also didn’t include players who people would think “oh of course he’s better than Butler,” even tho some of those names include guys playing much demanding positions (Jeter, Pedroia, Mauer). The list I included would be names Royals fans would laugh if they were traded for Butler straight up. Yes some of those players are on the decline, but the fact that their career OPS are HIGHER than Butler means at some point they were hitting MUCH better than Butler ever has. Now, this is not a knock on Butler. Like I said, a good hitter with some value. But please, let’s not treat him like he’s the second coming of Albert Pujols. He’s not even the second coming of Adam Dunn. Or for that matter, someone on his own team, Eric Hosmer. If you are a 1B or DH, you better hit like Hosmer. Here is some 1Bs in the league right now having a better OPS than Butler right now AND is hitting better than Butler’s career OPS:

    Gaby Sanchez, 921
    Mitch Moreland, 888
    Brett Wallace, 848
    Justin Smoak, 825
    Michael Young, 880
    Todd Helton, 870

    If you expand the list to all players, you get the likes of Yadier Molina and Chris Iannetta!!! The point is, Butler is not that valuable, no offense. He might have been the best player on some pretty terrible Royals teams in the last few years, but let’s not let that cloud your judgment. The person who just suggested that Butler has similar value as Adam Dunn is just crazy.

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    • shamus says:

      well, if you were trading any of the guys on that first list while they were in their primes and while they had pretty good contracts then, yes, people would complain about trading them for a B prospect; the same is currently true for the first 4 names on the second list (although Sanchez is getting older). You looked up Butler’s OPS, so you obviously saw that he’s in the top 60 in even this lower-than-normal-power year (he’s also in the top 60 in wOBA), which is still good for even a player with terrible defensive value. Where I think people might be overvaluing him, and where I have, is that Baserunning RAR is new to site, so it certainly wasn’t clear to me how much value he loses in that part of his game.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Stop bringing up things like age and contract value in a discussion about trades. Just look at the OPS.

        The thing people keep bringing up is that while Butler may just be an “okay to good” hitter …. he’s that on THE ROYALS … and they don’t have a lot of really good hitters. So, he (and his team friendly contract) have quite a bit of value TO the Royals.

        Now, if Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas, all become (or maintain) 120+ wRC batters, then yeah …. Butler’s value is diminished. But given his age, production, contract, and teammates, he still has good value to the Royals … value enough to prevent a trade for pitching prospects that are less than the pitching prospects you already have.

        He’s not a “giveaway”.

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      • Phillie697 says:

        No one said he’s a giveaway, and obviously if you can leverage his “reputation” and fleece another team, by all means do it. The point of my post is that even if Butler gets kidnapped by aliens tomorrow and the Royals need to find a replacement for him, they won’t have to look very hard at all. Players with no other talent other than the ability to hit for 815 OPS, while certainly valuable, isn’t that hard to find, and I’ll bet you any GM in MLB worth his salt will realize this. I can bet you the Rays GM will.

        Just look at the “franchise” draft ESPN just had earlier this week. Magglio Ordonez wasn’t drafted! Magglio!!! The fact that Butler can’t do anything but hit really hurts his value. If he ever develops .200 ISO power, he’d be great, but I doubt he ever will.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        It’s not just OPS. It’s that PLUS his contract.

        Yeah, you can find 815 OPS elsewhere, but it’s going to cost more than Billy Butler does.

        That’s the point with Butler’s situation.

        The fact that Butler can’t do anything but hit really hurts his value.

        The guy is a 1B/DH.

        I do think that he could reasonably develop more power as he ages closer to 30. I don;t know how serious his off-season program is, but I would advise him to get serious about it (if he isn’t), because he could drastically increase his value with more power.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      Butler is 25 so there’s a chance he’ll add some power to that .290-.300. In which case, that’s a good DH. Don’t have him as a 1B, the Royals have better options at first. A .290-.300 DH with a chance to increase his power in a team friendly contract on a small market team is pretty valuable.

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  27. Ptrmn says:

    The Royals should trade Betemit, Cabrera or Francoeur before they trade Butler.

