Mariners have “talked to the Royals” about Billy Butler

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Last week the Mariners were said to be interested in Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd and now their search for a right-handed hitter apparently includes Royals designated hitter Billy Butler.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Mariners have “talked to the Royals about Butler,” who has struggled this season by posting career-lows in batting average (.273) and slugging percentage (.355) while managing just three home runs in 379 plate appearances.

Butler is still just 28 years old and has a lengthy track record of good hitting, although he never quite took the next step from very good young hitter to star-caliber hitter. He posted an OPS between .820 and .885 each season from 2009 to 2012, and then it dropped to .787 last year before plummeting to .679 this season.

He’s making $8 million this season with a $12.5 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2015, and based on his production for the past season-and-a-half he wouldn’t be worth that money next year. It’s also worth noting that the Royals have reportedly targeted Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes as a potential trade target, which might lend credence to Butler being available.

Seattle has used 13 different players in the DH spot through 95 games, with Corey Hart leading the way with 42 starts. And they’ve combined to hit .197 with eight homers and a .567 OPS, so even if Butler doesn’t turn things around in the second half he’d still provide a big upgrade.

Report: Madison Bumgarner’s dirt bike accident could impact future contract negotiations

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Giants ace Madison Bumgarner was involved in a dirt bike accident on an off-day last week. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks with bruised ribs and a sprained left shoulder.

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that Bumgarner’s accident could impact contract negotiations going forward. However, he does note that Bumgarner’s situation differs from Jeff Kent’s situation — Kent injured himself riding a motorcycle then lied about it to the team — because he’s been truthful and remorseful.

Bumgarner has two club options for the next two seasons at $12 million apiece which, given how he’s pitched since coming up to the big leagues, pays him significantly below market value. The two sides will come together at some point to discuss a contract extension that would keep the lefty in San Francisco beyond 2019. The Giants aren’t likely to attempt to recoup money as a result of Bumgarner’s injuries — Shea cites Section 5(b) of the Uniform Player Contract — because it might motivate him to test free agency and it would likely leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths. But the uncertainty about the effect Bumgarner’s injuries might mean the Giants are less willing to commit a large amount of money or less willing to go beyond a certain number of years to keep him around for the foreseeable future.

Steve Delabar among three suspended after testing positive

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Three players were suspended on Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. They are: Indians pitcher Steve Delabar, Mariners pitcher Jonathan Aro, and free agent pitcher Jeffry Hernandez. Aro got a 50-game suspension while the other two were handed 80-game suspensions.

Delabar, 33, hasn’t pitched yet this season after signing a minor league deal with the Indians back in January. He spent last year with the Reds as well as the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. The right-hander has struggled over the last few seasons.

Aro, 26, also hasn’t appeared yet this season in the minors. He’s worked mostly in relief. The right-hander appeared briefly in the majors with the Mariners last season and logged 10 1/3 innings in the show with the Red Sox in 2015. Aro went to the Mariners along with Wade Miley in the trade that brought the Red Sox Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.

Hernandez, 22, is a free agent and his suspension will be effective if and when he signs with a new team.