A’s in “serious talks” with free agent Billy Butler

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As first first reported by Cover Those Bases and then confirmed by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the A’s are in “serious talks” with free agent Billy Butler. Word is the two sides are “close” to an agreement.

There was a report last week that Butler had a three-year, $30 million offer on the table, and MLB.com’s Phil Rogers wrote that it was “widely believed” to be from the Orioles. But it appears as though the 28-year-old designated hitter is headed to Oakland.

Butler batted just .271/.323/.379 with nine home runs and 66 RBI in 151 games this past season for the Royals and Kansas City’s front office then declined a $12.5 million club option on him in early November. But he has been a very productive hitter in the past, managing a stellar .306/.371/.483 slash line between 2009-2012.

The Athletics badly need a jolt of offense for 2015 and Butler is a decent bounceback candidate.

Tigers sign Austin Romine to one-year, $4.1 million deal

Austin Romine
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The Tigers and free agent catcher Austin Romine have agreed to a one-year contract, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports. WFAN’s Sweeny Murti specifies that the deal is for $4.1 million.

Romine, 31, has been in the league for eight seasons, all with the Yankees. Across 1,116 trips to the plate, he has hit .239/.281/.366. However, Romine is well-regarded for his defense and game-calling abilities.

Romine will slot in as the full-time catcher for the rebuilding Tigers. They’ll have Jake Rogers and Grayson Greiner behind him.