Oakland Athletics: An Ode To Billy Butler’s Release
Billy Butler was released by the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. This can only be a good thing, right?
I’m an optimist. If you need any further proof, look at my article for Billy Butler written before the year started. I predicted he would have 30 doubles, 20 home runs, and 90 RBI, and that he would be just fine, like the Oakland Athletics themselves. I’ll admit I lost on those predictions.
Billy Butler ended up hitting the following numbers for the A’s. In 85 games, he has hit .276/.331/.403 with 16 doubles, four home runs, 24 runs scored and 31 RBI. He walked 19 times and had 34 strikeouts. Baseball-Reference put his WAR at a solid 0.0 for the year.
Now, he wasn’t all bad. Butler did keep a higher ISO (.127) than two years ago (.105), the year he was signed by the A’s. He was walking more and striking out a little less than the year previous: his strikeout-to-walk ratio this year (1.78) marks a minor differential than in 2015 (1.94).
Additionally, he spelled Yonder Alonso at first base, playing 22 games there this year. He did hit .250 (6-for-24) as a pinch-hitter this year.
In short, he was about as good as any other entirely mediocre baseball player.
So when the A’s cut him, they said goodbye to $30 million. They also said goodbye to one of the most negative clubhouse “leaders” around.
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By now, Danny Valencia concussing Billy Butler in a clubhouse brawl has been the subject of quite some controversy.
Of course, both players did their best to take responsibility publicly and to play it off as if this sort of thing happens all the time. But this kind of thing doesn’t happen all the time.
Now, earlier this year he admitted problems regarding last year’s clubhouse chemistry. He strongly suggested that Brett Lawrie was at fault last year for lack of chemistry. Even general manager David Forst admitted days after the season ended last year that there were problems due to his constant roster shuffling.
But now is time to wonder – was Butler the catalyst in these clubhouse problems? That is nothing but speculation, but moving forward perhaps the A’s will be able to get over this hump in chemistry.
Let’s not forget that Valencia is performing fairly well this year, hitting .292/.349/.463 in over 400 at-bats. He is certainly playing better than Butler.
Next: Coco Crisp Traded Away, Along With The A's Pride
So, the ultimate question: if Butler was hitting like Valencia, and if Valencia was mediocre, who gets released from the A’s on September 11th, 2016? Feel free to write your comments below.