Kansas City Royals: Taking Stock – Backup Catcher

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 9: Kolten Wong
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 9: Kolten Wong /

Right now the backup catchers for the Kansas City Royals are playing leading roles. That should change in the near future. When it does Ned Yost and Dayton Moore will have a roster decision to make.

While the Kansas City Royals are walking the fine line between contention and the team’s future, the choice between Cam Gallagher and Drew Butera affects both.  The team is not likely to carry three catchers when starter Salvador Perez returns from injury. Therefore, once Sal is back behind the plate, only one of the current backstops will be in the dugout.

The question I have is: Who should that player be?

Every indication is that Perez will be returning to the Kansas City Royals lineup very soon. That is great news, especially to this writer. We have seen the team struggle since he hit the DL. Updates such as this one from Joel Goldberg are very exciting:

So who remains in the backup spot?

Drew Butera

  • Third season with the Kansas City Royals
  • Signed through 2018
  • .270/.323/.365

Drew has been the backup to Perez since he was acquired from the Angels in 2015. Some of you may remember he was behind the plate when the Kansas City Royals clinched the World Series. If not here is a little reminder:

Seriously, will that ever get old?

Butera has had the reputation of a solid backup. I will not argue that. With Perez out though his weaknesses have shown up. Everyday playing time just does not seem to fit Drew all that well. Prior to a four-hit game on Sunday, he had gone 4 for 19 in August with an RBI and no extra base hits.

Clearly Butera is the most likely to remain on the roster when Salvy returns. However, I believe the rookie is giving Yost and Moore some food for thought.

Cam Gallagher

  • Rookie season
  • Under team control through 2022
  • .300/.417/.700

Before people get up in arms, yes the sample size on Cam is much too small. I get that. His offense is just not predictable right now. Still, hanging grand dong for your first major league homerun is fun:

The biggest positive that Cam has going is his connection with fellow rookie Jake Junis. The two have played together in the minors and Cam has been Junis’ battery mate for his last two starts. Starts that included an eight inning outing against Seattle and another quality start versus Oakland.

The best thing about those games…they both resulted in Kansas City Royals wins.

If Junis is to remain in the starting rotation, and indications are for that to be the plan, then it may be difficult to break these two up. Sal has long needed more of a break from behind the plate. Allowing Cam to be the personal catcher to Junis would accomplish that.

Is there anyone who would argue against Salvy catching four games and Gallagher one? Especially if it continues with similar results? 

The Kansas City Royals need to get solid production day in and day out if they want a shot at the postseason. Right now keeping Cam on the roster appears to accomplish that. One would have to assume that he is a part of the long-term plans for the team as well.  That being the case, the more experience he gets now, the better he should be down the road.

Could the Kansas City Royals keep both players? With September just around the corner it could actually work. The team could option one of the bullpen arms in order to keep both players. Once rosters expand in September it would no longer be an issue.

This could also be an interesting situation in the off-season. For now though the Kansas City Royals need to worry about winning games in 2017. They need to roll with whatever players give them the best shot NOW.

Next: Playoff Picture

So what do you think Royals Nation? Who needs to be taking the lion’s share of the work until Salvy is back? Who needs to be the primary backup once he is? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.