Billy Butler: Zack Greinke “didn’t want to be here”

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While Billy Butler told Matthew Leach of MLB.com that he had no ill will towards his former teammate Zack Greinke, he sounded downright relieved that the team wouldn’t have to begin the 2011 season with a distraction.

“There’s no surprise,” Butler said Monday. “This has been a controversy ever since Zack had that article that came out and he was wanting out. Whenever you do something like that, the organization has no choice but to trade you. I’m just happy that its behind us now, because if it would have kept lingering on any longer, I think it would have affected the team.”

“You don’t want somebody to be somewhere they don’t want to. That being said, Zack made it public that he didn’t want to be here anymore. As the Kansas City Royals, you don’t want that around. It’s not good for your team. I hope it works out for Zack in Milwaukee. I think we got some great pieces that came over.”

It’s nice to see Butler, who has essentially inherited the role of “face of the franchise,” come out and talk so bluntly about this issue. While we can debate about whether the Royals got enough in return for Greinke, it was pretty clear from Butler’s comments that, similar to the Johan Santana situation in early 2008, something had to be done before spring training.