Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 11/7/12
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Can Billy Butler do even more offensively for the Royals? That's the question that always seems to come up when fans discuss the skill level and contributions of Butler, the Royals' lone All-Star from 2012 who also on Wednesday received the Les Milgram Royals Player of the Year award. It's a tricky question, of course, considering what a force Butler already has become. He hit .313 last season with 29 homers and 107 RBIs, and now has won the player-of-the-year award three times in the last four years. But, naturally, fans wonder if Butler can do more. He thinks he can. I'm not going to complain if I put up the same numbers I had last season, Butler said in a teleconference call. But I think I can get better. I'm already starting to work (in the cage) for next season. I certainly am going to try (to do even more). Manager Ned Yost made it evident at season's end that he wanted more home runs and more production from his lineup next season, going as far as firing hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and bringing in new hitting coach Jack Maloof, who also will have an assistant in Andre David. The goal of delivering more home runs is not asking too much, Butler said. I'm definitely going into it with an open mind, he said. I'm going to listen to Jack and Andre. Why wouldn't I have an open mind? I don't even really know what my full potential is. I don't think anyone on this team does. So if there's some way they can help make us more productive, I'm all for it. It's not just home runs we just need to score more runs. The danger in trying to hit more home runs might be that Butler will have to shave a few points off his.300 career average. Butler doesn't necessarily agree. Well, the funny part about that is last year I tried to really drive the ball, Butler said, and my average actually went up. So I'm not concerned about that. And I'll do whatever it takes to get more runs home. We all will. Now, I know I struck out more times this year but that's going to happen, especially if you're going to try to hit more home runs you're going to miss more. Butler's career-high 29 homers last season has some people wondering if he's a threat to break the club record of 36 held by Steve Balboni. Of course, Kauffman Stadium doesn't give up homers easily. Home runs are directly related to the ballpark and some other factors, he said. Hitting 36 homers in 1985 was an amazing feat for him. It'll be tough to beat. I'm not striving for that but it can happen. Butler's increase in home-run production also was evident in the clutch he was tied for third in baseball with 10 home runs in the eighth inning or later in games. The good hitters always seem to raise their game late in the game, Butler said. That's what I want to do. I want to be that guy. That's what they pay me to do. That's what I should be doing to help us win games. And winning games is the ultimate goal for Butler, who firmly believes the Royals are on the cusp of becoming a contender. The recent trade for Angels right-hander Ervin Santana was a terrific step in the right direction, Butler said, even if he has had his issues with Santana in the past. Butler's history with Santana began in 2010 when he was hit twice in the same game by Santana the second hit by pitch drew an angry glare from Butler. The two seemed to have had a somewhat frosty relationship since. I know what you're saying, Butler said. But I'm glad we have him. He's a guy who likes to pitch inside and I respect that. The thing is, it doesn't matter who hits me I'm not going to like it very much. Santana indicated last week there were no hard feelings with Butler. There's nothing there because, after that, the next year I saw him in Kansas City and I said hello to him and he said hello back to me and there was nothing -- no problems, Santana said. He knows I wasn't doing it purposely. I like to pitch inside and he knows it. Butler agreed. That's the way he pitches, Butler said. I know he's got electric stuff. I've had some good days against him and some bad days (8-for-31, five home runs). But he's got ace stuff. He's got one of the best sliders in the game and I've been around a little now, so that says something. It's great to have him. I don't know if it's the key component to our off-season because the off-season isn't over yet. We probably got more moves to make. I'll let you know next March. I'm anxious for it to get here.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Raisman blasts USA Gymnastics over abuse allegations

15-year-old Marta Kostyuk makes history at Australian Open

Report: Cavs front office communicating less with players, coaches

Sports world reacts to meteor lighting up Michigan sky

Celtics legend Jo Jo White passes away at 71 after battle with cancer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rajon Rondo wonders why Isaiah Thomas deserves tribute from Celtics

Trevor Ariza reportedly viewed as Rockets' aggressor

Source: Lakers ‘frustrated’ Lonzo Ball won’t stand up to his father

Payton downplays taunting Vikings fans with ‘Skol’ clap

Harrison wants trade if Pirates are not committed to winning

Report: Steelers owner facing pressure to fire Mike Tomlin

The 'All Jolly Rogers at half-mast' quiz

Case Keenum deserves better than the also-ran description

Greatest NFL Conference Championship moments ever

Eight gutsy NBA trade deadline deals that would turn the tide

Best players to debut on the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Best performances in the history of NFL Conference Championship games

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Grading the deal: Pirates trade Andrew McCutchen to Giants

The NBA's deep middle class emerges

Is Mike Moustakas that much better than Travis Shaw?

The 'It's a walk-off!" quiz

Sports & Politics Intersect: After all the bluster, college football sticks to sports

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Greatest NFL Conference Championship moments ever

The 'All Jolly Rogers at half-mast' quiz

Best players to debut on the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Case Keenum deserves better than the also-ran description

The 'It's a walk-off!" quiz

Best performances in the history of NFL Conference Championship games

Sports & Politics Intersect: After all the bluster, college football sticks to sports

The 'Home field disadvantage' quiz

NHL Weekender: Bruins, Flames, Jets are taking flight

Sabres look to be biggest sellers ahead of NHL trade deadline

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker