Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dodgers foolishly send Miguel Sulbaran to Twins to finish Butera deal

The Dodgers on Tuesday completed their acquisition of Drew Butera from the Minnesota Twins for left-hander Miguel Sulbaran.

You read that correctly. Just when it seemed the "old" Ned Colletti was gone, he sprouts up again.

Sulbaran, 19, was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2011. He was one of the Loons' most consistent pitchers this season. In 92 2/3 innings, Sulbaran had some impressive numbers:

3.01 ERA
1.25 WHIP
0.3 HR/9
2.6 BB/9
8.3 K/9
2.76 FIP

He compares favorably to Julio Urias -- physically. That's pretty much where the comparison stops. He's 5'10, 185 pounds, but doesn't have the velocity and command of multiple pitches the now-17-year-old does.

Look, I understand Sulbaran is probably nothing more than a reliever in the majors -- if he even gets there -- but the fact the Dodgers traded him for one of the worst hitters in MLB history is mind-boggling.

Seriously, Butera has the third-worst OPS+ among players with 500 or more plate appearances in MLB history. Some in this exclusive club include Kevin Cash (2002-10, 37 OPS+), Donnie Sadler (1998-2007, 39) and failed former super prospect Brandon Wood (2007-11, 40).

It doesn't have anything to do with the fact the Dodgers traded Sulbaran. He's a decent arm whom I ranked at No. 20 (and No. 30 before the season). His 87-91 MPH fastball isn't going to blow hitters away, but he controls it well enough to go with his low-70s fastball, a changeup and an extremely fringy slider.

Butera, 30, will probably not don a Dodger uniform, so the Dodgers effective gave away Sulbaran for a no-hit (literally) catcher. Do not like.

Photo credit: CourtneySilvia, Flickr


  1. Sulbaran grows another inch or two, puts on a little more muscle, and that fastball would now sit in the low 90s. Someone teaches him how to refine his changeup, and he can become a member of a major league starting rotation. Someone taught Johan Santana a changeup after he was a Rule 5 draftee. I'd have no problem with this trade if Sulbaran were a righty, or if we got back someone better than Drew Butera. The guy we traded for is the type of player for whom you trade an old bag of baseballs, not 19-year old ERA leaders in Single A with a K/BB ratio of 3.15.

  2. And he's been much better as a starter. In his 16 starts, his ERA is 2.33, his K/BB is 3.22, and his WHIP is 1.15. Ugh.

  3. This type of trade leads you to believe there may have been some character/immaturity issues for Sulbaran. Sure he's only 19, but the Dodgers have been making excellent personel decisions as of late. This trade probably goes beyond the numbers.

  4. A twins fan thinks this was great. Buterable is not worth a roster spot but Gardy loved him.

  5. There's something to be said for adding catching depth. I suspect management was worried if something were to happen to Ellis or Fed, there's not a whole lot of experience past those two.