A tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney on Tuesday claims the Kansas City Royals are “ready to talk” about a deal for Billy Butler. Should the Mets be in the conversation?
It should be said right off the bat that Butler has primarily been a designated hitter throughout his career; he played only seven games at first base in 2013, so it is not clear how competent he would be in the field.
But what is clear is that the guy can hit. In seven seasons he has nearly a career .300 batting average. After a breakout season in 2012 in which he hit .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBIs, Butler seemed to regress this year, hitting only 15 homers but still batting a very respectable .289.
Perhaps this is why the Royals want to trade him — maybe they think he has reached his potential. But Billy Butler is only 27 years old, far too soon to give up on a player after a down but still pretty good year. The main reason is probably his salary. Butler is due $8 million in 2014 and the team holds a $12.5 million option for 2015. Those numbers are definitely doable for the Mets.
Provided that he is not a butcher defensively, Billy Butler would fit in nicely in Flushing. His numbers, while down from the previous year, were still better than the production from the Davis/Duda/Satin triumvirate penciled in for first base in 2014. And if he can regain his 2012 home run stroke, it could give the Mets the power they so desperately need.
Even if this is strictly a salary dump, the Mets would still likely have to surrender a decent prospect for Billy Butler, given his relatively young age and his playing history. It would be worth it.