On July 31, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced they had completed a last-minute trade with the Minnesota Twins just in time to beat out the non-waiver trade deadline. The deal sent the Twins’ minor leaguer Drew Butera to the Dodgers who immediately placed the catcher in their farm system. On Tuesday afternoon, the Twins announced that the deal had been finalized with the player to be named later being the Dodgers’ left handed prospect, Miguel Sulbaran.
Dodgers writer Greg Zakwin reported this news on twitter and the Dodgers’ official Public Relations account confirmed the transaction later:
— Greg Zakwin (@ArgyledPlaschke) August 13, 2013
Great Lakes LHP Miguel Sulbaran was sent to Minnesota as the PTBNL in the July 31 trade that netted the #Dodgers catcher Drew Butera
— Dodgers PR (@DodgersPR) August 13, 2013
Zakwin and several other Dodgers writers agree with me in saying that the deal is a terrible one for the club. The Dodgers’ General Manager Ned Colletti – pictured above with owner Magic Johnson – has been known for making “interesting” agreements in the past, and the trade with the Twins just adds another head scratcher to the pile.
Butera is a 30-year-old minor league journeyman. The 6-foot-1 catcher spent a few years in the New York Mets‘ farm system before being moved to the Twins’ system where he remained from 2007 until just a few weeks ago. In that span of about six years, Butera went back and forth from the majors to minors but never played more than 93 games in a single MLB season for the Twins. In his major league career, Butera’s batting average is .182 and his minor league statistic is not much better at .216. The July trade for Butera simply seemed like a way for the Dodgers to have some extra insurance as a fourth catcher behind backups Ramon Hernandez and Tim Federowicz.
Sulbaran, on the other hand, is a 19-year-old prospect who was on the rise in the Dodgers’ farm system. The 5-foot-10 lefty pitcher had spent the last two years working his way up from low Rookie Leagues and finally landed with the Single-A Great Lakes Loons at the end of 2012. In 2013, Sulbaran has a 6-4 record in 23 games played and 16 games started. His overall ERA of 3.01 is lowered to an impressive 2.33 if only his starts are considered.
Although Sulbaran was not touted as a top prospect in the Dodgers’ system, he has potential and decent numbers. The deal seems completely unbalanced, heavily leaning toward the Twins’ side of the scale. Come on, Ned! Step up your game.