The Oakland Athletics officially confirmed that it had reached an agreement with free agent designated hitter/first baseman Billy Butler through 2017. Athletics general manager Billy Beane will hold a conference call later this morning to discuss his role.
Baseball was all atwitter (and a-bloggin') on Tuesday night as word leaked out of the deal. Some reactions:
Very few things say "We’re not selling jeans here" as effectively as Billy Butler.— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) November 19, 2014
A year after the foolish Jim Johnson trade, A's sign Billy Butler to 3-year deal? Strange money, value moves for that franchise.— Eric Karabell (@karabellespn) November 19, 2014
"Billy Butler" and "Athletic" are words that generally do not have a lot of reason to be used together.— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) November 19, 2014
OAK signing of Billy Butler would be interesting; sometimes A's have tough time getting FA's to take their $, but Butler needs landing spot.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 19, 2014
Billy Butler is younger than Lorenzo Cain— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) November 19, 2014
let's be real: the best Billy Butler fun fact is that he's already grounded into more double plays in his career than Barry Bonds ever did— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) November 19, 2014
bonus: Billy Butler grounded into the same number of double plays in 2014 as Barry Bonds did from 2001-2004— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) November 19, 2014
has the coliseum fixed their plumbing yet just wondering no this has nothing to do with billy butler why would you think that— Lana Berry (@Lana) November 19, 2014
Billy Butler for his career at Angel Stadium: 308/402/533. Don't think he's ever thrown out someone at home from LF foul territory, though.— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) November 19, 2014
Q: If Billy Butler is worth 3/30, why not just trade something to the Royals and ask them to pick up his $12.5M option instead?— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) November 19, 2014
BRAD PITT SIGNED BILLY BUTLER BECAUSE HE REALLY MISSES FAT JONAH HILL.— NOT BUSTER OLNEY (@TRIPPINGOLNEY) November 19, 2014
First the A's leave for Oakland and then Bam! only 47 years later Billy Butler does the same. I don't like this trend.— Mick Shaffer (@mickshaffer) November 19, 2014
exclusive photo of Jack Cust upon hearing Oakland gave Billy Butler $30 million: pic.twitter.com/vb3vwYm7u1— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) November 19, 2014
Billy Butler's career BsR is -42.7. That makes him the 9th worst base runner ever (data is only *really* useful since 2002).— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) November 19, 2014
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle ("Report: A's Sign Billy Butler" sfgate.com):
Butler presumably would platoon at DH, maybe with John Jaso if Jaso's catching duties are limited after repeated concussions, and also get time at first base. Butler, 28, is not known as a great defender, but the A's have few right-handed hitting first-base options besides Nate Freiman and oft-injured Kyle Blanks. Their options were so limited there last season that they used the diminutive Alberto Callaspo there despite his lack of experience at the position, and he did not fare particularly well there.
Drew Silva of NBC Sports Hardball Talk ("A's sign Billy Butler to three-year, $30 million contract" hardballtalk.nbcsports.com):
That's quite a lengthy commitment to a designated hitter whose OPS has been in a freefall over the past three seasons - .882 in 2012, .787 in 2013, and .702 in 2014 - but Butler is only 28 years old and the average annual value of the deal ($10 million) isn't too bad. Maybe he'll be able to find new life with the A's, who excel at exploiting righty-lefty matchups.
Joon Lee of MLB Daily Dish ("Athletics agree to three-year, $30 million deal with Billy Butler" mlbdailydish.com)
Butler could platoon at DH with catcher John Jaso if the team decides to limit his catching opportunities following a string of concussions. Given the A's affinity towards position platoons, it would not be surprising to see opportunities for Butler in a variety of roles.
Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors ("Athletics Sign Billy Butler" mlbtraderumors.com"):
Something will have to give for the A's, whose roster is already chock full of players who occupy various value niches for the team. Oakland recently added Kyle Blanks to serve as a right-handed power option. And Craig Gentry functions as a right-handed platoon/bench bat capable of playing the corner outfield. It would certainly seem all but impossible for the team to keep each of those players, add Butler, and maintain two left-handed hitting outfield pieces (Josh Reddick and Sam Fuld) on top of three catching/first base/DH options (Derek Norris, John Jaso, and Stephen Vogt) to go with Brandon Moss and a utility infielder on the active roster.