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Butler in left, Sanders on bench
Posted by Bret Cohen at 5/2/2007 3:04:00 PM
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The Royals have just called up phenom Billy Butler who will take over as their starting left fielder, according to the Kansas City Star. Butler, a former first round pick, was tearing up Triple-A, batting .337/.445/.584 with six home runs, 23 RBI and an 18:12 BB:K ratio in 89 at-bats.

As the impetus for the move, Dayton more said to the Star: "We're 8-18, and we need to get some offense in here. ... We believe Billy can add a spark and give us some punch in the lineup right now." Certainly, Butler has the bat to contribute at the major league level (his glove is another issue). But what's the effect of his call-up? David DeJesus and Mark Teahen are cemented in center and right field, respectively, so Reggie Sanders seems to be the one who will lose most of the playing time, in left field. I don't know how the Royals will "get more offense" by substituting Butler for Sanders, who is batting .348/.434/.587 this season with two homers in 46 at-bats. Yes, Sanders did most of his damage in his first 10 games (.419 (13-for-31) with both homers and four of his five doubles) as opposed to his last five (3-for-15, one extra-base hit). However, it seems to me that it would behoove the Royals to keep one of their best bats from the early going (maybe DeJesus or John Buck could lay a claim as well) in the lineup. Perhaps Moore just wants to move forward with youth, and Butler might hit better than Sanders in the long run, but I don't see the obvious benefit here.

In other Royals news, with Ryan Shealy on the DL with a hamstring injury, Mike Sweeney will move to first base against lefties (left-hander Ross Gload will start against righties), so I assume Sanders will take over at DH against southpaws. If the Royals truly wanted to maximize their offense, they'd start Sweeney, Sanders, and Butler at first base, DH, and left field (with Sanders and Butler alternating at DH and left field) with Shealy out. Gload, while putting up nice numbers last year, isn't the offensive threat of the other three. But you need to keep left-handed bats in the lineup right?


Comments....

The Royals should get rid of Sweeney's carcass, and install Butler as their DH - so they don't have to deal with his fielding problems.
Posted by cliss at 5/2/2007 3:36:00 PM
 
That would seem to be the plan after Sweeney's contract expires this season. Another follow-up, though: how smart is it to install a 21-year-old (or 22 next year) as your full-time DH this early in his career? Hafner became a full-time DH first when he was 27; I just wonder how good it would be for Butler's development.
Posted by bscwik at 5/2/2007 5:45:00 PM
 
If sweeney isn't dealt this year, that royals gm should be fired....I thought all the young royals should of been in the lineup at the start of the season.....sanders and sweeney???? What they thought there were going to actually make a run for the playoffs??????.........lmao
Posted by Zenguerrilla at 5/2/2007 8:33:00 PM
 
Sweeney and Sanders were both signed through 2007 (Sweeney on a 5-year deal, Sanders on a 2-year deal), and their salaries for this season are $11 million and $5 million, respectively. No one was going to take on Sweeney's contract this year, and if he doesn't pick up the production early this season, they might not be able to get anything for him at the deadline. They almost dealt Sanders to the Orioles in spring training, and eat a chunk of the salary, but Baltimore couldn't give him regular playing time. These were both Allard Baird signings, so you can't really place blame on Dayton Moore. Once Sweeney's $11 mil is off the books, as well as Sanders' $5 mil and some others, they'll be able to throw some cash at free agents to compliment the young core of DeJesus, Teahen, Butler, Gordon, Greinke, Shealy, et. al.... maybe they'll throw another $11 mil at Freddy Garcia or Jason Jennings.
Posted by bscwik at 5/3/2007 9:25:00 AM
 
One of the great fantasy questions this year .. why does Shealy suck so much this year? It can't be the hamstring injury, that's too recent.
Posted by schoenke at 5/3/2007 1:24:00 PM
 
Mike Sweeney is also the face of the franchise for what it's worth, so not sure dealing him for scraps would go over too well there.
Posted by vtadave at 5/3/2007 2:01:00 PM
 

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