Royals designated hitter Billy Butler hopes it’s going to be a long year. But not in the way you might expect.
In his previous six years, when the Royals’ season has ended in late September or early October, Butler has used October as a month of rest.
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“I start working out right about the beginning of November,” Butler said last month at FanFest. “Hopefully, I can come home from the season and go right into it.”
That, of course, would mean the Royals had made the playoffs.
Judging by the predictions made by preseason publications such as The Sporting News (second place), Lindy’s Sports (third place) and Athlon Sports (third place), that seems unlikely.
At the very least, shouldn’t the Royals be playing meaningful games in September?
“Absolutely,” Butler said. “I think everybody on this team, if they’re not stoked to do that, then they’re doing a disservice to the team. We have a roster built now that I feel has what it takes. Now, you have to catch some breaks along the way, we all know that in baseball, but we feel like we for sure have the talent to win a lot of games.”
Butler’s bright outlook was based in part on the new-look Royals’ rotation. He was thrilled with the trade that brought James Shields and Wade Davis for four prospects, including the highly touted Wil Myers.
“For one, we never had the depth to make the blockbuster trade of the winter,” Butler said. “In years past, we didn’t have this much talent. That’s what you have to do. Not every prospect you have can play on the team. They have to be packaged in a deal with major-league team at the time.
“This is the first time since I’ve been in the organization that we’ve made a trade to make the big-league team better. Usually we’re trying to add prospects, but we made trades just to show that we’re ready to win now.”
But can the Royals win now? That’s the big question.
“You look at our roster and we’re expected to compete and we’re expected to make some things happen,” Butler said. “We know we have to go through Detroit. Detroit has won the division the past two years, and they’re not going to be easy, but that’s what the expectations are and they should be with the roster we have.”