Report: Mariners, Orioles targeting Billy Butler

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Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star says both the Mariners and Orioles are showing strong interest in Royals designated hitter Billy Butler.

Dutton sees the Mariners as the more likely trade partner, what with their stockpile of arms that includes Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton.

The Orioles also have some arms to deal from, such as Zach Britton and Chris Tillman, but their group isn’t quite as attractive as Seattle’s.

Most believe that the Royals will trade for a starter, probably using either Butler or top prospect Wil Myers. It’s doubtful that they’ll part with both.

If the Mariners acquired Butler, it’d seem to alter the plan that currently calls for Jesus Montero to get most of his time at DH next year. Montero could instead split time between catcher and first base and eventually become the regular first baseman if Justin Smoak fails to take a step forward.

Rays moving spring camp due to damage caused by hurricane

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays are relocating their spring base for 2023 due to extensive damage to team training facilities caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Rays have trained since 2009 in Port Charlotte, Florida, about 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, and intend to explore several options before making a decision on where to hold spring training and play Grapefruit League games when camp opens.

The team and Charlotte County released a joint statement Thursday, saying damage to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte can’t be repaired in time to host games this winter.

“Charlotte County supports the Rays efforts to secure alternative accommodations for 2023 spring training,” the statement said.

“We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts,” the statement added. “The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”