Billy Butler is gone, so the Royals are searching for a new designated hitter

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Now that Billy Butler is headed to Oakland for a three-year, $30 million contract the Royals are looking for a replacement at designated hitter after he filled the role for the past eight seasons.

Replacing his 2014 production won’t be all that tough, as Butler set career-lows basically across the board by hitting just .271 with nine homers and a .702 OPS in 151 games. However, replacing his 2007-2013 production–which includes a .298 batting average and .823 OPS–will be a lot tougher.

Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals “have engaged in discussions” with free agents Michael Morse and Torii Hunter, and have also “pondered trading for” guys like Evan Gattis of the Braves and Ryan Howard of the Phillies.

Butler earned $8 million in 2014 and the Royals made him a free agent by declining his $12.5 million option for 2015. As a team Kansas City ranked ninth in the American League in scoring despite the league’s most stolen bases and second-highest batting average.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.