Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking: The Billy Butler Contract Extension

The Royals have very few building blocks to build around. Outside of Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, and Billy Butler, the Royals still have tons to figure out before they become a contending team agin.

However, both Greinke and Soria are signed to long term contracts, so is it time for the Royals to look into giving Butler an extension? Butler is under team control for the next four years, but now seems like a good time for the Royals and their young slugger to look into a contract extension.

However, it remains to be seen if both sides will be able to get an extension done. A blurb in MLBTR yesterday seemed to suggest that extension talks for Billy Butler had not started yet:
"Newly minted Royals Player of the Year Billy Butler has not held long-term extension talks with the team, MLBTR learned on a conference call today. Butler will not be arbitration-eligible until after the 2010 season."

Even though there have been no talks between the two sides, can the Royals and Butler come to terms on a contract extension this winter? Maybe. Hopefully. Let's take a look at the respective goals for each side:

The Royals

1. Buyout arbitration years

2. Buyout Butler's first year of free agency

3. Butler's extension would save the team money over time

The Billy Butler Camp

1. Guaranteed money

2. More money in 2010

So how about this deal for Butler and the Royals?

(5 years/$30 million) with a $15 million dollar option for 2014

Here is the contractual breakdown:

2010: $1 million
2011: $4 million
2012: $6 million
2013: $8 million
2014: $11 million
2015: $15 million (vesting option)

Why it works for the Royals:

1. Buyout all of Butler's arbitration years

2. Buyout one year of free agency (at least)

3. Very reasonable price

Why it works for Butler:

1. Long term security

2. Can become a free agent at 28 (or 29)

********* *********

The only incentive for the Royals to get something done now is if they can lock up Butler to a very team friendly long term deal. With this contract, I think that goal is accomplished. There is a good amount of risk in signing a young player, who is a liability in the field and has only put together one good season at the plate; but I think this is a great opportunity for the Royals to lock up a young, middle of the order hitter at a great price. Then again, the Royals might want to hold off on a contract extension until the middle of the season just to make sure that Butler's 2009 season was no fluke.

****** ******

(Jorge Says No! on Facebook)

(Follow Jorge Says No! on Twitter)


j-blo said...

I think a deal like that makes sense. He is a great hitter and they need to keep him around to succeed. It isn't like they have a ton of can't miss prospects in line to take his place, nor would they be able to buy a player of his caliber via free agency for any cheaper. As you said he does only have one quality season under his belt, but at age 23 there is still room for improvement. Barring injury, investing in a contract like this should pay off in dividends for the Royals. It sure beats flushing 10 mil down the Farnsworthless toilet.

Jorge Says No! said...


completely agree. And i think Dayton Moore has to play to his strengths here, which is clearly not spending through free agency. Develop players and then sign them long term should be the strategy and Butler should be a part of their strategic approach.