Butera, 35, has been the primary backup to Kansas City mainstay Salvador Perez for the past three seasons and will bring nine years of MLB experience to the Rockies’ roster. He’s hitting .188/.259/.289 through 166 plate appearances this season and is a lifetime .201/.258/.298 batter between the Royals, Angels, Dodgers and Twins.
While he’s clearly never been much of a threat with the bat, Butera has a strong defensive reputation, even if his performance in 2018 has been more questionable in that regard. He’s prevented 30 percent of stolen-base attempts against him in his career but has seen that number plummet to 13 percent in 2018. He’s been a quality pitch-framer in the past as well, but Baseball Prospectus grades his efforts in that regard to be below average this season.
Butera inked a two-year, $3.8MM contract with the Royals prior to the 2017 season and will be a free agent following the current campaign. He’s earning $2.3MM this year and is still owed about $381K of that sum through the end of the year. He becomes the latest backup catcher to swap hands in the past 48 hours, as each of Rene Rivera, Chris Stewart, Bobby Wilson and Chris Gimenez have also changed hands with teams looking to add veteran catching help in advance of expanded September rosters.
Vasto, 26, made his MLB debut with the Rockies earlier this year but appeared in just one game and tossed only two-thirds of an inning. He was hit hard in his first season of Triple-A duty in 2017 but has turned in considerably more promising results in 2018: a 3.16 ERA, 10.7 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9 and a 43.5 percent ground-ball rate in 37 innings. He’ll give the Royals a controllable left-handed option for their bullpen. Because his contract was only selected this season, he comes with the added bonus of having multiple minor league options remaining beyond the 2018 campaign.