Jul 6, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd (3) hits a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mariners Trade Rumors: A Marlon Byrd in the Hand is Worth Two Billy Butlers?

Baseball is a business. Yes it’s a sport, yes it’s heartbreaking and jaw-dropping and inspiring and demoralizing all the same. But it is about money, both for the organizations and the players themselves. So when one transaction hits a monetary snag, it begs casting a wider net into the talent pool.

Mariners trade rumors have been rampant in recent weeks, as this team has performed so well they are in a position to make the playoffs if the season ended today. However, they cannot hang on their laurels and expect what worked the first half to keep them in it during the 2nd half of the season.

What worked the first half was unreal pitching. But, to win the games that matter most in September, this team needs a reliable offense to back the likes of Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.

Lots of names have been thrown around, but one that has really seemed to stick is Marlon Byrd, outfielder for the Philadelphia Philles. Some think the M’s would trade just for Byrd, others think it could be one-stop shopping with the inclusion of Domonic Brown or even lefty Cliff Lee (former Mariner who was traded midway through a season for arguably the best defensive/worst offensive first baseman in baseball).

The Mariners are on Byrd’s no-trade clause list, but he is willing to waive it to come and play in Seattle. However, business is as business goes and Byrd is pushing to get a sweeter deal from the Mariners if he is dealt to the Pacific Northwest. From Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune:

This puts the Mariners in a tough trade spot: of course they want a corner outfielder who can supply 30 home runs a season, but Byrd will be 37 on August 30th. He would therefore be 39 by the end of the 2016 season.

Perhaps the Mariners will agree to guarantee the 2016 option while either: A- offering less in prospects to the Philles while taking on all of Byrd’s contract; or B- having the Phillies absorb some of Byrd’s guaranteed money.

Either way the Mariners would want to lessen the financial and/or prospect cost to bring Byrd over for two and a half seasons.

Though as it stands now, his .263/.315/.479 triple-slash with 18 home runs, 54 RBI, and 24 walks would look mighty nice behind Robinson Cano in the Mariners lineup.


It seems that this snag in the Byrd trade have led to an emergence of yet another trade candidate, Kansas City’s Billy Butler. Again from Bob Dutton:

Yes, Bully Butler has had a poor season by his standards– especially his power standards– but he would be a positive addition to the lineup, especially since the DH position has been a black hole with Corey Hart injured and underproducing.

Billy Butler is making $8 million this season. He has a 2015 team option at $12.5 million for next season, with a $1 million team buyout. So here’s the rub: Butler is younger, cheaper (if Byrd were to get that 2016 season guaranteed), and at a sell-low point.

It makes perfect sense to talk to the Royals about Butler. Not only does he provide a solid secondary option, he also provides leverage against both the Phillies and Marlon Byrd. If the Phillies get stingey or Byrd gets too greedy, the M’s can say: “No thanks, we will sign the younger, cheaper guy who has underperformed this year and is slated for a solid second half.”

Therefore the Billy Butler rumors are legitimate. I for one think the M’s should pull the trigger on Butler. He is younger, and he has the type of power and patience to hit behind Cano, even if he hasn’t flashed it all that much this season. He’s hitting .273/325/.355 with 3 home runs and 36 RBI. Those numbers are bound to improve seeing as he has averaged 18 home runs over 162 game spans since he debuted in 2007.

Also, I think Butler is re-signable for the Mariners. If he spent these next two and a half months in this clubhouse with a motivated team, manager, and organization, he would see the M’s are on the up and up and it would be wise to join the convoy.

Do I think the Butler deal will happen? It’s still hard to say, especially since the Royals are in the AL Central hunt. Of the most available professional right-handed bats out there, I think he is the Mariners’ best bet, and he wouldn’t come with a very high prospect price tag either.  

Lots of noise flying back and forth. Who do you want to see the Mariners sign? Do you think a Butler or a Byrd or a Dayan Viciedo would be enough to solidify this lineup?

For all opinions, thoughts, and updates on the Mariners trade rumors and breaking news,Sodo Mojo has you covered.

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Tags: Billy Butler Marlon Byrd Seattle Mariners

  • lee cousins

    You make a good point about Byrd, of my choice he would be the least of my likes would prefer Butler, Vicideo, Willingham who else you got.

  • unclejesse40

    So what will Butler cost in prospects?

    • CharlieSpencer-Davis

      This is really tough to gage, because the Royals may be overvaluing him for his prior successes and his (relative) youth. I could see a deal getting done by sending some combination of a Franklin and someone like Erasmo Ramirez or some middling prospect in the farm. Though that is total speculation on my part, I am not too keen on determining what teams really want for their perceived talents.

      • JJ Allen Keller

        Would you move Franklin+ for Butler? I don’t think I would, especially when there has got to be a better player they could get for a Franklin package. His career numbers are nice, but he has been awful this year, and not great last year. And his only value is his offense. To be valuable as a DH, you need to mash. I don’t see him mashing anymore, especially not in Safeco. Even at his best, he is a 2-3 WAR guy. Now, looking more like a 1-2 win guy, if that.

  • Ian

    “who has underperformed this year and is slated for a solid second half.”

    LOL says who? This guy has had a power outage his entire career. His supposed breakout season has come and gone. This is a guy who has consistently fared far better at home in a park far more hitter friendly than Safeco. And now as a 28-year old, he is entirely confined to DHing. More “power” hitting corner players is one thing… but a fat lard who can’t even play in the field is another. We’d be lucky to get 10 homers out of this guy in a full season.

    • CharlieSpencer-Davis

      Over the course of a full season it’s not unreasonable to expect 14-18 homers from Butler. In 4587 plate appearances over his 8 year career he has hit .296/.361/.450, for an OPS of .811. If that’s not an upgrade in the 4-hole behind Cano, I don’t know what it is. But like everything else in baseball, it comes down to the cost for the value received. He would add value and wins to this team.

      • Bear Brinkman

        You haven’t watched him much have you? He weighs 240 pounds on a 6 foot one inch frame.He never hustles….he trots down to first on grounders. He has been thrown out at first from right field on a single. He can’t field, and now he has developed some bad plate discipline so his power is way down.I hope Seattle takes him….I’d take a hot dog vendor for him…


    Royals fan here.

    I can’t wait for the Royals to be rid of Belly Gutler. He is the slowest player on the base paths I have ever seen and in the field he is an utter abortion. He looks like he is standing in a bucket of mud out there. Thankfully, the Royals have barely let him near the diamond with a glove on in 3 seasons, now. He’s eating his way out of the game. And, he can’t get around as well on a good fastball any more as a result. In the FWIW department, he is on a pace to utterly smash Cal Ripken’s MLB career all time record for grounding into double plays. Ripken grounded into 350 in his career. Billy was on pace, before this season started, to ground into 425 (if he plays every day through age 38) but has slowed the pace down a little this season. He is the most one dimensional player in the history of the Royals franchise. And, now, he can’t even hit any more. Has one of the worst WARS (-.05) of any every day player in baseball this season. If he goes, I won’t miss him. You don’t win championships with players like this on your team.

    • Bear Brinkman

      Butler will not be a ballplayer at 38…in fact he’ll be lucky to be alive…