The trade rumors continue, and it appears that the Seattle Mariners are inquiring about hitters all over the league. Some might suggest that the Mariners are a little desperate. Here is a recent tweet from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN:
Are you picking up the tone of Crasnick’s tweet? The Mariners have “even” talked to the Kansas City Royals about Billy Butler. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
You can understand why Crasnick’s email uses this tone and the phrase “casting a wide net.” Butler has had some fairly productive seasons, but not of late. In fact, his best seasons were in 2010 and 2012. The years in between have not been bad, but Butler’s WAR from 2012 to 2014 has gone 2.9/1.5/-0.5.
Just a little bit of a decline, don’t you think?
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This season, Butler has a slash line of .273/.325/.355. His power numbers are way done, as Butler only has three home runs. Two years ago he hit 29.
Butler is only 28, but he has an expensive $12.5 million option ($1 buyout) in 2015. If the Mariners were to acquire him, Butler would need to have a monster second half to justify picking up that club option.
The other complication is that Butler hasn’t played in the outfield since 2007, so the Mariners would either need to slot him in as a full-time DH or at first base. Not exactly the outfield upgrade that they are looking for at this point.
Billy Butler has been discussed in the past, but his appeal is not improving. If the Mariners want to get him as a cheap add-on rental for the bench, that may be acceptable. However, he is not a particularly compelling option, either in the field or at the plate.