Butler will make $3 million this year, $8 million in 2012, 2013 and 2014, then possibly $12.5 million on a club option for 2015. He was also given a $2 million signing bonus and will take a $1 million buyout if that 2015 option is not picked up.
It’s a well-crafted deal. Instead of offering Butler a contract that gets richer and richer after every passing arbitration season, the Royals are going to essentially pay him a flat rate from 2012-2014. That means a larger than normal payout next year, but it will help Kansas City stay flexible with their payroll throughout the course of the contract.
The Reds are probably wishing they had worked out a similar pact with Joey Votto, who was inked to a three-year, $38 million contract extension last week. He’ll be making $17 million in his final season under the new deal, which will probably hamstring the Cincinnati front office from adding any pieces in the winter of 2012-2013. Of course, Votto could basically push for whatever kind of pact he desired after winning National League MVP honors in 2010 with a dazzling 1.024 OPS.
Butler still has some work to do. He posted a strong .318/.388/.469 batting line in 2010, but he finished with just 15 home runs and 78 RBI. The hope is that his power numbers will take a big leap forward this year.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.