Monday, January 24, 2011

Billy Butler In Royals' Shackles (or Club Control If Your Glass Is Half-full) Through 2015

Luckily I do not find myself having to write about the news coming out of FanFest this weekend regarding what most of us had assumed was going to happen anyway: Wil Myers will officially be moving from behind the dish to the outfield. Luck plays into this two ways. First, I don't have to write about a development that already seemed inevitable. Second, the other news is much more interesting.

Saturday, as FanFest* was going on, the news leaked that the Royals and Billy Butler's camp were getting a contract ExtenZed extension meted out. As terms of the deal rolled out, the deal went from being a four-year deal that bought out the first year of his free agency to a four-year deal with a club option for a fifth year. Kicking things off with a $2MM signing bonus, Butler will make $3MM in 2011, $8MM each season from 2012 - 2014, and a club option for the 2015 season for $12.5MM that can be bought out at $1MM.

*Weirdly, I did not make the trek from Texas to Overland Park for the festivities...

For a WAR breakdown of the deal, Scott McKinney (until the past 24 hours known as NYRoyal) has already taken care of this over at Royals Review. It is clear to almost everyone that this is a very club-favorable deal. As explained for the uninitiated* last week (and imaginably prior to that as well), FanGraphs assigns a dollar value (in millions) to the amount of money that a player's performance based on WAR would yield on the free agent market. In the past two seasons, Butler's performance was worth $11.7MM and $13.8MM. Given the facts that the value of a win above replacement inflates each year as salaries go up and that Billy Butler posted a 2011 season that already exceeded the most expensive season in the deal (and the one that is technically optional) and did so at the age of 24, it is hard not to see how this works in the Royals' favor.

*I do have the time to educate.

More importantly, Billy Butler is The Special Lady Friend's (known as TSLF for my Inconsiderate Prick readers) favorite Royal. If his continued presence on the Royals softens the repeated quasi*-abusive blows that TSLF feels, then it makes my life easier. Of Jesus is gone. So is Bert Calypso. No more Greinke. What would she have to take from a game without her chubby-cheeked pal Billy Butler working the count and motoring down the basepath, arms a-churnin'?

*If one wanted to be technical, forcing a non-Royals fan to watch the Royals qualifies as something that exceeds quasi-abuse and perhaps stretches to reach grounds that should be punishable by law. I know I hate myself at least ten times during the typical Royals game, and only five of those times are spawned by the image/mention of Jason Kendall, whose place will surely be held by Melky Cabrera.

This deal is about as club-friendly as the Joakim Soria contract. Even if the Royals should elect to trade him at some point, Butler's contract is so friendly that it would almost have to yield a lot in return. Maybe this signifies the beginning of the end for Kila Ka'aihue and to a lesser extent for Clint Robinson, as Eric Hosmer is expected to be beating the door down at first in 2012 (barring an extremely unlikely Kila-Monster-forced shift to the outfield). Clearly the future at 1B/DH would appear to consist of a combination of Hosmer and Butler. This extension just sets in stone the fact that we should not get too attached to Kila this season.

These other things are mostly irrelevant. Billy Butler is a Royal until he isn't at a club-favorable cost. Good move, Mr. Moore. This almost makes me not wretch when I think about the sunk cost that is anything being deposited into Melky Cabrera's bank account.


KMartin said...

I don't think Moore will jettison Kila too quickly. First, Moore's genetic code stipulates log jams at 1B and its just not jammed up enough yet. Second, if Gordon can't get going and Kila can eek out a 350+ OBP, Hoz may be headed for the outfield with Myers as Gordon exits the building. The odd man out is definitely Clint Robinson.

Old Man Duggan said...

@KMartin - I certainly don't think Kila will only get until June to prove himself. I just think 2011 is his last season in a Royals uniform, barring an absurd campaign a la 2008 or 2010 in the minors.

Old Man Duggan said...

Also, you ever thinking of bringing the blog back? If you do, keep me posted, and I'll link you up.