In a conference call with news media this afternoon, newly-signed Oakland Athletics designated hitter/first baseman Billy Butler talked about the importance of loyalty, his role with the A's, the contract negotiations, and how much he values the 10 years he spent with the Royals organization.
Butler on joining the #Athletics, "Maybe take them to the next level and we can go deeper," speaking about what he can bring to the table.— Brandon McClintock (@BMcClintock_BSN) November 19, 2014
Billy Butler on playing 1B: "I've always worked real hard at first. ... I'm very capable of it." Says lot of pressure being DH. #athletics— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) November 19, 2014
Butler: "I think if you play the game long enough...they have down years, I believe that's all it was" re: his power drought. #Athletics— Adrian Garro (@adriangarro) November 19, 2014
On his relationships with A's players:
Butler says he is really good friends with Jesse Chavez and knows Josh Donaldson from back in High School, playing against each other.— Brandon McClintock (@BMcClintock_BSN) November 19, 2014
Butler says he played against Josh Donaldson in high school, mentions it's "an honor to be able to play with him."— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) November 19, 2014
On the signing process and loyalty:
Billy Butler stated that the Free Agency process was "definitely a situation I’ve never been in before." #Athletics— Jennifer Trumpp (@JenniferTrumpp) November 19, 2014
Butler emphasized that a big part of why he is excited to be with the Athletics is how much loyalty they showed in him from the beginning, "Day one of free agency, Billy was in contact with my agent and showing his interest. . . . It hit me where it mattered most."
Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star asked Butler whether he had given the Royals an opportunity to match the offer. Butler says he did, without mentioning the team at the time, and an offer from Kansas City just was not there. It was quite touching, actually, to hear Butler talk about how much his time with the Royals organization meant to him.
"I enjoyed every day of the last 10 years being with the Royals...I enjoyed every minute of it." - Billy Butler— Brandon McClintock (@BMcClintock_BSN) November 19, 2014
One of his regrets was that he was not going to be able to play with the new players coming up from the farm system that developed him.
Billy Butler on his time ending in KC: "It hurts a little bit that I'm not going to see the rest of it, but I'm on to a new chapter."— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) November 19, 2014
What number will Butler wear? He has already been in contact with Josh Reddick, and will wear the number 16 he wore in Kansas City in exchange for a gift to be named later.
"I'll find out what he's into and give him a nice little gift for giving me my number," Billy Butler on number trade w/ Reddick. #Athletics— Brandon McClintock (@BMcClintock_BSN) November 19, 2014
Josh Reddick will take the number previously held by Kurt Suzuki in 2013, Luke Montz, Chris Carter, Walt Weiss, and Rickey Henderson in 1989:
Josh Reddick's new number: 22.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 19, 2014
Finally, Susan Slusser did very well to pin down Butler on his opinion of the A's white cleats:
Billy Butler says he likes the white cleats. "I'm looking forward to wearing them."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 19, 2014