Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail is reporting that the Royals and Blue Jays have discussed a trade involving first baseman-slash-DH Billy Butler. He clarifies that there has been no movement on a deal beyond the initial discussions, and adds that the Jays would receive prospects along with Butler in such a deal.
It’s no surprise that the Royals are making Butler available. He is entering what may be the final year of his contract, earning $8 million. The Royals have a club option worth $12.5 million, and Butler can tack on another $2 million based on performance incentives. Butler is only 27 years old and has a career .823 OPS so he will likely fetch a hefty contract once he hits the open market.
Dealing for Butler may first require the Jays to get rid of Adam Lind. Lind is 30 years old and will earn $7 million in 2014. His contract includes two club options for 2015 and ’16 worth $7.5 and $8 million, respectively. Lind had a bounce-back 2013 campaign after three seasons of mediocrity.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.