Rockies trade with Royals for catcher Butera
SAN DIEGO -- Completing an experience-based approach to in-season moves, the Rockies acquired catcher Andrew Butera in a trade Friday with the Royals, in hopes that he can provide postseason experience and give manager Bud Black more bench options.
The Rockies received Butera, 35, and cash from the Royals for left-hander Jerry Vasto, 26, who appeared in one game with the Rockies (two-thirds of an inning, three runs on June 10) and spent most of the season at Triple-A Albuquerque.
Butera, who will join the club on Saturday (and wear No. 16) and be eligible for the postseason should the Rockies qualify, will be one of four catchers at Black's disposal. In addition to Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters, the Rockies will have Butera and Tom Murphy, who will be called up from Albuquerque as the roster expands to 40 on Saturday.
Butera, who has hit .188 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 51 appearances this season, is in his ninth Major League season -- the past four seasons backing up Royals All-Star Salvador Perez. Butera's run with the Royals included 2015, when he appeared in each postseason series and earned a World Series ring.
"He's a great game-caller, receiver, great baseball mind, grew up in the game with his dad [Sal Butera, a former catcher]," Black said. "He brings a lot of intangibles. I got a lot of texts today, a lot of phone calls and voicemails about this fellow. He brings a lot of positives."
Rockies' trade philosophy in 2018
The Rockies added righty reliever Seunghwan Oh before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, signed veteran Matthew Holliday as a right-handed part-time option and traded for Butera. While Oh helped fill a hole in the back-end of the bullpen and Holliday is getting a mix of starts and pinch-hitting opportunities, none of the moves materially changed the team that came into the season.
Is this a sign of how the Rockies will always operate, or will they make a blockbuster in-season move at some point? Black said those decisions aren't an organizational philosophy as much as they're situational.
"Last year, we got a relief pitcher [Pat Neshek] and we got a catcher [Jonathan Lucroy, who handled most of the catching down the stretch] -- those were our needs," Black said. "This year we got a relief pitcher, we added a big, veteran bat -- a guy who hopefully is going to continue to be productive for us, and we've added another catcher.
"I don't think there's one philosophy. You can't be afraid to make a big deal. But a lot of times it makes sense to keep what you have and add some more pieces, depending on your team."
The Rockies' approach came down to one evaluation.
"From my conversations, from my point of view in conversations, we've liked our team all season long," Black said. "And we've played our best baseball the second half of the season, even though the offense is not hitting their stride like we think they can."
Fuentes named PCL MVP
Albuquerque right-handed hitting third baseman Josh Fuentes was named the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player on Friday, after being named to the All-PCL team and the PCL Rookie of the Year. Fuentes is leading the league in hits (171), games played (131), at-bats (536) and total bases (270), and is second in RBIs (93).
Fuentes, 25, who will represent the Rockies in the Arizona Fall League, also happens to be a cousin of Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.
"It's pretty cool; I know the family is pretty excited for him," said Arenado, a candidate for the National League MVP award. "He's worked extremely hard. I saw him play a couple of games, and he's turned into a good baseball player. There are a lot of good players that play in that league."
Arenado lauded Fuentes, who struggled early last season but added a leg kick to his swing and saw his career take off.
"It's not easy to make a change, but he loves the game, he loves playing it and he's a baseball rat just like me," Arenado said.