The Yankees have reportedly agreed to a deal with DH Billy Butler
By Brendan Kuty
Here’s what it means:
NEED HELP VS. LEFTIES: On Wednesday, the Yankees started backup catcherAustin Romine at designated hitter against Dodgers lefty ace Clayton Kershaw. Romine has shown he’s a fine hitter. But he’s not what the Yankees envision out of the DH spot against lefties. The Yankees are also without Aaron Hicks (hamstring) until at least the Rays and Aaron Judge (oblique) for the rest of 2016 — two bats that would help combat southpaws from the right side (Hicks switch hits).
NEW DH: With the Yankees expecting to see seven left-handed starters on their upcoming 11-game trip, Butler will be expected to jump right in. Butler has a career .299 batting average and .872 OPS against lefties. He hit just .262 with a .685 OPS against them n 103 at-bats this years, though, before the A’s released him.
EASY DECISION: Adding Butler makes sense. With rosters expanded to 40 players, the Yankees can shift one of their many injured (Chad Green comes to mind) to the 60-day disabled list and open a spot for Butler. He’s also only owed the prorated major league minimum as Oakland still owes him the $10 million left of his deal.
SHORT TERM: Hard to see Butler sticking with the Yankees beyond this season. They like to rotate the DH spot around. Butler has played just 22 games at first base this year.
SEPTEMBER ONLY: Since the Yankees signed Butler after the Aug. 31 waiver deadline, he can’t be added to their postseason roster. His job is just to help get them there, presumably starting Thursday in Boston.
RECENTLY PRODUCTIVE: Sure, the A’s cut Butler. But he’s just a season removed from hitting 15 homers in 151 games. He was an All-Star in 2012 with the Royals.