Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reports that the Yankees have signed DH Billy Butler to a major league contract. He is expected to fit into the lineup against left-handed pitching. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes that the Yankees will face left-handed starters in seven of their next 11 games.
The Yankees, who were shut out 2-0 by the Dodgers on Wednesday evening, find themselves only two games out of the second American League Wild Card slot, so adding Butler can give them the slight push they need. Butler uncharacteristically showed a reverse platoon split this season, meaning he hit same-handed pitching better than opposite-handed. However, over his career dating back to 2007, Butler has an .872 OPS against lefties and .766 against right-handers.
Butler, 30, was recently released by the Athletics after hitting .276/.331/.403 in 242 plate appearances. He was involved in a clubhouse altercation with teammate Danny Valencia that ultimately resulted in a concussion for Butler.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.