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Grading The Deal: Butler Signs Three-Year Deal With A's

By Scott McCourtney

There was no loyalty for this longtime Royal. After eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals, Billy Butler has signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Athletics worth $30 million.

The Royals declined Butler's $12.5 million team option for 2015, playing him a $1 million buyout and allowing him to become a free agent for the first time in his Major League career. He will receive a $5 million signing bonus payable by Dec. 31, a $5 million salary in 2015 and $10 million in each of the final two seasons of his new contract.

In yet another interesting move by Billy Beane, the A's have seem to have found an everyday designated hitter for the first time in three years. Beane is trying to play it safe by again signing a guy without great numbers, hoping he'll be the bat in the lineup that can replace Yoenis Cespedes.

Grade for Butler: A

This may be the best possible situation for Butler. He gets a fresh start in Oakland after a disappointing 2014 season. From 2009 to 2013, he hit below .300 only twice (.291 in 2011 and .289 in 2013) and had 15 or more home runs.

In 2014 he hit .271 over 151 games and saw his home runs dip to nine and his RBIs drop to 66. He also had career lows in slugging (.379), OBP (.323) and OPS (.702). You can make the conclusion that Butler scored nicely this offseason, especially since he was looking to stay in Kansas City.

"We gave them a chance," Butler said of the Royals to ESPN. "It didn't work out. It's unfortunate. I enjoyed every day ... It dampens it a little bit for me that we got to the top of where we're at and now I'm gone. I'm glad I got to see it through this year… It hurts a little bit that I'm not going to get to see the rest of that go through. I'm on to a different chapter, that's the way you have to look at it."

Grade for the Athletics: C

Billy Butler is not Yoenis Cespedes, just like Cespedes is not Butler. Butler is a contact hitter and Cespedes a good power hitter. You can't replace one with the other, but both are counted on to drive in runs for their teams. Beane needed pitching more than Cespedes's power in 2014 and that didn't work out. Now he is trying to get a little of that back at around the same price. Cespedes will earn $10.5 million next year, but could make a lot more as a free agent after next season.

The Athletics have been contenders for a few years now and with Butler they are looking to take a step forward with small splash buys.

Beane likes to sign veterans to short-term deals as he did with Bartolo Colon (two-years, $5 million) and Frank Thomas (one-year, $ 3.1 million). Colon went on to be a Cy Young contender and Thomas won Comeback Player of the Year. He also picked up current players Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson for almost nothing. Moss made $1.6 million in 2013 and $4.1 million in 2014 and his power numbers have surged with 20 plus home runs and 80-plus RBIs. Donaldson also saw his numbers surge in the last two years while only making $500,000 in 2014. He also hit 20-plus home runs with 90-plus RBIs in both years.

"Finding right-handed power in the middle of the lineup at this stage is really difficult. It's not very often you get free agents that are in the prime of their career and still have some upside to them." Beane said to ESPN.

Beane has always been a wiz at finding talent, but he is stretching it a bit with Butler. He is coming off the worst season of his career. Beane feels Butler is at his "prime" at 28 and maybe he is right, but on a good Royals team Butler declined. The hitter has only had one 100 RBI season and I don't know if that means Butler deserves to be paid $30 million over three years. Like the Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel trade, Beane seems to be gambling bigger and bigger.

Butler could turn out to be like Moss or Donaldson or he could turn out to be like Chris Young ($7.25 million for one year) or Curtis Granderson ($40 million four years).

In the end, Beane knew he would have to replace Cespedes. Out of all the free agent designated hitters in this year's class, Butler is one of the youngest. He could thrive in that A's lineup, but that money could have gone to Torii Hunter or Nick Markakis.


Complete List Of 2015 MLB Free Agents

By RealGM Staff Report

The San Francisco Giants have barely had time to finish celebrating their third World Series victory in five years and free agency is already upon us. Below is a list of all of baseball's free agents and their age. Once agreements are made, we'll up date the list to include each player's club.

Catchers

J.P. Arencibia (29)
John Buck (34)
Ryan Doumit (34)
Chris Gimenez (32)
Nick Hundley (31
Gerald Laird (35)
Russell Martin (32)
Wil Nieves (36)
A.J. Pierzynski (38)
David Ross (38)
Geovany Soto (32)

First Basemen

Daric Barton (29)
Billy Butler (29)
Mike Carp (29)
Michael Cuddyer (36)
Corey Hart (33)
Adam LaRoche (35)
Mike Morse (33)
Lyle Overbay (38)
Carlos Pena (37)
Mark Reynolds (32)

Second Basemen

Emilio Bonifacio (30)
Mark Ellis (38)
Rafael Furcal (37)
Jonathan Herrera (30)
Brandon Hicks (29)
Kelly Johnson (33)
Ramon Santiago (35)
Rickie Weeks (32)
Josh Wilson (34)

Shortstops

Clint Barmes (36)
Asdrubal Cabrera (29)
Stephen Drew (32)
Jonathan Herrera (30)
Jed Lowrie (31)
John McDonald (40)
Hanley Ramirez (31)

Third Basemen

Alberto Callaspo (32)
Jack Hannahan (35)
Chase Headley (31)
Kelly Johnson (33)
Donnie Murphy (32)
Chris Nelson (29)
Hanley Ramirez (31)
Mark Reynolds (32)
Pablo Sandoval (28)

