Zack Greinke has been a member of the Milwaukee Brewers for over a month now, but that doesn’t mean they’re done talking about him in Kansas City. Over the weekend, 1B/DH Billy Butler signed a new contract extension that was largely made possible by the team moving Greinke’s salary, and at a Royals caravan event in Springfield, Missouri on Sunday, he made his feelings about his former teammate clear.
From the Springfield News-Leader:
“Zack didn’t want to be here. He voiced it. And we’re a better organization with people that want to be here, no matter how good a certain player is,” Butler said in a one-on-one interview with The News-Leader.
“It didn’t bode well,” Butler said of Greinke’s summer comments. “Everybody in that clubhouse wanted to win as bad as Zack did. He wasn’t the only one. … Come right down to it, the organization did so much for him; he didn’t realize it. But I’m so proud to wear the Royals uniform. They’ve taken care of me and my family.”
Butler is trying to take a leadership role on the new-look Royals, so it’s understandable that he’s playing up the “want to be here” angle. When so many athletes are criticized for only wanting to play for the most amount of money, isn’t there something to be said about a player wanting to play for a winning team?
Greinke made his intentions clear — he wasn’t going to stick around Kansas City once this contract was up. He wasn’t going to string the club along like LeBron James did with Cleveland in the NBA. He waived his no-trade clause and allowed the club to improve their chances of winning in the future by collecting a slew of prospects. The money freed up by moving Greinke is going to allow them to keep guys like Butler around.
In the end, this seems like a situation that benefits both parties. Greinke gets a chance to actually compete, and the Royals are being given the chance to build something really special for the future. Is there really a need to talk bad about a teammate once he’s out of town and you won’t be seeing him anytime soon? In the end, Butler is the one that’s coming off as classless.