Cubs Acquire Eddie Butler from Rockies
The Cubs have acquired 25-year old RHSP Eddie Butler from the Colorado Rockies for 24-year old minor league RHRP James Farris. To make room for Butler on the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), RHP Dylan Floro (acquired off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays last month) has been Designated for Assignment;
As part of the transaction, the Cubs and Rockies also will exchange 2016-17 International Signing Bonus Value (SBV) slots, with the Rockies acquiring the Cubs #28 SBV slot and the Cubs acquiring the Rockies #74 SBV slot. The difference between the two slots is $211,800 in International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) "cap space," meaning the Rockies can now spend $211,800 more in signing bonuses in the 2016-17 International Signing Period (ISP) than they otherwise would have been able to spend without incurring a penalty, and the Cubs can spend $211,800 less than their original 2016-17 ISBP (which was $2,063,200) before incurring a penalty. However, the Cubs are restricted from giving an Intenational free-agent subject to ISBP limits a signing bonus in excess of $300K in the 2016-17 ISP because they exceeded their 2015-16 ISBP by more than 15%, so the loss of $211,800 in 2016-17 ISBP "cap space" probably doesn't matter a whole lot to the Cubs. Colorado has no such restriction in the 2016-17 ISP, however, so adding $211,800 in 2016-17 ISBP "cap space" is obviously seen as a "plus" for the Rockies. Again, this part of the trade involves adding/subtracting ISBP "cap space." No money was exchanged.
About the players...
6'2 180 Timothy Edward "Eddie" Butler was selected by the Rockies out of Radford University in the Supplemental 1st round (#46 overall) in the 2012 draft ($1M signing bonus), taken with a compensation pick awarded to the Rockies for losing FA 2B Mark Ellis. And Butler was a stud MLB pitching prospect right from the gitgo. He was rated by Baseball America as the #6 prospect in the Pioneer League in 2012 and the Rockies #6 prospect after the 2012 season, and his fastball (clocked at 99 MPH at Instructs post-2012) was rated best in the Rockies system in 2012. He was also rated by BA as the Rockies #2 prospect and the #24 prospect in baseball after the 2013 season, and the #3 prospect in the Texas League in 2014 and the Rockies #6 prospect and the #77 prospect in baseball after the 2014 season. He featured a 94-96 MPH fastball (touched 97-99) with sinking action, a plus-change-up, a curve, and a slider back then, offset by command issues. So he was considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball as recently as two years ago (heading into the 2015 season).
Butler had his contract selected and he was called-up to Colorado on June 6, 2014, but finished the season on the DL with a right rotator cuff injury. He has really struggled at the big league level, posting a 6.50 ERA and 1.77 WHIP in 159.1 IP (36 games - 28 GS) 2014-16, and he struggled at AAA Albuquerque 2015-16 as well. His fastball velocity has been down ever since the shoulder problem (blamed on "overthrowing" his fastball after getting called up to the big leagues in 2014), his breaking ball has been flat, and his once plus-change-up has been MIA. His star has fallen to such an extent that he was Designated for Assignment last week (making room on the Rockies MLB 40-man roster for FA RHRP Greg Holland).
Although he has used three minor league options through the 2016 season, Butler is eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2017, so the Cubs can send him to the minors in 2017 without exposing him to waivers. Ideally he would go to Iowa and (hopefully) get both his stuff and his confidence back and get himself ready to compete for a job in the Cubs MLB starting rotation in 2018 (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, and Brett Anderson are free-agents after the 2017 season). and also be available for a recall if the Cubs need an extra starter at some point in the 2017 season. Maybe Butler just needs a change of scenery (getting out of the "launching pads" in mile-high Denver and Albuquerque can't hurt) and a fresh start (and maybe a new pitching coach, too!). Getting traded to the Cubs worked pretty well for Jake Arrieta, and maybe it will work for Eddie Butler as well. Time will tell.
