La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Twins trade Drew Butera to Dodgers

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 31, 2013 - 3:44 PM


The non-waiver trade deadline came and went on Wednesday withthe Twins making one move -  but not a major one.

The Twins dealt catcher Drew Butera to the Dodgers. We have not heard who the Twins received in return.

UPDATE: The Twins, according to a report, will receive a player to be named later for Butera.

Butera, 29, batted .182 in 186 games as a Twin (NL pitchers are currently batting .168). He is the classic backup catcher - excellent behind the plate but struggled to make consistent hard contact. Perhaps a fresh start with help him become passable with the bat. His game-calling skills, however, are top notch. And he was well-liked in the clubhouse.

UPDATE: The Twins, in a release, describe the trade as Butera to the Dodgers for a player to be named later - or cash. Dodgers GM Ned Coletti, while speaking to the MLB Network, said Butera is a candidate to be called up in September. This is a minor league deal, so don't expect much in return.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan was surrounded by his advisors in recent days as they engaged clubs about possible deals.

In the weeks leading up to the deadline, the Twins thought they had a market develop for first baseman Justin Morneau as well as a couple of their relievers. But any potential suitor backed off in the end. It didn't help that the Twins have had a crummy month of July. They are 9-16 this month with one game to go, which most of the roster underperforming. Justin Morneau is at the top of the list, batting .174 with 4 homers. Pittsburgh and Baltimore had expressed interest but not enough to make a deal happen.

Brian Duensing has a 7.15 ERA this month, too, killing any trade value he had. One scout questioned Duensing's ability to get left-handed hitters out.

Baltimore was looking for DH help but - if they weren't concerned enough about Morneau's numbers this month - there were concerns about the $4.6 million left on his contract. The Twins were willing to eat salary to make something happen.
As of late last night, indications from club officials was that there wasn't enough interest in their players - before the Butera deal.

Now we move on to the Aug. 31 deadline, but players have to clear waivers first. Teams also put in claims to block fellow contenders from improving their roster for the stretch run.

Josh Willingham could become a trade chip if he comes back from knee surgery and swats a few homers in August. And the Twins could be back in the mix with teams for Morneau if the slugging Canadian gets his mojo back, Teams could be looking for anything by them, relievers, utility players, remote engine starters - anything.

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