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Drew Butera Rumors
2:22pm: The Dodgers announced that they will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations for the catcher.
2:14pm: The Angels have acquired Drew Butera from the Dodgers, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter). Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter) first reported that the Halos were close to acquiring Butera.
Halos GM Jerry Dipoto said that he was on the verge of landing a backup catcher just minutes ago (via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com on Twitter) and it turned out to be Butera. The 31-year-old isn’t much of a hitter – he boasts a career .183/.239/.268 slash line across parts of five big league seasons – but he’s known for solid defensive play. That reputation behind the plate was enough for him to get a combined 733 plate appearances between the Twins and Dodgers.
The Dodgers designated Butera for assignment last week after claiming Ryan Lavarnway off waivers.
The 27-year-old Lavarnway has seen MLB action in parts of four seasons with the Red Sox but failed to establish himself at the plate, having posted a combined .201/.249/.315 batting line in 301 plate appearances. Formerly ranked as a Top 100 prospect by both Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com, Lavarnway has a strong minor league track record, including a .284/.377/.448 triple-slash in 1102 Triple-A plate appearances. He comes with more upside at the plate than the defense-first, though Lavarnway has caught just 10 of 63 potential base-stealers in the Majors (16 percent) and didn’t stand out in terms of pitch-framing in his two longest Major League stints.
Butera, 31, is a glove-first catcher that has never hit much at any level and owns just a .183/.239/.268 batting line in the Majors. However, his reputation behind the plate has led to him receiving 733 plate appearances between the Twins and Dodgers (192 with L.A. in 2014) in spite of his deficiencies with the bat.
The Dodgers’ catching situation remains in flux, as the team was in hard on Russell Martin earlier this offseason and has recently been linked to Yasmani Grandal in trade rumors. A.J. Ellis typically steady bat took a large step backwards in 2014, and improving the production behind the plate appears to be a priority for the new front office regime.
3:49pm: The Dodgers have avoided arbitration with Scott Elbert and Drew Butera, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). Elbert gets a one-year, $575K deal while Butera will earn $700K (link).
Our own Matt Swartz projected that Elbert would earn $600K through arbitration while Butera would get $700K. Elbert, 28, underwent Tommy John surgery in June and was considered a non-tender candidate, but it would appear that the Dodgers are confident that he will bounce back strong in 2014. The lefty reliever posted a 2.20 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 2012.
Butera, 30, saw just six big league games in total last season for the Twins and Dodgers. The catcher came to Los Angeles in a July 31st deal for a player to be named later. In 43 Triple-A games last year, Butera hit just .187/.228 /.281.
The Dodgers have now avoided arbitration with three of their players today after signing Elbert, Butera, and Mike Baxter earlier today. There are four remaining arbitration eligible Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis, and Ronald Belisario.
Royals manager Ned Yost would like Major League Baseball to change its rules regarding September callups, Dick Kaegel and Kathleen Gier of MLB.com report. Teams who call up more players will have more tactical options than teams who call up fewer, so Yost would prefer to have teams limited to a specific number of players they can use each day, perhaps 28 to 30. Here are more notes from the AL Central.
- Jose Iglesias is back in Boston after being sent from the Red Sox to the Tigers in the Jake Peavy deal, MLB.com's Jason Beck notes. New manager Jim Leyland is trying to help his new shortstop refine his play and become more consistent. "You don't want to take any of that aggressiveness and energy away," says Leyland. "You just have to make sure you channel it in the proper direction. I think it takes time to let that happen."
- The Twins had a choice of players they could take as the PTBNL in the Drew Butera deal with the Dodgers, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. They eventually settled on 19-year-old lefty Miguel Sulbaran, who has pitched well as a starter in Class A this year. Sulbaran is undersized and may struggle as he ascends through the minors, but he still appears to be a very strong return for the Twins, given that Butera recently turned 30 and has only played in Triple-A in the Dodgers organization so far.
Butera, 29, appeared in two games for the Twins this year. At Triple-A, he has a .229/.258/.325 line in 90 plate appearances. He missed a chunk of time this season with a broken left pinkie finger. He'll provide organizational depth at catcher, notes Yahoo's Tim Brown. Drafted by the Mets in the fifth round in 2005, Butera was traded to the Twins in the July 2007 Luis Castillo deal. He's earning $700K this year as a first-time arbitration eligible player. The Dodgers already had an open spot on their 40-man roster to accommodate Butera.
And thus ends your 2013 MLB Trade Deadline.
The Twins announced yesterday that they will hand the reins in center field over to top prospect Aaron Hicks. The 2008 first-rounder ranked 72nd on Baseball America's Top 100 list and 98th on MLB.com's Top 100. Here's some more on the Twinkies as we draw closer to the end of Spring Training…
- General manager Terry Ryan told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger that Hicks won the Opening Day job because he doesn't believe in holding players back for service time reasons: "'Can you imagine if we sent somebody out who did what the kid did?' Ryan said. 'And I had to look at [Josh] Willingham, [Justin] Morneau, [Glen] Perkins, [Joe] Mauer and those guys who are trying to win, and I'm going to stop that guy? I just don't believe in that.'"
- Other teams are interested in catcher Drew Butera, who the Twins optioned to Triple-A yesterday, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). However the Twins prefer to keep Butera, who they signed to a $700K contract in order to avoid arbitration this winter. The 29-year-old is just a .183/.232/.265 career hitter but is regarded as a terrific defensive catcher.
- The Twins contacted Chris Young this offseason and had interest in him at one point according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, but an official tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the team no longer considers him a fit (Twitter link). Young is set to opt out of his contract with the Nationals.
- The Twins were approached by representatives for both Yuniesky Betancourt and Freddy Garcia, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, but the team passed on both players (Twitter links).
- Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez, who signed a minor league deal with the Twins, has all but guaranteed himself a spot on the Opening Day roster, tweets MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. A corresponding 40-man roster move will need to be made in the coming days.