The price for a hitter

If Billy Butler is made available in a trade by Kansas City, of course the Orioles would be interested. Who wouldn’t want a 26-year-old hitter coming off a year where he hit .313 with 29 homers, 107 RBIs and an .882 OPS?

In addition Butler will make only $8 million per season the next two years and his contract calls for a club option of $12.5 million for 2015. He has played 158 or more games the last four years with an OPS that never was lower than .822.

Yeah, plenty of teams would take a player that young and that inexpensive. For that production, $8 million is a baseball bargain.

Here is the problem for the Orioles: How much pitching would they have to give up to get Kansas City’s attention. It could be two and maybe even three young pitchers. Yes, that is a steep price.

Another factor that someone pointed out to me this afternoon is that the fans of a club - like, say, the Orioles - tend to value their own players more than the other teams do.

The Orioles’ young pitchers have lost some of their value in the last year or two with injuries, ineffectiveness, control issues and demotions to the minors. Remember when Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman were all top 100 prospects?

The club still likes all three, but only one of those three ended last year in the rotation and none of the three made a single start for the Orioles in the playoffs.

The Orioles want a hitter but the price could be out of their reach.

A note from the minors: The Orioles are getting closer to announcing their minor league managers for the 2013 season. As I have reported earlier, it appears the set-up will have Ron Johnson managing at Triple-A Norfolk, Gary Kendall at Double-A Bowie, Ryan Minor at Single-A Frederick and Luis Pujols at Single-A Delmarva.

It also appears pretty set that Rick Peterson will return to the staff in 2013 as director of pitching development.

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