Breaking: Angels Trade for Drew Butera


Alden Gonzalez of is reporting that the Los Angeles Angels acquired 31-year-old backstop, Drew Butera, from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. It was expected that the Angels would pursue a veteran backup catcher this winter, and general manger, Jerry Dipoto, appears to have found his man in Butera.

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The Dodgers designated Butera for assignment last week to make room on their 40-man roster for catcher, Ryan Lavarnway. Butera is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and that likely motivated the Dodgers to make the move. Butera made $700,000 last season, and could double his income in 2015 with the Angels.

Butera has five years of big league experience under his belt, however he has never appeared in more than 93 games in any season. Last season, Butera appeared in 61 games with the cross-town rival Dodgers functioning as the club’s primary backup catcher.

2014 was a rough year offensively for Butera, as he only hit .188 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI’s across 170 at bats. Butera registered a mediocre .267 on base percentage, and a slugging percentage of just .288. Butera put up a -0.2 oWAR last season, and has failed to post a positive oWAR in any of his five seasons. Butera brings a career .183 batting average with him to Anaheim, and it is safe to assume the Angels do not expect much offensive production from the 31-year-old.

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Butera is an above-average defender behind the plate, and possesses an adequate arm. He posted a 0.5 dWAR in 2014, and has never registered a negative dWAR in his career. Last season, Butera had a sparkling .1000 fielding percentage over his 445.1 innings of work. Butera threw out 32% of potential base stealers in 2014, beating the league average of 28%. His 9.38 range factor per 9 innings bested the league average of 8.41. Butera was behind the plate when, Josh Beckett, pitched his no-hitter in 2014, so obviously he has the ability to call a good game.

I fully expect Drew Butera to earn the backup catcher role next spring in Tempe. The Angels dealt for, Carlos Perez, from the Houston Astros last month, but he will likely start the year in Salt Lake City. Jett Bandy was added to the Halos 40-man roster last month to protect the young backstop from the Rule-5 draft, but he too needs more seasoning in the minor leagues before he is ready to contribute at the big league level.

Ultimately, I see Butera starting the season as the Halos primary backup catcher behind, Chris Iannetta. However, I anticipate the Angels to bring up either Perez or Bandy next June or July to take over for Butera. Both Perez and Bandy offer more offensive upside, and Perez is thought to be a gifted defender. The acquisition of Butera stabilizes the catcher position for the Angels in the immediate, and I think it will allow the Halos to bring Perez and Bandy along a little bit more slowly. To me, this is another under the radar move made by Dipoto that could prove very beneficial next season.