Left Fielders

Melky Cabrera (30)
Mike Carp (29)
Endy Chavez (37)
Tyler Colvin (29)
Nelson Cruz (34)
Chris Denorfia (34)
Cole Gillespie (30)
Jonny Gomes (34)
Tony Gwynn Jr. (32)
Scott Hairston (35)
Reed Johnson (38)
Jason Kubel (33)
Ryan Ludwick (36)
Nyjer Morgan (34)
Mike Morse (33)
Alfonso Soriano (39)
Josh Willingham (36)
Chris B. Young (31)
Delmon Young (29)

Center Fielders

Emilio Bonifacio (30)
Endy Chavez (37)
Nyjer Morgan (34)
Colby Rasmus (28)
Chris B. Young (31)

Right Fielders

Nori Aoki (33)
Endy Chavez (37)
Tyler Colvin (29)
Nelson Cruz (34)
Michael Cuddyer (36)
Chris Denorfia (34)
Scott Hairston (35)
Torii Hunter (39)
Nick Markakis (31)
Alex Rios (34)
Nate Schierholtz (31)
Ichiro Suzuki (41)
Yasmany Tomas (24)
Chris B. Young (31)

Designated Hitters

Billy Butler (29)
Ryan Doumit (34)
Adam Dunn (35)
Jason Giambi (44)
Jonny Gomes (34)
Corey Hart (33)
Raul Ibanez (42)
Jason Kubel (33)
Victor Martinez (35)
Kendrys Morales (31)
Delmon Young (29)

Starting Pitchers

Brett Anderson (27)
Scott Baker (33)
Chad Billingsley (30)
A.J. Burnett (38)
Chris Capuano (36)
Bruce Chen (38)
Kevin Correia (34)
Gavin Floyd (32)
Jason Hammel (32)
Aaron Harang (37)
Roberto Hernandez (34)
Josh Johnson (31)
Kyle Kendrick (30)
Hiroki Kuroda (40)
Jon Lester (31)
Colby Lewis (35)
Francisco Liriano (31)
Paul Maholm (33)
Justin Masterson (30)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (34)
Brandon McCarthy (31)
Brad Mills (29)
Franklin Morales (29)
Brandon Morrow (30)
Felipe Paulino (31)
Jake Peavy (34)
Wandy Rodriguez (36)
Ervin Santana (32)
Joe Saunders (34)
Max Scherzer (30)
James Shields (33)
Misael Siverio (24)
Kevin Slowey (31)
Carlos Villanueva (31)
Ryan Vogelsong (37)
Edinson Volquez (30)
Randy Wolf (38)
Chris Young (36)

Closers

Jason Grilli (38)
Casey Janssen (33)
David Robertson (30)
Francisco Rodriguez (33)
Sergio Romo (32)
Rafael Soriano (35)

Right-Handed Relievers

Mike Adams (36)
Matt Albers (32)
Burke Badenhop (32)
Andrew Bailey (31)
Matt Belisle (34)
Heath Bell (37)
Jared Burton (34)
Joba Chamberlain (29)
Jesse Crain (34)
Kyle Farnsworth (39)
Jason Frasor (38)
Kyuji Fujikawa (34)
Luke Gregerson (31)
Matt Guerrier (36)
Luke Hochevar (31)
Jim Johnson (32)
Matt Lindstrom (35)
Jeff Manship (30)
Nick Masset (33)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (34)
Dustin McGowan (32)
Jason Motte (33)
Pat Neshek (34)
Juan Carlos Oviedo (33)
Chris Perez (29)
Sergio Santos (31)
Kevin Slowey (31)
Tim Stauffer (32)
Jose Veras (34)
Jamey Wright (40)

Left-Handed Relievers

Joe Beimel (38)
Craig Breslow (34)
Sean Burnett (32)
Phil Coke (32)
Neal Cotts (35)
Scott Downs (39)
Zach Duke (32)
Tom Gorzelanny (32)
Andrew Miller (30)
Franklin Morales (29)
Josh Outman (30)
Joe Thatcher (33)

 

This list was put together using the tremendous resource that is MLB Trade Rumors.


MLB Rankings For End Of 2014 Regular Season

By RealGM Staff Report

The Opsera is a statistic RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina created in order to objectively rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA). 

In order to determine the Opsera rating for each, we take their OPS, multiply that number by 10 to move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract their ERA from that number.  

All statistics are through the end of the 2014 regular season.

Rankings from last week are in parenthesizes.

(1) Washington Nationals – 4.11

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers – 3.98

(3) Baltimore Orioles – 3.91

(4) Pittsburgh Pirates – 3.87

(5) Oakland Athletics – 3.78

(6) Los Angeles Angels – 3.70

(7) Seattle Mariners – 3.59

(8) Detroit Tigers – 3.56

(9) Cleveland Indians – 3.50

(10) San Francisco Giants – 3.49

(11) Milwaukee Brewers – 3.41

(T12) St. Louis Cardinals – 3.39

-- Kansas City Royals – 3.39

(14) Toronto Blue Jays – 3.36

(15) Tampa Bay Rays – 3.28

(16) Atlanta Braves – 3.27

(17) New York Mets – 3.24

(18) Miami Marlins – 3.16

(19) New York Yankees – 3.12

(20) San Diego Padres – 3.07

(21) Cincinnati Reds – 3.02

(22) Chicago Cubs – 2.93

(23) Colorado Rockies – 2.88

(24) Philadelphia Phillies – 2.86

(25) Boston Red Sox – 2.83

(26) Houston Astros – 2.81

(27) Chicago White Sox – 2.79

(28) Minnesota Twins – 2.56

(29) Arizona Diamondbacks – 2.52

(30) Texas Rangers – 2.40

 

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Already one of the favorites to win the World Series, the A's now have an even deeper playoff rotation. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have added to a punch-less outfield while landing a top pick as well.