The Red Sox have designated backup catcher Dan Butler for assignment to make room for lefty reliever Craig Breslow on the 40-man roster.
Boston's last-ditch catching depth for the past two years, Butler has received few opportunities with the big league team, making just seven appearances in 2014 as the Red Sox played out the string in a lost season. While Butler has provided the team with a safety net at a position the farm system has struggled to produce any real talent at for a decade now (yes, Kelly Shoppach counts, sort of), the writing has been on the wall for him as both Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart have proven themselves very real prospects. With Ryan Hanigan coming over from San Diego, an hope that was left to sneak onto the 2015 team as a backup evaporated.
That being said, Butler may well find himself playing in the majors in 2015 all the same. It's hard to find any level of talent behind the plate, and if Butler is not a starter, there are some pretty abysmal backups in the league. Jeff Mathis has been in the majors for a decade now, after all. If he can keep finding a job, surely there must be hope for a 28-year-old with a relatively reliable glove?
If indeed Butler is picked up off waivers, the Red Sox already have some depth at the position to protect Blake Swihart from being called up too early. While Luke Montz is not currently on the 40-man roster, he was signed to a minor league free agent deal this past month, and should be able to cover the backup role in case of an emergency. He's not a great defender, and has seen all of 56 plate appearances in the major leagues, but when you're breaking the glass in case of emergency, you don't expect much.