Billy Butler has been mentioned in multiple trade rumors recently, in part because he’s played poorly enough this season that picking up next year’s $12.5 million team option no longer seems like a no-brainer.
Today the 28-year-old designated hitter told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star that he doesn’t want to be traded and he really hopes the Royals exercise that 2015 option to keep him around beyond this season.
Butler was once among the best young hitters in baseball, but his power never really developed past the 20-homer range. He suggested that the Royals should overlook his poor first half and consider his more impressive track record, but the problem is that his OPS has gone from .882 in 2012 to .787 in 2013 to .679 this year. For a guy with zero defensive value that simply doesn’t cut it, which is why the Royals are apparently open to trading him even if the likely return isn’t anything special.
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.