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2012 MLB Winter Meetings: Mariners, Orioles interested in Billy Butler

In their search for improved starting pitching, the Royals may unload their DH with Seattle and Baltimore as possible destinations.

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

To bolster a paltry pitching staff, the Kansas City Royals may choose to unload designated hitter Billy Butler, who has progressed into one of the game's best pure hitters over the last six seasons. The Mariners, in their forever quest for offense, may be looking to snag the 26-year-old, according to NBC's Pro Baseball Talk. Also mentioned are the Orioles, who have young starters to burn and a new-found sense of hope after their 2012 playoff run.

Butler had a career year in 2012, with his power finally matching his batting average skills. He hit 29 home runs and batted .313, good for a wRC+ of 140, which rates Butler 40% better than an average hitter. The designated hitter is owed $16 million over the next two season and has a $12.5 million team option for 2015 with just a $1 million buyout.

Both the Mariners and Orioles have depth at starting pitching with young prospects to move. Baltimore has already showcased the potential of Zach Britton and Chris Tillman, with the Mariners being able to offer a potential combination of minor leaguers.