The Oakland Athletics and designated hitter Billy Butler have agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal, according to Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors. I reported that a deal was close two days ago.
Butler represents an interesting addition to an Athletics team that has been missing power from their lineup ever since Yoenis Cespedes was dealt to Boston in the Jon Lester deal. Butler didn't have the best numbers in 2014, but he was still solid. A complete rebound from him at only $10 million per year would turn out to be a good deal for Oakland. And at 28-years-old, he could still do it.
The Florida native Butler was selected by the Royals in the first round of the 2004 MLB Draft. Since first appearing in the majors back in 2007, Butler was selected to the 2012 MLB All-Star Game and was given a Silver Slugger. Butler has a career .808 OPS and a 119 OPS+ in 4,811 plate appearances.
Butler fills a need for the Athletics that has been there for quite some time. This past season, Athletics hitters posted the eighth-worst OPS against left-handers. They posted a 96 wRC+ against southpaws, ranking 20th in the major leagues.
The Athletics will be getting a lefty-masher in Billy Butler. Over his career, Butler has posted a .314/.393/.519 line with a 142 wRC+ in 1,293 plate appearances versus left-handers. At $10 million a season, Butler represents an expensive platoon player, but if he can give the Athletics that boost in their lineup that they need, it was a deal they had to make.
Butler was rumored to have been offered a $30 million deal from the Orioles earlier in the offseason, but the rumor was shot down. At that time, the $30 million deal seemed like something Butler would definitely take, but something that seemed like a big commitment to him. The Royals were only willing to go as far as a one-year deal for Butler, but Billy Beane and the front office staff in Oakland appeared to have really felt that Butler would be a good addition to the club.
Butler hit .271/.323/.379 with nine homers and 66 runs batted in over 603 plate appearances this past season with Kansas City. He posted a 128 OPS+ with the team from 2009 to 2013, so he isn't too far removed from a good season offensively. However, many believe Butler has shown signs of declining.