Meet Billy Butler, Your New Favorite Athletic!


Hey Athletics fans, are you feeling abandoned with the trades of Brandon Moss, Derek Norris, Josh Donaldson or still stinging from the loss of Yoenis Cespedes? Join the club! We might be fans of the green and gold, but we’re rooting for more than just laundry. We root for the organization, its history and the guys in the front office…but at the end of the day it’s the players wearing the uniforms that we turn on the TV or go to the ballpark to watch. With that in mind, welcome to my series on choosing your new favorite player for the 2015 season and beyond. There are some new faces on the Athletics’ roster, let’s take some time to get to know them!

When Billy Butler signed a 3 year, $30 million dollar contract with the A’s this offseason, I’ll admit I initially felt fairly indifferent. I mean, sure he’s a fine player but $10 mm seemed like a bit of a high cost for a guy with no defensive value on a roster that at that time had both Jaso and Moss. Plus, I’ve also really enjoyed how Melvin has used the DH spot to give guys partial rest and to get various bats into the lineup. Now that the roster has been completely made over, it looks like Butler will surely be DH-ing full time and that’s great news because (for today at least) he’s our new favorite player!


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Why to love Billy Butler:

First of all, I should admit that I’m a guy who has struggled with his weight quite a bit over the years and I also struggle mighty to grow respectable facial hair…let’s just say Butler has the feel of a kindred spirit in that regard. Plus, how can you not fall in love with any player whose nickname is Country Breakfast? Yes, you read that right, COUNTRY BREAKFAST! How many times will you have a chance to have your favorite player share his nickname with your favorite meal?

Also, at the age of 28, even given the bad aging curves for players of his build, we can hope that he might still have another prime season or two in him. It would be a treat if he could repeat anything near his stellar 2012 campaign where he hit .313/.373/.510 with 29 hot (country breakfast?) taters. Butler truly hits to all fields and unlike players coming from many other parks in the majors, it’s not likely that will have any deleterious effect on his power numbers versus Kauffman.

On top of all that, Butler appears to be a really solid guy. His twitter feed reflects a family man with a good sense of humor as well as a guy who seems to be legitimately enthusiastic about playing for the Athletics.


What’s not to like?

Well, from a favorite player logistics standpoint it’s tough to root for a DH. Sure, he might play every day but it’s not the same when we’re only seeing him bat. And while I like Butler and his approach, he’s not exactly prime David Ortiz up there either. Two-way players at least have the potential to make up for a bad night at the plate with a few gems in the field, not so for Mr. Butler.

Also, I can’t bring up his amazing 2012 season without talking about his disastrous 2014 where he hit .271/.323/.379…a 95 OPS+ which is entirely acceptable for a shortstop or center fielder, but not for a DH/1B type player.



While many players like Butler don’t age well, Billy won’t reach his 32nd birthday until after this contract ends. He’s by no means a perfect player, and he won’t be playing two-ways (or we should hope he doesn’t do so that often) but he’s a good pure hitter who should thrive under the Atheltics’ hitting philosophy.

I won’t be running out to buy a number 16 Butler jersey right away (I’d go with white for a Butler jersey, for the record), but I’ll gladly root for him in green and gold while he’s here.