Royals decline option on Billy Butler

The Royals declined their $12.5 million option on designated hitter Billy Butler on Saturday, three days after losing Game 7 of the World Series to the Giants. Kansas City will owe Butler a $1 buyout but still can try to negotiate a new contract with him.

Butler, the Royals’ longest-tenured player, is now a free agent for the first time. The 14th overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Butler debuted with Kansas City in ‘07 and has spent the past eight seasons with the club. He’s a career .295 hitter with a .359 on-base percentage and .449 slugging percentage.

At age 28 last season, Butler set career-lows in all three categories, hitting .271/.323/.379, with nine home runs and 66 RBIs while playing 108 games at DH and 37 at first base. He went 11-for-42 (.262) with three doubles and eight RBIs during the Royals’ first playoff run since 1985, as they surged to within one win of a championship.

— Andrew Simon

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