Minnesota has avoided arbitration with backup catcher Drew Butera by signing him to a one-year, $700,000 deal.
Butera is perhaps the worst hitter in baseball, batting .183 with a .497 OPS in 184 career games, but the Twins are in love with his defense and have kept him on the roster for three seasons as a second- and third-string catcher.
Giving him a big-league roster spot and job are very much debatable decisions, but Butera was arbitration eligible for the first time and basically gets the lowest possible jump in salary. Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit are expected to once again alternate between catcher and designated hitter, leaving Butera to soak up whatever playing time behind the plate remains.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.