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Billy Butler Trade Rumors: Kansas City Royals Willing to Listen to Offers

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COMMENTARY | Following their best season in close to 25 years, the optimism surrounding the Kansas City Royals -- who finished 2013 with an 86-76 record -- is at an unfamiliar, yet upbeat place.

The core of the team is intact and the front office (with the approval of ownership…finally) has made bold moves recently to suggest that winning is top priority. With 2014 targeted by general manager Dayton Moore as the year everything would finally come together, next season cannot get here fast enough for a success-parched fanbase.

Designated hitter Billy Butler -- taken with the 14th-overall pick in the 2004 Amateur Draft -- will be entering his eighth season in the big leagues and is widely seen an integral part of that young group of on-the-rise players. But as ESPN's Buster Olney reports, the Royals might be willing to listen to trade offers for the former All-Star.

Royals ready to talk about Billy Butler deal for teams that would take on DH owed $8 million in '14, $12m in 2015.

- Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN)

Butler's career year came in 2012, when he hit .313, with 29 home runs and 107 runs batted in. While considered one of the better hitters in the game, his limitations on defense presumably also equal limitations on the trade market -- forcing National League teams to shy away from acquiring the right-handed hitter.

Trading away a fan favorite might come with some criticism, but Kansas City sent Wil Myers to the Tampa Bay Rays last offseason in a deal that netted the team a desperately-needed top-of-the-rotation arm in James Shields.

Shields went on to post a 13-9 record, with a 3.15 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 196 strikeouts in 228.2 innings pitched.

While Myers surely drew more attention from other clubs than what Butler will, the potential is there for the Royals to add a piece that could help elsewhere on the roster.

What teams may be interested and who they would make available are still just guesses at this point. But right now it seems the Royals are ready to make this offseason just as lively as last year.

Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel

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