Billy Butler and Free Agent Targets For The Seattle Mariners


Will there be new faces under Seattle Mariners hats and helmets in 2015? Most say yes, though the question remains: who will these new players be?

Bob Dutton explored some of the Mariners free agent options for the Tacoma News Tribune today.

He lists 10 names that the Mariners have already been linked to:

1. Billy Butler, DH, following Kansas City’s decline of his $12.5 million option for 2015.

2. Melky Cabrera, OF/DH

3. Yoenis Cespedes, OF, under contract through 2015 with the Boston Red Sox.

4. Nelson Cruz, OF

5. Michael Cuddyer, OF/DH

6. Torii Hunter, OF

7. Matt Kemp, OF, under contract with the Dodgers

8. Victor Martinez, DH

9. Alex Rios, OF

10. Yasmani Tomas, international free agent from Cuba

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Over the course of the next few weeks, Sodo Mojo will explore each of these potential targets along with any others that may materialize before the offseason is over. For this initial post, let’s talk about DH Billy Butler of the AL Champion Kansas City Royals.

Buter, as of yesterday, is a free agent for the first time in his 8-year career. The 28-year old designated hitter has been linked to the Mariners in trade talks for a few seasons now, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he gets targeted by the Mariners in free agency as well.

In 151 games with the Royals this season, Butler batted .271/.323/.379 with 9 home runs, 66 RBI, 32 doubles, 41 walks, and 96 strikeouts. His 9 home runs this season were his fewest since his 92-game rookie campaign back in 2007. His WAR was a meager -0.3 this season, and it is hard to determine what sort of impact he could have on the M’s roster.

I say this reluctantly, but anyone who plays DH in 2015 for the Mariners will do better than the 2014 platoon. But that’s not saying much. Butler would likely bat between Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, which would likely boost the number of hittable pitches he would see.

But without any defensive value, it’s hard to condone spending a lot of money on someone like Billy Butler. Victor Martinez is also on the list, but his power and OBP transcend that of the average designated hitter.

If the Mariners were to sign Billy Butler, I wouldn’t want to see anything more than 2-years/$18 million, and that’s about it.

He would certainly improve the Mariners roster, but I would much rather see a more versatile player get brought in: someone with the same quality bat but who can play the field competently as well.

What do you think? Should the Mariners sign Billy Butler this offseason?