Butler, Royals secure four-year extension

Butler, Royals secure four-year extension

KANSAS CITY -- Billy Butler's four-year, $30 million contract extension with the Royals -- first reported by MLB.com on Saturday -- was confirmed by the team later in the day and will be celebrated by the Royals and Butler at a news conference on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

The multiyear contract helps the two sides avoid salary arbitration and gives Butler the security of a long-term deal through 2014. The contract includes a club option for '15 at $12.5 million plus escalators that could increase it to $14.5 million. The total package, then, could be worth a total of $44.5 million.

According to Butler, the contract breaks down to a $2 million signing bonus plus $3 million salary in 2011, with salaries of $8 million each in 2012, '13 and '14. There is a $1 million buyout for the option year.

"I just get to worry about playing baseball, and it's what's best for me and my family," Butler said. "That's what it's all about. I didn't want to have to worry about going to arbitration every year, and this is where I want to be. The city's great, and we love it here. I can't express how happy we are right now."

Butler had filed for $4.3 million, and the Royals offered $3.4 million. Now that's all off the table.

The deal was worked out by agent Greg Genske of Legacy Sports with Royals general manager Dayton Moore.

"It worked out for both sides," Butler said. "I've always been happy to be a Royal. We have a lot of young guys coming up, and we plan on doing great things. It just means I'm a big part of it."

Butler, wife Katie and daughter Kenley live in Idaho Falls, where Butler made his pro debut in 2004 with a rousing .373 average. He was in Kansas City for the Royals FanFest.

"It's just what's best for your family," he said. "We're happy to be done with it, and Dayton and the whole organization were great."

Butler on Saturday was to receive the Royals Player of the Year Award for the second straight time after setting career highs in several categories, including average (.318), hits (189), walks (69) and on-base percentage (.388).

In Royals history, he has the distinction of ranking third in average among players with at least 2,000 plate appearances. His .298 average ranks behind George Brett's .305 and Mike Sweeney's .299.

Since the start of the 2009 season, Butler leads all Major Leaguers with 96 doubles, and that's also the most by a Royals player in a two-year span, passing Hal McRae's 93 in 1977-78.

Last year he passed another Royals Hall of Famer, Willie Wilson, by hitting in 103 consecutive series, a streak that is still alive.

In four Major League seasons, he's already passed the 500-hit mark, with 590. In his 533 games, he has 278 RBIs, 141 doubles, 55 homers and even three triples.

Butler, a first-round Draft choice (14th overall) in 2004, roared through four Minor League classifications with high averages and productive numbers and debuted with the Royals on May 1, 2007. He was just 21 years and 13 days old, and played left field that day.

Except for two brief returns to Triple-A that year and in 2008, he's been a force in the Royals' lineup ever since.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.