Billy Butler wins the 2012 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award

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I had forgotten that this was a thing. But it is a thing. And it’s now Billy Butler’s thing:

Major League Baseball announced today that Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals has been voted the winner of the 2012 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.  Butler received 80 first-place votes out of 84 ballots cast to garner the honor for the first time in his six-year career.

As for the thing:

Now in its 38th season, the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award was renamed by Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig in a September 2004 ceremony at Safeco Field in honor of the retiring Edgar Martinez.  Ballots are cast by club beat writers, broadcasters and A.L. public relations departments with nominees including all players with a minimum of 100 at-bats as a DH.

On the year Country Breakfast — which is also a thing you may have forgotten — hit .313./.373/.510 with 29 homers and 107 RBI.

Braves expected to lose as many as 12 prospects as a result of international signing violations

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UPDATE: Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Braves are expected to lose as many as 12 players as a result of the sanctions, plus they’ll suffer significant restrictions on international signings for the next four years, plus they will lose a draft pick in next year’s draft.

2:46PM: Major League Baseball is expected to announce its sanctions against the Atlanta Braves for their international signing violations as early as this afternoon. Earlier today a handful of reports came out suggesting what at least part of those penalties will entail. Think multiple prospects signed in the last year or two.

Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that shortstop Kevin Maitan, catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, second baseman Yunior Severino and righthander Juan Contreras — the Braves top four international signees of 2016 — will all become restricted free agents, but it is not clear what the restrictions will be. Maitan, it should be noted, was the number one ranked international prospect in all of baseball last year. Severino was the eighth-ranked, Gutierrez the 15th-ranked and Conrearas the 41st-ranked.

In addition to losing prospects, there will likewise be financial penalties and, most likely, future signing restrictions. The severity of these penalties suggest that, whatever the specifics of the violations MLB has found to have been committed by the Braves, they are unprecedented in scope and severity.