Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail is reporting that the Royals and Blue Jays have discussed a trade involving first baseman-slash-DH Billy Butler. He clarifies that there has been no movement on a deal beyond the initial discussions, and adds that the Jays would receive prospects along with Butler in such a deal.
It’s no surprise that the Royals are making Butler available. He is entering what may be the final year of his contract, earning $8 million. The Royals have a club option worth $12.5 million, and Butler can tack on another $2 million based on performance incentives. Butler is only 27 years old and has a career .823 OPS so he will likely fetch a hefty contract once he hits the open market.
Dealing for Butler may first require the Jays to get rid of Adam Lind. Lind is 30 years old and will earn $7 million in 2014. His contract includes two club options for 2015 and ’16 worth $7.5 and $8 million, respectively. Lind had a bounce-back 2013 campaign after three seasons of mediocrity.
Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.
Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.
Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.