Is Butera worth the $700,000 contract?


Aug 31, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Twins catcher Drew Butera at bat during the game against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins avoided arbitration with catcher Drew Butera, signing him to a one-year deal worth $700,000, the team announced Thursday.

Butera, 29, earned $480,000 last season and is expected to be the club’s third catcher this season behind Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit. Manager Ron Gardenhire has expressed a desire for carrying three catchers on the roster, as he regularly plays Mauer and Doumit at the same time. Doumit figures to get a lot of playing time at DH.

In three seasons with the Twins, Butera hit .183/.232/.265 with five homers and 41 RBIs in 184 games.

According to FanGraphs, an advanced statistics website, Butera would’ve earned $400,000—or league minimum of $480,000—in an open free-agent market this year based on a conversion of WAR (wins above replacement) to salary of last year’s production. The previous year, the website projected a $3.9 million payday.

Despite a lackluster stat line, Butera’s value comes in his defense and pitch-calling ability. He is arguably the best defensive backstop on the roster, even with Mauer on the club.

Butera saw a tremendous drop in innings played last season and figures to play about the same amount this season.