Despite rumors popping up occasionally that the Kansas City Royals could trade Billy Butler, the team says they have not discussed the designated hitter with other teams this offseason, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
Butler, 27, is coming off his worst year at the plate since 2008. He played in all 162 games, hitting .289/.374/.412 with 15 home runs and 27 doubles. That comes after he had the best season of his career in 2012, posting a .313/.373/.510 line with 29 home runs. He is more typically a gap hitter, hitting bunches of doubles with around 20 home runs.
The Royals have Butler under contract for just one more season, but hold a $12.5 million option on him for 2015 as well.
Were a team to seriously inquire about Butler, they would likely have to be prepared to offer a substantial amount in return. The possibility of two years of team control for a very good hitter is, by itself, enough to warrant a good piece or two in return. The Royals are also planning on competing in 2014, meaning they are unlikely to give up a key cog like Butler easily. They would need to receive someone who they believe will immediately help next year, preferably in the outfield.