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Mariners have “talked to the Royals” about Billy Butler

Jul 15, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

Last week the Mariners were said to be interested in Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd and now their search for a right-handed hitter apparently includes Royals designated hitter Billy Butler.

Jerry Crasnick of reports that the Mariners have “talked to the Royals about Butler,” who has struggled this season by posting career-lows in batting average (.273) and slugging percentage (.355) while managing just three home runs in 379 plate appearances.

Butler is still just 28 years old and has a lengthy track record of good hitting, although he never quite took the next step from very good young hitter to star-caliber hitter. He posted an OPS between .820 and .885 each season from 2009 to 2012, and then it dropped to .787 last year before plummeting to .679 this season.

He’s making $8 million this season with a $12.5 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2015, and based on his production for the past season-and-a-half he wouldn’t be worth that money next year. It’s also worth noting that the Royals have reportedly targeted Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes as a potential trade target, which might lend credence to Butler being available.

Seattle has used 13 different players in the DH spot through 95 games, with Corey Hart leading the way with 42 starts. And they’ve combined to hit .197 with eight homers and a .567 OPS, so even if Butler doesn’t turn things around in the second half he’d still provide a big upgrade.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Are the Mariners lacking in DH types who can’t hit home runs? I don’t see how Butler helps them.

  2. Nick Danger - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Here’s the conversation: Uhh – hey Royals – what the hell is wrong with Billy Butler?

  3. drewsylvania - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Would Butler be the first instance of a bad-body slugger who flamed out before age 30?

  4. fifthstarter - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    I don’t pay a lot of attention to the Mariners, but I had the impression that half their team already was mediocre hitters who can’t play defense.

    • mweekes22 - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      They’re statistically the best in team defense in the mlb so your impression is half right. Their offense would put adhd children to sleep.

      • fifthstarter - Jul 15, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        Ah, thanks for the correction.

  5. chaimtavish - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    The Ms need a competent fielding, harder hitting left fielder. Seems that Dustin Ackley is playing his way out of the Ms future plans. Too bad, as he has looked very good on occasion. Butler would be a bad choice and a risk, as noted above, because of his physical limitations.

  6. elvin2014 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Message to Seattle Mariners:

    I am the person who told you in off season, Seattle Mariners, SIGN Nelson Cruz. You did not follow my advice….

    NOW I advice you, Seattle Mariners, the following:

    SIGN Alfonso Soriano….

    • twinfan24 - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      Because I’m sure MLB GM’s come to this site to get their advice on who to sign. And, I’m sure every move you make pays off. Guess that’s why you are posting this from your 200 ft yacht.

      • elvin2014 - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        1200 ft yacht specifically….

    • Reflex - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      As I said before, this would be a terrible signing. Soriano has not been a competent player since 2008. And Cruz would not be slamming so many HR’s if he played in Safeco and the AL West.

    • sweetbeard03 - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      First off, we tried to sign Nelson Cruz and morales. They both declined. Secondly, although soriano MIGHT provide little upgrade, he is 38 and his numbers are declining quickly. He was released by NY, I know they don’t mess around, but that being said, they are a .500 club. How would this help us? Butler or Byrd is the way to go.

  7. timmons94 - Jul 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Butler used to be a very good hitter. Never been a huge hr guy… Looks like either way last year in kc. I love butler, but liked a lot better when he was good

  8. baddogjosie - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    I’m sure the M’s have talked to every team about the availability of right handed bats. I think I’d rather see Byrd than Butler or Soriano. Quentin or Joyce could be a nice fit.

  9. shawnuel - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Anyone who thinks Cruz would have hit the same in Safeco, Oakland Coliseum and in Anaheim the way he has in the bandboxes of the AL Least, is crazy. I assume it would have been an Adrian Beltre type situation. The Safe is MURDER on RH pull hitters.

    • extavernmouse - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      But he’s still be better than what we have now. I’m not excited about Butler; Matt Joyce wouldn’t be bad, though.

  10. shawnuel - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Byrd AND Rios together would be great. Rios as regular LF and Byrd, platooning with Saunders in right.

  11. hotdogfinger - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Just call up Jesus Montero. His July numbers are looking better

  12. drewsylvania - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    “even if Butler doesn’t turn things around in the second half he’d still provide a big upgrade.”

    So would someone else’s much-cheaper AAAA slugger.

  13. timmmah10 - Jul 15, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    Put Butler in a park like Fenway, (obviously not Fenway since Boston isn’t moving Ortiz out of DH or to 1B), and you’re looking at a guy that’ll hit .300 with 20 HRs. Put him in Seattle, and you’re looking at .275 with 15 at best.

    He used to have a very good line drive percentage, but seems like he’s made his swing into a softball swing, which always tanks an average, which was what he used to break into the bigs.

  14. 4cornersfan - Jul 15, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    the Mariners need more than Cano and the Eight Dwarfs if they are going to catch up to the As and Angels. Unfortunately, there is not a good match for Safeco out there yet.

  15. sweetbeard03 - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Z needs to get over his personal problems with montero and call him up.

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