The Designated Hitter: Billy Butler
July 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Billy Butler (16) at bat in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Luke: Although it is going to be difficult to get anyone to take on the contract of a heavy footed designated hitter who doesn’t hit for power, the player the Oakland Athletics need to get rid of is Billy Butler. Butler is a good veteran presence in the clubhouse and has had big moments with the A’s in his first season, but the bad times far outweigh the good times. His lack of power and inability to take the extra base have hurt the team on more than on occasion. The A’s need a designated hitter that can produce more if the team is going to take a step forward out of last place in 2016.
If you compare Butler’s production to that of who he essentially replaced, Brandon Moss, there was a noticeable drop in multiple categories. Butler hit 10 fewer home runs, knocked in 16 fewer runs and scored 5 fewer runs. Butler did hit for a higher average by 34 points and got on base more by 19 points. However, one could argue that him getting on base more actual hurt the team because he clogged up the base paths. It will never happen, but Billy Butler needs to go.
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Andrew Dambrauskas: By now, the A’s have to be considering alternatives to Billy Bu….tler (you didn’t think I was going to say Burns, did you?). Although the A’s are surely interested in finding productive replacements for Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry, they at least limit the damage they do to the team by playing from the bench. No other significantly underperforming player came close to playing in as many games as Butler did at 151.
Sure, multiple players are hurting the A’s, but Butler is hurting them the most often.In what way, you ask? Four other A’s either matched or exceeded Butler’s home run total, and did so while being able to play defense. When Butler did get on base, he caused traffic jams for other base runners. Perhaps most shocking is that the team’s full-time designated hitter came in dead last in the team’s offensive WAR, finishing behind notable power bats Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and Jesse Hahn.
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