According to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, free agent Billy Butler has reached agreement on a deal with the New York Yankees. Butler was released by the Oakland Athletics on September 11, shortly after being involved in a clubhouse incident with Danny Valencia.
Butler, 30, is a 10-year veteran who spent eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals and the past two years with the Athletics. In 85 games played this season, Butler is hitting .276 with four home runs and 31 RBIs.
Butler gives Yankees manager Joe Girardi a right-handed power hitter who can play primarily as a designated hitter, but also some first base when necessary. The team received news earlier today that outfielder Aaron Judge is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a strained oblique. Tyler Austin and Mark Teixeira have been sharing the role at first base for the past month. Brian McCann has also served as the team’s designated hitter after losing the starting catcher’s job to Gary Sanchez.
Butler’s deal shows the Yankees are serious about reaching the postseason despite being sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline. Butler can provide more balance to the Yankees lineup as a right-handed hitter and becomes an option in a platoon role against left-handers.
The Yankees sit two games out of the second Wild Card spot and are set to begin an 11-game, 12-day road trip. The team heads up to Boston to play the Red Sox in a crucial four game series starting tonight, and Butler will join the club immediately. Left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez is set to start for the Red Sox, and Butler is expected to be in the lineup for tonight’s game.