Butler was the opposite of good in 2014, and 2015 has been more of the same. He is clearly on the downside of his career at just 29 years of age. It's heartbreaking. Fans, and Royals management, railed on Butler almost his entire time in Kansas City. How often did we hear about how sweet roster flexibility would be without a full time DH? When push came to shove though, Dayton Moore decided he'd rather have a legitimate bat instead of a rotation of backup players getting 4 plate appearances every game.
He's shown last year was a fluke and has bounced back in a big way. Which brings me to random internet guy (known as RIG from here on out). Every other day something is retweeted into my timeline about how much better Morales is than Butler. The tweet that inspired this post mentioned that Morales is on pace for 20 home runs, 40 doubles, and 100 RBIs - an arbitrary series of stats Butler never accomplished in a Royals uniform. He did come close a couple times. He was 7 RBIs short in 2009 and a home run and 5 RBIs short in 2011. He just couldn't nail down those nice round numbers baseball fans so enjoy.
RIG's trolling got me wondering how many such seasons have been achieved in Royals history. I assumed it had happened many times which is why RIG highlighted Butler's failure. Yeah, not so much. There have only been seven seasons of 20+ HR, 40+ 2B, 100+ RBI by a Royal.
Before I get to those seasons here's a list of players, who like Butler, were unable to achieve this seemingly simple accomplishment:
You're probably wondering why I put Guillen on there. Here's why - in 2008 he was 3 RBIs short of joining this club. His OPS+ that year was 95. Butler's OPS+ last year was 96. Judging players by RBIs will always be stupid. Stop doing that.
There are some great seasons listed above but they're not the greatest. Brett's 1988 season is the only one that cracks the top 10 in highest OPS+ seasons and it sits exactly 10th, which means noticeably absent are his four best OPS+ years.
I think that might be enough to prove RIG's assortment of numbers aren't all that telling. By the way, Butler had four seasons with an OPS+ higher than Morales' current 124.
Moore did the right thing by not picking up Butler's option, and though I didn't love the Morales signing, he was a good bounce back candidate. It's worked out well, and I'm thrilled, but his season doesn't diminish the numbers Butler put up as a Royal.
What I'm saying is this, it's okay to appreciate Morales this year without trashing Butler's time in Kansas City.