The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone and the Minnesota Twins were content to hold on to their various commodities. Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit, Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfreyand their slew of marketable bullpen arms are all staying put. GM Terry Ryan did pull off one deal up against the deadline by sending light hitting minor league catcher, Drew Butera to the Los Angeles Dodgers for what is reportedly a PTBNL (player to be named later) or cash considerations.
Butera being moved comes out of nowhere. His name didn’t pop up in trade conversations over the past several weeks and while he’s long been praised for his defensive capabilities, his bat has been all but non-existent. Add on to that the fact that Butera’s 0.229/.258/.325 in 26 Triple-A games is one of the worst lines of his MiLB career. While he missed time with a broken pinkie finger, and that injury has surely impacted his production, it’s still surprising that any organization made a move to acquire him.
Relegated to the minors this season after logging 184 big league games with Minnesota from 2010-2012, Butera’s value to the organization was at a low point. A career 0.182/.230/.263 hitter in the majors and 0.217/.294/.320 hitter in the minors, he is a defense only option for a team. Even along those lines his CS% has slipped at both levels in recent seasons and he’s never really provided enough offense to justify his work behind the plate.
Poorly cast as a backup catcher in the major leagues, he’s at best a number three, emergency option and reports are that the Dodgers added him to provide “organizational depth.” His departure is not a significant loss to the Twins organization as Ryan Doumit and Chris Herrmann are already on the major league roster and both can give Joe Mauer an off day by donning their gear.
Butera’s departure leaves Eric Fryer (27) as the lone catcher on the Rochester Red Wings roster and may result in the promotion of Josmil Pinto (24) from New Britain. Pinto his hitting 0.306/.410/.482 with 23 2B, 14 HR and nearly as many BB (64) as SO (71) in 106 games for the Rock Cats this year. He appears ready for a move up to Triple-A, offensively at least. If Pinto moves up, Matthew Koch (24) could be in line for a promotion to New Britain as he’s been hitting a career best 0.291/.363/.421 in 76 games for Fort Myers.
Given Drew Butera’s value, and the fact the Dodgers added him solely for organizational depth at the position, the return for the Twins is going to be minimal. However his departure does open up playing time for some younger backstops that are having fine seasons and provide more long-term potential to the organization.