Dodgers sign Drew Butera, Scott Elbert, avoid salary arbitration

Harry How

The Dodgers on Friday agreed to contracts with three of their seven players eligible for salary arbitration in 2014.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers had their own version of shopping on Black Friday, but their door-buster deals were a trio of players eligible for salary arbitration. In addition to outfielder Mike Baxter, the Dodgers also signed catcher Drew Butera and relief pitcher Scott Elbert to contracts for 2014.

Butera will make $700,000 in 2014 while Elbert will make $575,000, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, who also reported that the contracts of Butera, Elbert, and Baxter (who signed for $700,000 on Friday as well), are all non-guaranteed deals.

Butera also reportedly has $100,000 in performance bonuses, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Before their signings, both Butera and Elbert were non-tender candidates, meaning they could have not been tendered a 2014 contract by Monday's deadline making them a free agent, but for different reasons.

Elbert had Tommy John surgery in June, putting him on the shelf likely until midseason next year. But given the perpetual need for left-handed relievers and for a marginal cost, just $75,000 over the minimum salary in 2014, the Dodgers might be willing to wait and see what they have in Elbert, who had a 2.32 ERA in 90 games over the 2011-2012 seasons with 63 strikeouts and 27 walks in 66 innings. Elbert made $505,000 in 2013, but didn't pitch in a game for the Dodgers, as his minor league rehab assignment was shut down in June.

Butera was acquired by the Dodgers on July 31, and is out of options. But there is always a need for catching depth, so the Dodgers at the very least will take a flier on Butera in spring training to vie for the backup job with Tim Federowicz. If Butera is cut in spring training, the Dodgers can cut ties and only owe him termination pay (30 days, or roughly $114,754 if by March 15; 45 days, or  $172,131 if after March 15) or they can try to convince him to accept an outright assignment to Triple-A and keep him as well-compensated depth, sort of like Tony Gwynn Jr. in 2013.

The Dodgers now have $188.075 million committed to 16 players for 2014.

There are four other Dodgers eligible for salary arbitration: pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Ronald Belisario, and catcher A.J. Ellis.

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