What Billy Butler Would Mean for the Athletics


If rumors based on a “source” close to the situation are to be believed, and they so rarely are, Billy Butler is mere minutes from signing a contract with the Oakland Athletics. Personally, I’ve read nothing that fills me with confidence that these rumors are true but it is absolutely a possibility since Billy Butler is now a free agent and the Athletics would be looking for a strong right handed bat.

Two weeks ago, the adorable Jason Burke detailed why the Athletics acquiring Billy Butler makes sense on the field so I won’t go through the numbers again, you can read his article. What I want to look at is what it means for Oakland to acquire such a prominent free agent fresh off of a World Series season.

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Acquiring Billy Butler would confirm what I’ve argued since the end of the season; the A’s have the core to make another run at the World Series if Billy Beane makes subtle, smart alterations to the team. It would be folly to sign a player of Butler’s caliber if you were going to trade away the rest of the team for prospects and draft picks so if Beane can seal this deal, expect to see most of your favorite 2014 Athletics on the roster in 2015.

It also may signify the dawn of a new era in Athletics game management with the first true designated hitter the team has had in quite some time. Billy Butler hit .321 against left handed pitchers last year, which is great, but he also managed a .255 against right handed pitchers. With numbers like that, I doubt you’ll see the platoon of designated hitters that we’ve become accustomed to. It may also eliminate the platooning of Brandon Moss, who’s splits are actually counter to the norm (albeit with far fewer at bats versus lefties).

If the Athletics acquiring Butler eliminates some of the steadfast, some would say stuborn, adherence to the platoon system, I’m all for it. Having Josh Donaldson, Billy Butler and Brandon Moss at the center of your lineup every day, regardless of pitching matchups, is a threatening force to opposing teams (the trio had 63 homeruns, 245 RBI’s and a .333 OBP) and would eliminate the all too common “let’s switch pitchers so Melvin pulls out his best hitter in the fifth inning” scenario.

If this all plays out for real, though, we have to look at who the A’s are going to drop from the team to make room. With John Jaso unlikely to catch for Oakland, he’d be first on the chopping block. Without the DH platoon, players like Jaso are just dead weight waiting around to get a pinch hit opportunity and their value may be better used as trade bait for some middle infield help.

The A’s are not out of this yet, guys. 2015 could be another exciting year and Billy Butler could be a critical component to their success if the “source very close to the situation” is to be believed. What are your thoughts on the matter? Should they make a grab at a DH like Butler? Let me know in the comments below.

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