Friday, June 29, 2012

Stop It

One year ago today Billy Butler was in the midst of a down year according to some fans and they demanded that he be traded. This vocal minority was able to look past his .297/.396/.428 line and were able to concentrate solely on his 6 home runs and 34 RBIs. It was ridiculous. His on-base percentage hovered around .400 almost the entire first half, but because he didn't fit the profile of the slugger they thought he should be, they wanted him gone. Luckily Dayton Moore dismissed the rantings of these lunatic minds.

Of course you'll recall that Butler then started hitting home runs and he hasn't stopped. He's hit 28 of them in the last 365 days and the calls to trade him have declined dramatically. But they haven't stopped completely. Now some think he should be dealt because he may be the team's most tradable asset. The theory is that this would then open up a spot for Clint Robinson who should be able to replicate Butler's production because anybody can be a DH. Insane, I know.

First off, selling high on a relief pitcher is one thing, but it's quite another when you're talking about one of the best hitters in franchise history. Butler is almost certain to have a fourth year with an OPS+ above 120 making him just the seventh Royal to have that many such seasons. Do you really believe that Robinson (who is older than Butler) can produce at that level? Here's the list, and as you'll notice, there's not a slouch among them.

Rk Yrs
1 George Brett 14
2 Hal McRae 7
3 Amos Otis 6
4 Mike Sweeney 5
5 Danny Tartabull 4
6 John Mayberry 4
7 Billy Butler 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

And just because someone can be a DH doesn't mean they should be a DH. A look at recent Royals history will show that hasn't been a particularly productive spot until Butler took it over for good last year. Call me crazy but a guy who does nothing but hit should be someone who, you know, actually hits.

Year HR RBI BA OBP SLG
2007 13 87 .264 .317 .399
2008 26 86 .268 .309 .446
2009 24 84 .209 .281 .374
2010 22 78 .252 .329 .426
2011 17 95 .294 .365 .454
2012 11 40 .298 .350 .476

There's also the little matter of the 36 home runs Steve Balboni hit in 1985. This record survived the steroid era but it may not survive Country Breakfast. Butler is on pace for about 33 home runs but he's nearly three weeks ahead of Balboni (Bye Bye hit his 15th home run on July 19th) and tends to hit for more power in the second half. I don't know about you but I kind of want to see how it plays out.

So if you are calling for DM to trade Butler, stop it, and focus your energy on someone else.

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