Red Sox Catcher: A Feel Good Story

Photo Credit: AP

The Boston Red Sox Dan Butler will soon return to the minors where virtually all of his ten professional seasons have been spent. But Butler has attained two important items – a pension and health insurance for life.

Dan Butler will soon be sent packing to Pawtucket (AAA) and that may already have happened. The story of Butler is a footnote for the season of being in the right place at the right time with an injury to Blake Swihart.  Butler also had the misfortune of others for his latest short-term MLB adventure.

The catching trio at Pawtucket should have been Jake Romanski and Oscar Hernandez with Mike Ohlman another possibility. Romanski is a long time Sox farmhand and Hernandez a free agent signing that both had something in common before the season starting bell – suspensions for PED’s.

Butler can’t hit and even at Arizona State Butler did little. As an undrafted free agent, Butler has labored the bulk of his career within the Red Sox organization graining a reputation as a good defensive catcher, excellent footwork, accurate arm, handles pitchers well, blocks errant pitches, and tries to do best he can with the stick.

The important number for Butler was attained in his 2014 visit to the Red Sox roster – 0.045. A number that each and every call up strives to reach Butler has already passed and that is 0.043 or service time. Service time is time on the roster even if you do absolutely nothing but sit.

For each quarter (43 days) of active service you complete during a championship season (or one year of credited service if you are in active service for the full championship season), up to a maximum of 10 years of active service. – MLB Pension

Butler will have his pension at age 65 and he’ll collect $34,000 a year, but since Butler had one day on the roster a second big prize is also added on – health care for life that is fully employer funded. If Butler stays around his pension will increase each quarter attained (0.043).

Butler will also collect a major league minimum salary ($545K) pro-rated for his days on the roster. I would also expect Butler to be part of the end of season exodus from the minors that arrives in Boston for most of September. The salary for Butler’s 2018 service time will in all likelihood exceed his minor league salary despite the relatively short stay.

Dan Butler will have a long career in baseball if he chooses. Butler knows the game and knows the hard work and will undoubtedly be a coach or manager in the low minors to start and – as with his dabble in MLB – attempt to work his way up the organizational food chain.

Butler is a feel-good story for me and is far from the Mookie Betts or J.D. Martinez attention-grabbing. A grinder of a player who has managed to complete a childhood dream and play with the big boys. I fully expect Butler to be in an MLB dugout as a manager and maybe quicker than one would expect.

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About Rick McNair

Born in Boston and have lived in the area all my life but not as a Red Sox fan. My first game was actually at Braves Field where I saw a very young Eddie Matthews hit a home run. The Braves left and I quickly switched loyalties. I enjoy discussing the Red Sox past and the connection of that past to the present. I will often bring in remembrances of that into posts. As a retired teacher I have the time to occasional travel to foreign baseball soil and love meeting up with other fans of RSN on the road. I am also a fan of the NY Football Giants (via NJ) - a dwindling breed in Massachusetts.
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