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Butler Signs Extension

Billy Butler signed a four-year, $30 million contract extension with the Royals yesterday. The deal includes an option for a fifth year and a $1 million buyout if the team option is not exercised. The breakdown of the deal is as follows:

$2 million signing bonus
2011: $3 million salary
2012, 2013, 2014: $8 million salary
2015: $12.5 million option

This is an absolute steal for the Royals. When this deal was first announced yesterday, I agreed with Rany that it’d probably be structured in the same way that many deals are that buy out a year or two of free agency from a player. I figured his salary would escalate each year, but this, to me, works better. If all goes right with the Royals, then some other players will be beginning to become expensive and Butler’s $8 million salary will in no way stop the Royals from extending their up and coming players or going out to sign a free agent that could be that final piece.

I’ve written about the possibilities of Billy Butler’s extension a couple of times in the offseason, here and here. Because of that, I’m not going to delve too deep into what this means for the franchise or what I thought would have been fair, but this is the third significant player that Dayton Moore has extended since becoming GM of the team. It’s becoming more and more difficult to say things about how the Royals never keep their talent because they can’t afford it. Yes, some of the players coming through the system will need to be traded after their fourth year or just not re-signed when they reach free agency, but that’s true for every team other than the handful of big market teams who can do pretty much whatever they want payroll wise. For a long time, nobody got locked up except for Mike Sweeney, but that mindset has changed around the organization and city.

This has probably been Dayton Moore’s best offseason since coming to Kansas City, which is sort of damning with faint praise, but it’s a fact that still remains. He handled the Greinke trade in a way that was about as good as you could expect considering Greinke vetoed a couple of deals that may have been better. I’m not crazy about either the Cabrera signing or the Francouer signing, but they were so cheap that it’s hard to argue too much about it. When they’re playing over better players, that tune may change, but for now, signing guys who once showed tons of promise for short-term, low money deals is never a bad idea as long as they’re not stunting progress for players who have brighter futures. The DeJesus trade wasn’t popular among fans, but I find it difficult to get too terribly upset over a deal involving a guy who was incredibly unlikely to be a Royal in 2012. I obviously like DeJesus better than Mazzaro, but I might like five years of Mazzaro better than one year of DeJesus, and I love DeJesus.

So now the Royals have their best hitter locked up through 2015 if they so choose. They have their closer locked up through 2014 if they so choose and the earliest this young talent coming through the system can reach free agency is after the 2016 season. I’ve been very, very critical of the Royals and Dayton Moore in particular, but I’m a huge fan of what I’ve seen this offseason from him. Because of my age, I haven’t had a chance to experience a whole lot of winning baseball in Kansas City throughout my lifetime. I can’t remember being this excited about the team since I was about five years old and predicting big things for Danny “Tarbatull” on home video. They may lose 100 games in 2011, but at least it’ll be entertaining.


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