The Kansas City Royals have an interesting predicament this offseason.
The team desperately seeks pitching help, and general manager Dayton Moore made the first step towards improving a shaky rotation when he acquired Ervin Santana from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Seattle Mariners are in the exact opposite position. The team has stellar young pitching but lacks the offensive firepower to compete in the American League West.
Could that make these two teams trade partners within the coming months?
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com thinks so.
Rosenthal suggests that the Mariners and the Royals could potentially set up a trade including designated hitter Billy Butler and one of the many young pitching prospects on Seattle.
Danny Hultzen or Taijuan Walker would warrant a Butler-like return, and the Mariners would likely be more than willing to deal one of their young guns for a hitter of Butler's caliber.
Walker could command less in a deal, as he pitched poorly in his first season of Double-A last season—he recorded a 4.69 ERA in 126.2 innings over 25 starts.
Hultzen was great last season, which was his first in professional baseball. He started in Double-A and made it up to Triple-A, putting together a record of 9-7 with a 3.05 ERA.
Hultzen could provide much more of an immediate impact for the Royals, as he has already pitched in Triple-A and has very polished stuff for a 22-year-old.
The only question is, would the Royals even be willing to deal Butler?
Butler anchors the Kansas City offense. He is far and away the biggest threat they have at the plate, and not just from a power standpoint.
He is one of the most complete hitters in the league.
Butler posted ridiculous numbers last season. His triple-slash line of .313/.373/.510 was spectacular, as were his 29 home runs and 107 RBI.
His 192 hits were the most in his six-year career.
Dayton Moore would not receive any flack for refusing to deal Butler because he's easily the best player on the team. That being said, he should strongly consider the thought.
Bringing back a potential ace in Hultzen would help give the Royals the foundation for a strong rotation.
If Butler is traded at all this offseason, expect highly-touted young pitchers to go back to Kansas City in return.