The second full day of the MLB Winter Meetings on Tuesday included a minor move by the Dodgers. In an unexpected trade with the Angels, the Dodgers traded catcher Drew Butera for cash considerations or a player to be named later. The backup catcher had been designated for assignment last week when the Dodgers claimed catcher Ryan Lavarnway from Boston and added him to their 40-man roster. Butera was all but gone at that point, and the Dodgers were likely to release him anyhow.
Drew Butera was acquired by the Dodgers at the 2013 non-waiver trade deadline which sent minor leaguer Miguel Sulbaran to the Minnesota Twins. Butera played in 61 games for the Dodgers in 2014 as A.J. Ellis‘s backup. Butera, primarily on the team for his defense, hit just .188/.267/.288 with 3 homeruns and 14 RBIs in 192 plate appearances.
I was surprised to see Butera sticking around so long even though the Dodgers had Tim Federowicz. FedEx fell out of favor after his 56-games played for the Dodgers in 2013. The Dodgers were looking for a little bit more experience, but Butera didn’t even eclipse FedEx’s .231 batting average of 2013 in 2014 after he took over backup duties.
With Butera traded to the Halos, Federowicz and Lavarnway will be vying for the backup catching job come Spring Training. It may be FedEx’s last chance to stick
Now who will take over bubble machine duties? Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
with the big club after flip flopping between Triple-A and the Majors. Interestingly, two catchers (who are both out of options) are sort of opposites as Lavarnway is rusty at defense but has power potential, and FedEx hasn’t hit well above Triple-A but has generally solid defense.
The trade with the Angels sort of shocked me, since it is such a rare occurrence that the cross town rivals make a deal with each other. The last time the two So Cal teams made a trade with each other at the Major League level was back on March 31, 1976 when the Dodgers traded Orlando Alavarez to the Angels for Ellie Rodriguez. This unanticipated move reflects the new outlook within the front office with Andrew Friedman at the forefront.
The openness to trade with the Angels signals to me that Friedman and Farhan Zaidi are more willing to make deals with interleague opponents-like San Diego as well. We may be seeing more deals struck with clubs the Dodgers have not traded with much in the past as the executive shift takes a more progressive approach to trading.
I try not to get sucked into all the swirling rumors going around during the Winter Meetings.
We say adieu to Drew, but we will always have his perfect inning of relief pitching back in May.