When Billy Butler thinks about next season and ponders the possibility of not being in a Royals uniform, he quickly tries to think of something else.

"It would definitely be painful," Butler tells FOXSportsKansasCity.com.

Butler is in the final season of a four-year, $30 million deal he signed in 2011. There is an extended year to the deal, but it is a club option valued at $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout.

The Royals, naturally, won't comment on their plans with Butler now. But it seems highly unlikely they would exercise the option at that price.

And that means this could be Butler's last season with the Royals, the only team he has known since they drafted him out of high school 10 years ago. He is fully aware of this, of course.

"Absolutely," he says. "This game is a business. I know what my job is for now and through the rest of the season. After that, who knows? That is what happens when you have an expiring contract.

"Any player with any team who has to go through that uncertainty knows what I'm talking about. But you just focus on each night and try to play the game right and then ..."

Butler's voice trails off as if not to think of the future. Make no mistake, he wants to stay with the Royals.

Butler and his wife, Katy, have embraced the Kansas City community for years and often engage in charity functions, most notably with the "Hit a Ton" foundation they started in 2008 that donates food to the needy.