Butler unconcerned with revival of trade rumors
DH expects Royals brass would alert him if chatter had serious backing
KANSAS CITY -- There's been a lot of trade talk about Billy Butler going around. So what do you imagine would happen if Butler sat down with a bunch of reporters? Yep, they wanted to talk trade.
Butler did just that Friday at Kauffman Stadium. He came from his Arizona home to Kansas City to check in with the club, take care of some personal business and watch the Chiefs play football on Sunday. So while he was at it, he agreed to meet the press at the Diamond Club.
So what about those trade rumors?
"I've been around long enough now. Every year I've been rumored, ever since I've been in big leagues and that's coming up on quite awhile now and I'm still a Kansas City Royal so you kind of take it with a grain of salt. I never got a call from Dayton [Moore, general manager] so I know nothing was serious," Butler said.
"He'd have let me know what's going on. There's a lot of speculation, especially at the Winter Meetings. That's what it's all about. That's what they thrive on. That's the reason why everybody's in one spot. A lot of moves are made there, but there's also a lot more moves talked about that aren't made."
Does Butler read about those reports?
"I'm more worried about my fantasy football team than checking the Royals' site," he said.
"Things pop up. My wife and my dad and everybody's got alerts on what the Royals are doing, so in a roundabout way -- not firsthand knowing -- I know what's going on," Butler added.
The Butler trade talk burned hottest when the Royals were in serious competition to sign free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. The thought was that Beltran likely would be the designated hitter in 50 or 60 games and because that was Butler's full-time job, the Royals wouldn't be keen on paying him $8 million to be a part-time player.
But while Butler was in Kansas City on Friday, Beltran was being introduced at a New York news conference to trumpet his signing a three-year, $45 million deal with the Yankees.
So the Butler trade rumors have tapered off just as they did last winter.
"Last year there was speculation with Seattle and certain things. I got a call from Ned [Yost, manager] and I got a call from Dayton saying this is not coming from us," Butler said.
Butler was a hot topic after the 2012 season when he was an All-Star and the American League's top DH and had 29 home runs, 107 RBIs and a .313 average. His numbers slipped to 15, 82 and .289 this year.
"Yeah, of course, you're being talked about, but it's a good thing because you had a great year," he said. "So they just called to tell me that you're not going anywhere and there are things that are going to be said that you can't control. They can only control what comes out of their mouth and rumors are rumors. There's a ton of them, rumors aren't going to stop."
There have been no such calls this year, though.
"They don't have to rewarn me again," Butler said.
Butler doesn't seem to mind the rumors.
"It's always when people stop talking about you that you need to worry," he said. "It hasn't happened yet, so I must be all right."
Butler is coming up on his eighth year with Kansas City and he's spent his entire 10-year pro career in the Royals' organization. He's not ready to go anywhere else.
"I'd hate to get to the point where we're on the verge of making the playoffs and winning the American League Central and then I'm not here anymore because I've put in 10 years of building to this point," he said. "I'd like to stay here and enjoy it."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.