Butler talks about joining A’s on three-year deal
More to come on MLB.com, but here’s Billy Butler addressing a few topics on his first conference call with reporters after agreeing to a three-year, $30 million deal with the A’s:
Why the A’s?
This is definitely a situation I’ve never been in before. I’ve been with one organization for the last 10 years. There’s a lot of mixed emotions there, coming off the World Series. It’s a tough situation to leave, but from day one of free agency, Billy [Beane] was in contact with my agent showing his interest. I’m a very loyal guy, and him showing that kind of interest in me and expressing his expectations of what I can accomplish and his needs for what my role would be in Oakland, it hit me where it mattered most. He came to me first. I’m a very loyal man, and that kind of stuff goes far with me. I talked to Bob Melvin as well. I just have a good feeling with the group of guys that they have there and have really respected it from the other side for the last few years.
It shows the type of talent, the type of teams they’ve built. I’m happy to be a part of that, and hopefully I can contribute to that and take it to the next level where we can go deeper.
On splitting time between DH and first base:
I’ve always worked real hard at first. Eric Hosmer is obviously a Gold Glover and I played behind him and he obviously deserves to play first. I’m very capable of it. I played well in August. The team played really well. It really sparked what we were doing in Kansas City. I’m not saying it’s the reason why it happened, but it really kind of sparked my offense. Sometimes you just need a change to get your mind off hitting. It kind of makes you go out there and relax. It’s a lot of pressure on you when you’re DH’ing every day and you know you only have four chances a day to help the team, and when you don’t have a good day offensively, you realize you didn’t contribute much. That kind of stuff affects you mentally. Having the ability to go out there gives you that change of mentality that keeps you going. I know I can play first and contribute on a championship level there. I’ve worked really hard to do that, and I’m looking forward to having that opportunity with the A’s.
On his dip in numbers this year:
If I had an explanation for exactly why the power dropped off, I’d fix it right now. I think if you play the game long enough and look at all of the good hitters, they have down years. I believe that’s all it was. I believe I had a little bit of a middle-approach problem at the plate, and at that level you can’t do those type of things and expect to achieve. Granted, I hit .270 and nobody would say that’s a bad year for anybody’s standards, but the numbers I put up the rest of my career would prove that, wow, that’s not up to his par. I take pride in that, and I take pride in getting back to where I was. I’m 28 years old. I’m not on the other side of my career. It was just a year a lot of things didn’t go right for me, just mentally and approach-wise, and I’m going to do everything I can this offseason to get back to where I was and contribute at a high level for the A’s in the middle of the lineup. That’s my role, and I’m going to have the ability to play first base but that’s not why I’m in an Oakland A uniform. I’m in an Oakland A uniform because of my ability to be an impact bat in the middle of the lineup, and that’s what my job is, to drive in runs and be that anchor in the lineup.