Mariners have “talked to the Royals” about Billy Butler

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Last week the Mariners were said to be interested in Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd and now their search for a right-handed hitter apparently includes Royals designated hitter Billy Butler.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Mariners have “talked to the Royals about Butler,” who has struggled this season by posting career-lows in batting average (.273) and slugging percentage (.355) while managing just three home runs in 379 plate appearances.

Butler is still just 28 years old and has a lengthy track record of good hitting, although he never quite took the next step from very good young hitter to star-caliber hitter. He posted an OPS between .820 and .885 each season from 2009 to 2012, and then it dropped to .787 last year before plummeting to .679 this season.

He’s making $8 million this season with a $12.5 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2015, and based on his production for the past season-and-a-half he wouldn’t be worth that money next year. It’s also worth noting that the Royals have reportedly targeted Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes as a potential trade target, which might lend credence to Butler being available.

Seattle has used 13 different players in the DH spot through 95 games, with Corey Hart leading the way with 42 starts. And they’ve combined to hit .197 with eight homers and a .567 OPS, so even if Butler doesn’t turn things around in the second half he’d still provide a big upgrade.

World Series Game 1 lineups

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The World Series kicks off Tuesday night at Fenway Park in Boston between the Dodgers and Red Sox. The Dodgers are aiming to take home their first championship since 1988 while the Red Sox haven’t won it all since 2013, a long and arduous five years. Here are the Game 1 lineups along with each player’s postseason stats.

Dodgers

2B Brian Dozier (R)
3B Justin Turner (R)
1B David Freese (R)
SS Manny Machado (R)
LF Chris Taylor (R)
DH Matt Kemp (R)
CF Enrique Hernández (R)
RF Yasiel Puig (R)
C Austin Barnes (R)

SP Clayton Kershaw (LHP)

Red Sox

RF Mookie Betts (R)
LF Andrew Benintendi (L)
1B Steve Pearce (R)
DH J.D. Martinez (R)
SS Xander Bogaerts (R)
3B Rafael Devers (L)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
C Sandy León (S)
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (L)

SP Chris Sale (LHP)

No surprises here. Both teams loaded their lineups with right-handed hitters against the lefty starters. There won’t be any trickery, either, like what Brewers manager Craig Counsell tried to pull in the NLCS against the Dodgers, starting lefty Wade Miley and pulling him after one batter in favor of right-hander Brandon Woodruff. Both teams expect their respective starters to go deep into Game 1.