Thursday, August 1, 2013

The end of the Drew Butera era

Drew Butera leaves
the Twins with a
lifetime slash line of
In the end the Twins did make a deadline deal Wednesday: They shipped catcher Drew Butera to the Dodgers for the proverbial player to be named later. Or cash. My guess is that, as with Jim Thome a couple years ago, it will wind up being cash, and not a lot of it.

Butera has serious defensive skills behind the plate, but he is well short of being a major-league hitter. If one could combine his defense with Ryan Doumit's bat — at least the Doumit of previous seasons — you'd have a star. Heck, if he could just hit like Brian Dozier, he'd be a legitimate regular somewhere.

The Dodgers apparently picked up Butera because they intend to carry three catchers after the rosters expand in September and they like Butera more than their current options for catcher No. 3. As anemic as Butera's bat is, he might be better than their current No. 2, Tim Federowicz, who is hitting .204/.243/.347.

Butera's future once past this season isn't particularly bright. I believe this was his final option season, which means teams will be reluctant to sign him to major-league contracts unless they expect to carry him on the 25-man roster. He's probably now looking at a series of minor-league deals and seasons at Triple A waiting for a gap to open on the big club.

As for the Twins, they still have four catchers on their 40-man roster — Joe Mauer, Doumit and Chris Herrmann on the major league club and Josmil Pinto, who's been hammering the ball in Double A. Mauer is Mauer, Doumit has another year on his deal, Herrmann is a rookie and Pinto has yet to make his debut, so there really wasn't much room or need for Butera, especially with his roster flexibility vanishing this winter.

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