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.
Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.
Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.
Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.
In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”