The Boston Red Sox are bringing catcher Dan Butler back to the organization by signing him to a minor league deal.
The 29-year old Butler began his career in the Red Sox minor league system, working his way from the low Class A levels all the way up to a brief stint in the big leagues in 2014. He hit .211 with a .618 OPS in 20 plate appearances over the span of 7 games with the Red Sox that season.
Butler spent last season with the Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, where he hit .227/.316/.316 with a home run and 20 doubles over 83 games.
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During his seven year minor league career Butler owns a slash line of .252/.344/.401 with 48 home runs in 580 games. He doesn’t bring a ton of power to the table, but he does have some pop in his bat, having averaged nearly 20 doubles while playing in an average of about 82 games per year.
The Red Sox will also extend Butler an invitation to spring training, but he’s not a likely candidate to break camp with the big league club. He should start the season in Pawtucket, while providing the organization with insurance to cover them in case Christian Vazquez hits any roadblocks in his return from Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2015 season.
One would imagine that things would need to go horribly wrong in order for us to see Butler back in Boston for any significant amount of time, but isn’t that what happened last year? Once Vazquez went down the team was forced to turn to Sandy Leon as their backup catcher until Blake Swihart was ready to be called up. Their depth was tested even further once Ryan Hanigan also went down with an injury that sidelined him for two months.
The Red Sox needed another reliable veteran addition to their collection of catchers in the organization and their familiarity with Butler from his years in their minor league system made the decision to bring him back that much easier.