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.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: