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Athletics release Billy Butler

The A’s cut ties with Butler despite having him under contract for next season.

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

The Athletics have released first baseman/designated hitter Billy Butler, as first reported by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Butler, 30, hit .276/.331/.403 with four home runs in 85 games in his second season with Oakland after signing a 3-year, $30 million deal last winter. The A’s will pay him almost $12 million next season as part of that contract.

Butler’s deal with Oakland was a puzzling one when completed, and the former Royal hit just .258/.325/.394 with 19 home runs in 236 games with the A’s. He will hit free agency once again this winter, hoping to gain a chance with a club looking for some offense. Any team that signs Butler will owe him only the league minimum salary next season, so he should draw some interest.

Butler is a 10-year veteran who has hit .289/.354/.441 with 146 home runs in 10 major-league seasons with the Royals (2007-14) and Athletics (2015-16). He was involved in a clubhouse altercation with Danny Valencia last month, though general manager David Forst said Sunday that the fight had nothing to do with today’s release.