Royals say they’re not dealing Billy Butler

There’ve been a lot of names attached to the Mariners as potential free agent or trade targets at these Winter Meetings, but one guy you can scratch off the list is Royals DH/first baseman Billy Butler.

I wrote last week that scenario didn’t make sense, given the Royals are trying to build around Butler and add established Major League pitching and wouldn’t be inclined to give up their best hitter in that process.

But the rumor mill was still churning here in Nashville, with the Mariners and Orioles being listed as pursuers of Butler in various reports on Monday. Royals manager Ned Yost finally put that to rest Tuesday when he told MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel that Butler isn’t going anywhere.

“We haven’t even talked about Billy,” Yost said. “Billy’s name hasn’t been brought up unless it’s to say what a great year he had.”

Butler’s name did arise Tuesday when he was presented the Edgar Martinez Award as the AL’s best designated hitter in 2012 after hitting .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBIs.

Trade Butler for pitching? That doesn’t make sense to Royals GM Dayton Moore.

“We’ve got to score more runs,” said Moore, “and we’re not going to score more runs if Billy Butler’s not in the lineup.”

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