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Salary arbitration preview 2015: Drew Butera

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Our next salary arbitration preview for the Dodgers involves Drew Butera, vying for the backup catchers spot for a second year in a row.

Butera hit just .188/.267/.288 on the season, and is a career .183/.239/.268 hitter. He was above average in throwing out runners both in 2014 (32.4 percent in 2014, compared to league rate of 28 percent) and in his career (32.7 percent career compared to 27 percent for the league). He was above average in catcher framing (+1.9 runs) in 2014 for the first time in his career, after rating 15.7 runs below average through 2013.

He also was near the top of the leaderboard with nine passed balls despite catching only 57 games.

But Butera is also one of three catchers on the 40-man roster, with a very limited free agent market, and to keep him around we are talking about a backup catcher salary, which is relatively small.

Here are some backup catchers in recent years with similar service time and performance to Butera.

Single-season arbitration-eligible backup catchers
Catcher Year Svc time PA BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salaryn Salaryn+1 Increase
Drew Butera
2014 4.018 192 .188/.267/.288 59 .252 60 0.0 0.2 $700,000 tbd tbd
George Kottaras 2012 3.149 209 .211/.351/.415 109 .339 113 0.9 1.1 $700,000 $1,000,000 +42.9%
Jesus Flores
2011 4.079 91 .209/.253/.314 55 .242 47 (0.2) (0.1) $750,000 $850,000 +13.3%
Brayan Pena
2011 4.081 240 .248/.288/.338 72 .277 68 0.5 0.3 $660,000 $875,000 +32.6%
John Baker
2012 4.083 214 .238/.310/.280 108 .266 70 0.4 0.0 $750,000 $930,000 +24.0%
George Kottaras
2013 4.149 126 .180/.349/.370 98 .324 103 0.5 0.7 $1,000,000 $1,075,000 +7.5%

As you can see, a raise is almost inevitable, though again we are talking relatively small numbers here.

Butera, like his competition Tim Federowicz, is out of options, which means by next spring one of them will be removed from the 40-man roster, if not sooner. This is before even considering the Dodgers bringing in another catcher on a major league deal.

With the relatively low risk of keeping someone around at least into spring training, and the non-guaranteed nature of arbitration contracts, I think Butera gets tendered a contract by the Dec. 2 deadline and sticks around, at least until the team finds a better option. Though a non-tender wouldn't surprise me either.

Last year, Butera and the club agreed to a deal before that deadline, and I think that happens again by next week.

2015 guess

MLB Trade Rumors projected a salary of $900,000 for Butera in 2015.

I think the raise for Butera ends up a little smaller, somewhere between the percentage increases seen by Flores and Baker. I'll guess $825,000.