Billy Butler leaving KC, signs 3-year contract with Oakland Athletics

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Billy Butler stands at second base after doubling in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fan favorite Billy Butler is packing his bags for the Bay Area after agreeing to a three-year contract with the Oakland Athletics. The deal was reported Tuesday night by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, and the Athletics confirmed it had acquired Butler on Wednesday afternoon.

Butler became a free agent after the 2014 season when the Royals paid him a buyout of $1 million instead of exercising a one-year, $12.5 million contract option. He was the Royals’ first pick in the 2004 draft and spent all eight of his professional seasons in Kansas City, helping the Royals reach the World Series in 2014.

Primarily a designated hitter, Butler enjoyed his best season at the plate in 2012 when he was awarded a Silver Slugger award, hitting for a .313 average with 29 home runs and 107 RBI. He was also named an All-Star in 2012 when the All-Star Game was played at Kauffman Stadium.

In 2014 he struggled to hit for average and power, but his play seemed to benefit when he had to fill in for an injured Eric Hosmer at first base from late July through August. He elevated his average from .264 up to .282 for a time while he was playing in the field, and collected 21 of his 66 RBI. He finished the regular season with a .271 average, but only hit nine home runs.

His power numbers were still absent in the playoffs, he only managed three extra base hits in 49 plate appearances. However, he did come up with some timely hits, including two RBI singles in the American League Wild Card Game win against the Athletics. He also had one of the more memorable moments in the playoffs when he unsuspectingly stole second base in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, his first stolen base since the 2012 season.

Known by fans as “Country Breakfast”, Butler made headlines off the field for his Hit It A Ton program that raised food for the Bishop Sullivan Center. During the 2013 season, Zarda Bar-B-Q released a barbecue sauce in his honor that benefited the center.

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