It was reported yesterday that the Jays and Royals had discussed a deal involving Billy Butler, but that those talks weren't ever really all that serious. That didn't stop the entire comment section at MLBTR from losing their minds, assuming that it was Bautista for Butler or bust.
Had a quick thought about that one last night, and struggled to make a whole hell of a lot of sense out of it. The rational human being in me thinks that there are two caveats to this deal ever having any legs:
- Butler would, of course, slot in as a 1B/DH, of which the Jays already have two. The Jays aren't going to trade for Butler, pay him $8MM, and ask him to platoon with Lind. I doubt a team that's trying to win is going to trade Edwin Encarnacion, so the odd man out would be Adam Lind. Lind has been at least looked at by the Pirates as an option at first, so my best guess is that these talks, if they happened, were a sort of contingency plan were anything to happen with Lind.
- The way it's worded, I'm guessing that they were talking about a deal revolving around Colby Rasmus going to KC, since it was apparently Butler and prospects coming our way. Rasmus is the only position player that makes sense, as far as a trade candidate is concerned, in terms of both actually getting traded, as well as getting Butler and prospects in return. It's not that nobody else makes sense for a trade, or that nobody else would fetch Butler-plus, it's just that I don't really see a starting pitcher going anywhere at all, nor would a bullpen arm get Butler-plus, and Rasmus is the only real position player trade candidate good enough to get that return. Beyond that, Rasmus' name has come up already this winter thanks to upcoming free agency.
If this was even a thing that happened, I'm not surprised that it fizzled quickly. A lot of moving parts, and the fact that there would have apparently been prospects coming back to Toronto is sort of making this smell funny.
The Jays want to upgrade starting pitching and 2B, not the 1B/DH spot. The odd thing is that they are actually running sort of thin in the outfield. Bautista isn't going to play RF everyday forever, especially given the amount of time he's missed in the last two years. Melky Cabrera is sort of a wild card, in that he is coming off a bad year, just had a tumor removed from his back, and is a free agent after the season. Rasmus has one final year of control left before hitting free agency as well, and put up some numbers that weren't necessarily sustainable last year. Anthony Gose, Kevin Pillar and Moises Sierra don't really look like longterm answers to me, at least not yet. There's depth in the outfield, but I don't really see a whole lot of impact coming up the pipeline, and certainly don't see an option for CF everyday that doesn't create a big hole in CF where Rasmus was-- might want to keep Rasmus around instead of getting another 1B/DH type.
All things considered, the real catalyst in a deal involving Butler is a Lind-to-Pittsburgh trade going down. AA had apparently asked for Neil Walker, to which Pittsburgh rightly balked. It really looks to me as if the lineup is going to be the same as it was last year, with the exception of catcher and probably 2B. Get the Walker move done, and we can talk about upgrading Lind. Otherwise, moving anything to get Butler just makes holes.