Dodgers trade for Butera, bolster catching depth
GM Colletti caps busy July with minor move, turns focus to potential waiver deals
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti couldn't stand pat, sneaking in a trade with the Twins for Minor League catcher Drew Butera just ahead of Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Butera will serve as added insurance behind starter A.J. Ellis and rookie backup Tim Federowicz. He was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque and is on the 40-man roster.
"You've got to have three catchers in September," Colletti said. "You've always got to have three guys, in case something happens to A.J. or Fed. We felt we needed to upgrade that area."
Other than this minor move, the Dodgers' in-season trade strategy this year focused on an accelerated timetable.
On July 2, Colletti swapped Matt Guerrier for the Cubs' Carlos Marmol, a pair of veteran relievers needing a scenery change.
On July 6, the Dodgers traded three young pitchers for Miami starter Ricky Nolasco to pick up the slack in light of season-ending injuries to Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett.
"I think it was a huge trade for us," Colletti said.
And on Tuesday, the club signed free agent Brian Wilson after being convinced by a pair of workouts that the former Giants closer is recovered from Tommy John elbow reconstruction.
All told, the Dodgers netted one of the better starters available, plus a pair of former All-Star closers seeking comebacks, as Colletti adjusted to a thin trade market and fewer needs than recent seasons.
Colletti didn't add a potent bat for the bench because, as he said, if the Dodgers could just keep all four of their outfielders healthy, they'd have a potent bat off the bench every game.
"I'd like to have them all available for a full game," he said. "Somebody that's not starting is obviously a really good player."
And invoking the names of Marlon Anderson, Ronnie Belliard and Greg Maddux -- not to mention last August's blockbuster with Boston -- Colletti reminded that he's found ways to impact the roster with August waiver deals, so he's not necessarily done.
But Colletti said if there are no more deals, he can live with the roster as it now stands.
"I'd be fine with it," he said. "If nothing else happens, we shored up the starting pitching with Ricky and added relievers with experience."
Colletti said this year's trade market is "the slowest I can remember in a long, long time," and every club he talked to wanted "the same five" prospects.
Colletti agreed that the implementation of a second Wild Card deepened the pool of clubs that believe they're still alive. As a result, Wednesday's non-waiver Deadline came too soon for most clubs to be true sellers.
"They might be trailing by a wide margin, but still feel there's time to catch up," he said. "That gives people hope. There might be, of teams legitimately willing to trade, five or six willing to take only prospects back."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.