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For some reason the Royals want Billy Butler stealing bases

Mar 10, 2011, 11:48 AM EDT

Billy Butler royals

Billy Butler is a 6-foot-1, 240-pound first baseman who should probably be a designated hitter, could best be described as “lumbering,” and has a grand total of one stolen base in 533 games. Yet for some reason the Royals are convinced he should be running more this season.

Butler stole a base in yesterday’s game against the Rangers and said afterward that manager Ned Yost “has pretty much turned us loose” as base-stealers.

Dick Kaegel of writes that “Yost figures that Butler could get up to 10 steals a season by picking his spots,” which is sort of hilarious for a guy who has three steals in his last 856 games dating back to the minors and grounded into 32 double plays last season for the third-highest total in baseball history.

Kansas City has an incredible amount of young talent coming up through the farm system and has a chance to emerge as long-term contenders relatively soon, but for now the Royals are going to be a very, very bad team and Yost trying to make base-stealers out of everyone on the roster isn’t going to help.

  1. BC - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    That Yost quote is one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever read. Did he attend the Les Steckel and Ray Handley Coaches Camp in the offseason?

    • The Baseball Idiot - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:47 PM

      This isn’t a crazy idea. As stated, the Royals don’t get on base a lot, and they don’t have a lot of power, particularly doubles and triples. If Butler has the green light, then so does every player on the team.

      Start the year with everyone having the green light. They aren’t going to compete, so try it for the first month. Every extra base helps, and some guys might find they have the talent.

      Another, and even better, reason, that I’ll be Yost is looking for, is the effect on the opposing pitchers. If they think any and every runner is going, it forces them to approach everything differently.

      Lots more throws over to first, which cause fatigue that pitch counts don’t register. Getting the pitcher out of his rhythm, which causes him to miss his spot, which causes more pitches to be thrown, and helps the batters work the count. Which the Royals don’t do well. Maybe gets the pitcher to lose concentration by focusing on a runner (yeah, even Butler) and he starts grooving them down the plate, which gives the batter a better pitch to hit. And with a runner in motion, that’s first to third, or home for some of them on a base hit. Everybody in motion makes it harder on the defense.

      It might not work, and it probably won’t. But they have nothing to lose.

      Understanding the reason why something is done usually gives you a better understanding than just ridiculing it for the sake of being petty.

      • BC - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:44 PM

        Yeah, but if you’re gonna give the green light to someone, why give it to someone who’s the size of a defensive tackle?

  2. benyamen - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    I don’t know … it looks like Butler could probably use the extra exercise with the gut he’s got on him and maybe this is Yost’s only means of forcing him to actually run.

    • BC - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      Maybe Butler is in the best shape of his life?

  3. Jonny 5 - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    My wife wants me to crap solid gold bars every morning too.

  4. sportsdrenched - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    As a Royals fan there are a lot of things to be frustrated about. But the one that annoys me quite a bit is the amount of running (as in trying to steal bases) this team does. I thought it was a Trey Hillman thing, but apperantly not.

    Their OBP isn’t all that good to begin with. And then when they do get on base, they run themselves right out of innings.

    I’m hoping Butler trying to steal bases is a spring training thing. But 10 extra bases at the cost of 30 isn’t worth it.

    Did Yost have Prince Fielder going in Milwaukee?

  5. Jim Abbott's Right-Hand Man - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Brian McCann’s stolen about 5 bags a year the last few seasons. If McCann can do that, it’s not unreasonable for any team to think Butler shouldn’t only be attempting a steal every other year.

  6. Davidw7 - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Sounds like a guaranteed out to me. I think it’s foolhardy to be expecting anywhere north of 3 SB’s from him (and I’m being generous giving him that)

  7. kellyb9 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Nice of Yost to give the catcher time to throw Butler out.

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