Billy Butler has reached an agreement on a three-year, $30 million deal to join the Oakland Athletics, sources told Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors. Murray notes that $5 million is viewed as a signing bonus. Bob Nightengale of USA Today has since confirmed the deal is in place.
Devan F. of Cover Those Bases first relayed word that the two sides were discussing a deal early Monday evening.
The deal is thought to be relatively inexpensive for a player of Butler’s stature: someone that gets on base. However, Butler, who’ll turn 29 in April, slashed just .271/.323/.379 with 9 HR and 66 RBI in 2014. The line was the lowest of his career, as his 95 OPS+, 97 wRC+, and -0.3 fWAR were all the second-lowest totals of his career. He also walked just 41 times, a career-low 6.8% walk percentage.
Butler is a major upgrade at DH from Alberto Callaspo, John Jaso, and a number of other players who collectively filled the role for Oakland last season. They group combined to hit just .215/.294/.343.
Butler became a free agent on November 1st, when the Kansas City Royals agreed to pay a $1 million buyout as they declined a $12.5 million club option for the 2015 season. Phil Rogers of MLB.com reported a week ago that Butler had been offered a three-year, $30 million deal from an unknown team. He speculated that it was from the Baltimore Orioles, but the team denied that they were involved in discussions.
The Seattle Mariners had previously expressed some interest in Butler, according to multiple reports. Butler wasn’t expected to find a deal longer than two years on the open market, but the A’s were willing to give him three.