New York Yankees Sign Billy Butler To Major League Contract

The New York Yankees have agreed to a major league deal with recently released first baseman and designated hitter Billy Butler, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. After he was released by the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, Butler could sign with any team for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum salary which MLB Trade Rumors noted is $50,000.

Butler, 30, signed a three-year, $30 million with the Athletics following the 2014 campaign. However, the once potent right-handed hitter regressed after leaving the Kansas City Royals, slashing a combined.258/.325/.394 in 236 games in Oakland. In 85 games before being released, “Country Breakfast” slashed.276/.331/.403 with four home runs and 31 runs batted in.

Butler’s time in Oakland was capped off with a clubhouse incident with now-former teammate Danny Valencia several weeks ago. Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Valencia was reportedly quizzed by an equipment manager about off-brand spikes in his locker. Told not to wear those spikes during games, Valencia said he only wears them before games. Butler, who has an endorsement deal with a different company, overheard the conversation and said Valencia was lying, adding that he does wear the off-brand spikes in games. Butler also allegedly told the rep that the company should drop its endorsement deal with Valencia.

Two teammates, who spoke to The Chronicle on the condition of anonymity, said Valencia approached Butler and told him to mind his own business. Butler responded by telling Valencia he can say whatever he wants because his “b**tc a** won’t do anything about it.” That’s when the confrontation turned physical and Valencia punched Butler in the temple. The altercation resulted in a concussion for Butler, who went on the seven-day concussion disabled list a few days later.

“I think it’s one of those things where I know I regret what I did and I think he regrets what he did,” Butler said of the dust-up via East Bay Times. “Because of what happened to me, it had to come out publicly, I didn’t want that to happen, and neither did he. By no means do I think his intentions were to give me a concussion. I think that’s fair to say.”

Both Valencia and Butler were issued fines as their future with the Athletics dwindled down.

During his eight-year run in Kansas City, Butler slashed an impressive.295/.359/.449 with 127 home runs and 628 RBI’s while making the American League All-Star team in 2012. The Yankees will hope that Butler can reprise his hitting from his Royals days as the team looks to continue its playoff push.

Currently 2.0 games back of the second AL Wild Card, the Yankees were dealt a tough break when highly-touted prospect Aaron Judge left Tuesday’s game with an oblique injury. An MRI on Wednesday revealed a Grade 2 oblique strain and the 6-foot-7, 275-pound outfielder was placed on the 15-day disabled list and is expected to miss the rest of the 2016 season. While Judge, the Yankees’ No. 4 ranked prospect by, started his career strong, hitting a home run in his first MLB at-bat, he slashed just.179/.263/.345 while striking out 42 times in 95 plate appearances. He did launch four home runs and drive in 10 runs in 27 games.

Losing Judge’s right-handed power hurt the Yankees, who were forced to bat light-hitting catcher Austin Romine against Clayton Kershaw in Wednesday’s series finale, a 2-0 loss, versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Outside of Gary Sanchez and Starlin Castro, the Yankees’ lineup is short on productive right-handed bats, so acquiring Butler on the cheap was a no-brainer.

As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports noted, the Yankees are set to face seven left-handed pitchers in their next 11 contests. Starting a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, the Yankees are set to face Eduardo Rodriguez, David Price, and Drew Pomeranz, all left-handed starters, in three of the four games at Fenway Park. Butler is expected to join the team in Boston on Thursday and DH against Rodriguez. The Yankees can free up a spot on the 40-man roster by moving either Nathan Eovaldi or Judge to the 60-day disabled list since neither player will return in 2016.

Since Butler is joining the Yankees after the August 31 waiver trade deadline, he is ineligible for the team’s postseason roster.

[Featured Image by Don Feria/Getty Images]

Share this article: New York Yankees Sign Billy Butler To Major League Contract
More from Inquisitr