Royals decline Butler’s ’15 contract; two sides will continue to talk

The Royals will continue to explore a discounted contract for Billy Butler.

John Rieger/John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As expected, the Royals declined the 2015 club option on designated hitter Billy Butler’s contract.

The 2015 option was for $12.5 million. The buyout on the contract was at $1 million.

Sources have indicated that the Royals will continue to explore a discounted contract for Butler.

Butler, who will be a free agent for the first time in his career, had a career-low slash line of .273/.323/.379 with a .702 OPS. He also had a career-low nine homers and 66 RBI.

Butler has indicated several times he would be favorable toward accepting a discounted contract to stay with the team.

"But I don’t know what a discounted deal would be because I don’t know what my value is right now," Butler said in a conference call Saturday. "That’s what you have agents for."

But Butler reiterated that he definitely wants to remain a Royal.

"I’m definitely a Royal at heart," he said. "Unfortunately, by declining the option, other teams are in play now. I hope another team doesn’t blow me out of the water with an offer.

"… There’s a lot of factors involved (for the Royals) and the financial decisions being a small-market team. But I hope it works out that I can return."

Butler said he believes his appeal on the open market, though, won’t be restricted to American League teams that employ the DH.

"I think I proved in August (when Butler played numerous games in the field) that first base is an option," Butler said. 

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.