Here is a review of the 2014 season for backup catcher Drew Butera, who gave the Dodgers pretty much exactly what they should have expected.
What went right
Butera, not known for his bat, hit a career-high three home runs in 2014, tied for the team lead among catchers. He also hit two doubles on Aug. 3, the first game in his career with two extra-base hits.
Butera threw out 11 of 34 runners trying to steal, a caught stealing percentage (32.4 percent) above the National League average of 27.9 percent.
But what made Butera's season even memorable was his appearance on the mound on May 14 against the Marlins. Down 10 runs in the ninth inning, Butera helped relieve the taxed bullpen with a scoreless inning, even hitting 94 mph in a strikeout of Marcell Ozuna. Butera was just the third Los Angeles Dodgers position player to notch a strikeout as a pitcher.
What went wrong
In what was really a terrible week for the Dodgers pitching staff, Butera was needed to pitch again just three days later in Arizona, and even struck out another batter. But this time he also allowed two runs, ending his bid for the lowest ERA in Dodgers franchise history.
Dodgers catchers were terrible at the plate in 2014, hitting just .181/.283/.261 with a .250 wOBA, dead last in batting average and RBI (46), 29th out of 30 teams in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+ (60), wOBA and wRC+ (59). Butera got 30 percent of the plate appearances, so he was a big part of the futility, but I'm not sure the Dodgers should have expected anything else.
Butera entered 2014 a career .181/.229/.262 hitter and this season hit .188/.267/.288. He even set career highs in home runs, walks (17) and OPS+ (59).
Despite a reputation for being a defensive catcher, Butera had nine passed balls, just three off the major league lead despite catching only 445 innings, roughly half as many as nearly everyone else ahead of him (except for Yasmani Grandal, with 12 passed balls in 608 innings for San Diego).
Game of the year
One of Butera's three home runs came on May 1 in Minnesota, the end of a long game (five hours, 11 minutes) that lasted 12 innings, the second game of a doubleheader on a cold and rainy Thursday night. The Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the 12th inning of the second game on a home run by Scott Van Slyke, then Butera followed with a solo shot against his own team. The Dodgers needed the insurance, with a run allowed in the bottom of the inning but held on for a 4-3 win and a sweep of the three-game series.
With four years, 18 days of service time, Butera is again eligible for salary arbitration, a likely candidate to either work out a 2015 contract by the Dec. 2 deadline to tender contracts, or be non-tendered. Butera, like fellow backup catcher candidate Tim Federowicz, is out of options.