The Colorado Rockies are reportedly still looking for a veteran catcher to bring onto their roster. Is their choice inevitable at this point?
Yes, “inevitable” is the same word used by Thanos, most notably near the end of Avengers: Endgame as he believes he is about to win the final battle against the Avengers. “Inevitable” also is the word that seems to be en vogue when it comes to the Colorado Rockies and catcher Drew Butera for the 2020 season.
The 36-year-old Butera has played parts of the last two seasons with the Rockies, appearing in 26 games and totaling 65 plate appearances during that time. He has compiled a .175/.250/.281 slash line during that time. Offensively, the numbers are not impressive. However, it’s in the “veteran” and “relationship” sides of things where the Rockies see the value. He is familiar with the Rockies pitching staff and Bud Black and the Rockies are familiar with him. It’s one of the biggest reasons why Nick Groke of The Athletic has him on the Opening Day roster for the Rockies next season.
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Another big potential reason? Let’s not forget that nine of those career games with the Rockies came last September when the Rockies were out of postseason contention. In 26 at-bats, Butera logged a .154/.233/.192 slash line. Butera also started eight games last September while Nunez started only three (getting 16 at-bats). Could that be viewed as a tryout to see about Butera coming back in 2020? It’s one of the few explanations there could be given the opportunity the Rockies could see what Nunez could do on the Major League level on an extended basis … and that wasn’t done.
As my colleague Noah Yingling pointed out in this article, Butera has been one of the worst catchers of the season in terms of fWAR last year and has compiled a cumulative -3.2 fWAR for the decade we are concluding.
But again, this potential move is about familiarity. Already familiar with the pitching staff, Butera could certainly pair with Tony Wolters at the start of the season while Dom Nunez gets more time in Triple-A to begin the season.
If Butera were to rejoin the Rockies, Colorado would need to make a move on its 40-man roster to add him. This will need to be the case with any catcher the Rockies might bring on as Wolters and Nunez are the only two catchers currently on the 40-man roster.
So is it inevitable that Butera and the Rockies are heading for a third consecutive season together? Butera has also reportedly drawn interest from the New York Mets as well. However, knowing the budget constraints and familiarity factor, don’t be surprised if Butera is just a snap away for Colorado GM Jeff Bridich.