Though it seemed like the trade deadline passed without any excitement, it seems like we might have been a tad premature. Shortly afterwards, we learned huge, breaking, earth-shattering news: the Dodgers traded a player to be named later to Minnesota for catcher Drew Butera. The trade deadline is still boring.
So out of a sense of duty more than any particular interest, here’s what we know about Butera, the son of former big league catcher Sal Butera. He’ll be 30 on August 9, was a fifth round selection in 2005 by the Mets, and was later traded to Minnesota for Luis Castillo in 2007. Butera made his debut in 2010 and in parts of four seasons backing up Joe Mauer he’s… oh lord, that’s bad. That’s a .182/.230/.263 line in 534 plate appearances, which, as Andrew Grant notes, is good for a 36 OPS+ that is the third-worst of all time with a minimum of 500 plate appearances.
Save for a few games last week when Mauer was on paternity leave, Butera has spent all season in Triple-A Rochester, where he’s hit just .229/.258/.325. In case you haven’t quite figured it out, the man can’t hit, collecting just a .294 OBP in his minor-league career. For example, here’s what BP2013 had to say about him:
Butera might be the worst active hitter in the major leagues, but upon his 91st plate appearance of 2012, he added an honor that beats that. He has now had over 500 big-league plate appearances, and among all non-pitchers in baseball history who have reached that mark, Butera’s career 497 OPS is the 25th-lowest. That puts him at third-lowest among all players to have played a game since 1920. This is history Butera is making here! Thankfully for the Twins, Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit splitting the catching duties reduces his impact.
So yeah, hitting, not so much. As you’d expect, there’s the usual platitudes about his defense, but it doesn’t really matter. He’s not here to take Tim Federowicz‘ job, and he’s probably around just to pair with John Baker at Triple-A and make sure that Matt Wallach never comes to the big leagues. He’ll take the final open spot on the 40-man roster.
Ned Colletti, on MLB Network just now, said that you need “at least three catchers in the system you can count on, of which Butera is one,” so that probably tells you all you need to know about Baker and Wallach. He also noted that he had one other thing in the fire at the deadline that didn’t come through. I’m guessing it was slightly more entertaining than Butera.