    Billy Butler is 25. Until recently he’s been in a pretty bad lineup.

    I think he’s worth a similar starter, like Mat Latos.

    It makes a lot more sense to me to trade a player like Butler for a starter with some major league experience.

    The Padres could use the cost-conscious contract and age of Butler.

    I still don’t see Butler as being a trade option. The Royals can always recycle the veterans for gambles, like they did at the end of last season.

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  28. Vince says:

    Before we get too wrapped around the idea that Butler is somehow being pushed out of KC by the AAAA mashers of the world, I’d like to point out that he has 2400+ PA’s of 115 wRC+ under his belt and Clint has zero.

    Did I mention Butler is younger?

    Jesus, people. Shiny and new doesn’t always mean better.

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  29. Blue says:

    Jeff, if your analysis leads you to the conclusion that Butler is worth less than a reliever prospect, that should immediately cause you to question the basis of your analysis–it is an ridiculous result.

    There are two fundamental problems with your approach.

    First, and I hate to be blunt, but your glide path for Butler’s career is absurd. He makes no improvement under your model in his year 25 and year 26 seasons and actually begins declining in year 27. This is utterly at odds with observed player production patterns. I’d also add that you are showing him as only a “2.5 WAR player” this year when he ALREADY has produced 1.1 WAR in a third of a season! It’s much more realistic that he ends this season somewhere north of 3 WAR, adds some value over the next three seasons, with at least one being over 4 WAR, with his age 29 season being back in the low 3.0 range.

    Second, the sharp change in fWAR due to the addition of base running ought to give EVERYONE using this statistic significant pause when using the measure, particularly when conducting precise calculations with it. Butler didn’t just “lose” a half of WAR value because you all decided to include it in your number.

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    • NEPP says:

      I agree…odds are he’s not even in his peak years yet. This is a hitter with a 130 OPS+ since the start of the 2009 season. He’s only in his Age 25 season…he very likely gets better from here on out. His .369 wOBA is good for 27th in the Majors in that period. Basically, he’s a very solid bat/MLB hitter who isn’t even near his theoretical peak yet.

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  30. Billy says:

    This trade doesn’t make sense for the Royals. The Royals locked up Butler in the offseason because he has more value to the Royals in this transition period as they bring up the young prospects. Butler provides consistent production in the lineup and takes some of the pressure of Hosmer and eventually Moustakas.

    The two trades that make more sense:

    One an above poster mentioned…

    Yonder Alonso for Matt Moore

    Votto is entrenched at first for the Reds. The Reds are trying to see if Alonso is a viable OF but it is likely that he won’t fit into that role. He could slide in to 1B for the Rays. Moore would give the Reds a young live arm to add to their staff.


    Clint Robinson for Alex Torres or Alex Colome

    Robinson’s numbers over the past two years have been unbelievable. However, he is blocked in KC and the Royals like stock piling arms in their minors.

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  31. mcneo says:

    Maybe I’m way over-rating Billy since I’m a Royals fan, but Butler has been a better hitter through his age 25 season than Mike Sweeney. He’s had more power than Mike Sweeney. And his defense is a non issue as a DH. The guy has a .400 OBP. That’s not an every-day thing. He’s already had a 20+ homerun season; and he hits plenty of doubles. I think one of the big drawbacks is that Butler plays at Kauffman stadium, the most homeruns hit by a Royals hitter in one year is 36. That was Steve Balboni. Hitting 30 homeruns in a Royals uniform is a pretty epic thing. Billy Butler is one of the best young hitters in baseball. He’s signed to a team friendly contract. You don’t trade that. Of course, I would have said the same thing last year about Zack Greinke.

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  32. Billy says:

    Billy Butler is just not going to get traded… If the Rays want an AL Central 1B they will go looking in Minnesota (Cuddyer) or Omaha (Robinson, Kila)

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  33. Billy says:

    I hear Carlos Pena may be available

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  34. Royal Exile in PNW says:

    Hitting 30 homers in a Royals uniform being a big deal probably has more to do w/ the players wearing the uniform

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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