James Farris was a 9th round draft pick of the Cubs out of the University of Arizona in 2014. He has moved rapidly through the Cubs system and ended the 2016 season as the closer at AA Tennessee (13 saves and a 2.59 ERA, .204 OppBA, a 0.98 WHIP, and 17/74 BB/K in 66 IP combined between Myrtle Beach and Tennessee in 2016). He then pitched very well in the Arizona Fall League (no runs and only five hits allowed with 2/12 BB/K in eight appearances and 10 IP for the Mesa Solar Sox), earning him an NRI to Spring Training. While he doesn't throw particularly hard (low 90's fastball), Farris has a decent breaking ball and outstanding control and keeps the ball down in the zone. He reminds me a lot of RHP Zack Godley (like Farris, a polished college pitcher selected in the first ten rounds of the June Draft), who was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Miguel Montero trade a couple of years ago. I would not be at all surprised if Farris makes his MLB debut in 2017, and he's the type of pitcher who could do very well in Coors Field.
The fact that the Cubs were able to claim Dylan Floro off waivers last month means no other club put in a claim (the Cubs have last waiver claim priority), so it's very possible that the Cubs will be able to get Floro through waivers now. If they can, Floro will get assigned outright to AAA Iowa and will very likely get an NRI to Spring Training (he was already coming to Spring Training with the big club anyway before he was Designated for Assignment).
crunch 1 hour 47 min ago (view)
nice. i love seeing the undrafted who still try to make a career get a shot.
it seems he's somewhat recently hit 97mph on his fastball which helped attract some interest.
good luck to the dude.
Arizona Phil 2 hours 57 min ago (view)
The Cubs have released eight players from their Dominican Academy: RHRP Donato Auguste, RHRP Marco Encarnacion, RHRP Rodrigo Garcia, RHRP Francisco Gracia, LHRP Anderson Parra, RHRP Willians Vasquez, 1B Jeinser Brete, and OF Kevin Miranda.
Arizona Phil 3 hours 17 min ago (view)
Rex Brothers has one minor league option left and Article XX-D status (so he can elect free-agency if outrighted) if he were to be added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2020.
Arizona Phil 3 hours 25 min ago (view)
RHSP Max Bain (contract acquired by Cubs from Utica Unicorns of USPBL last week) minor league UPC has not yet been filed with MLB.
Arizona Phil 3 hours 30 min ago (view)
The Josh Phegley, Bryan Brickhouse, Rex Brothers, Juan Gamez, and Caleb Simpson minor league contracts have been filed with MLB, but the Tyler Olson and Jason Adam contracts are still pending.
Arizona Phil 4 hours 43 min ago (view)
The Cubs have signed LHRP Rex Brothers (ex COL, ex-ATL), RHRP Bryan Brickhouse, RHRP Juan Gamez (pitched in Mexican League in 2019), and RHRP Caleb Simpson to minor l;eague contracts, and Brothers is the only one of the four likely receive an NRI to Cubs MLB Spring Training.
crunch 20 hours 28 min ago (view)
""There’s a lot of disrespect from people there that I don’t want to be a part of," Arenado said. "You can quote that." Arenado added, "You ask what I thought of Jeff’s quotes and I say I don’t care what people say around there. There is a lot of disrespect."
The third baseman didn't want to elaborate on what he felt was disrespectful, but clearing the relationship between Arenado and the front office needs to be repaired."
crunch 21 hours 46 min ago (view)
some good news...or bad news depending on how you feel about it...for the k.bryant trade market...
"Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich on Monday indicated that Nolan Arenado will not be dealt prior to spring training and trade talks involving the third baseman are off for now."
now MLB and crew need to decide whether bryant has an extra year of club control or not...still waiting...
rangers, braves, and nats are supposedly looking at 3rd base upgrades. cards are, too, but bryant to the cards would be a mutiny level trade decision.
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
"Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Marlins, Cubs, Rangers, and Brewers are "believed to be among the teams with some interest" in free agent reliever Pedro Strop.
Nicholson-Smith on Sunday that Strop had three offers in-hand (two from NL clubs and one from an AL club) and will likely make his decision soon."
crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
meanwhile "bitpartisan" lawmakers are working as hard as they can to make sure many labor/pay protection laws applicable to other workers don't apply to minor league teams for many years now by coding it into law or attempting to...
some of these same people are now crying foul over MLB team owner's plan to get rid of dozens of minor league teams for restructuring in order to save $$ by billionaire team owners.
"hey, we're doing this favor for you at the expense of workers. remember this!" - lawmakers
"oh, we will." - MLB team owners
Charlie 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
Fair pay for minor leaguers and international free agents would soften the blow of nickel and diming the MLB payroll for sure. It won't happen until the players union represents minor league interests, of course, unless an outside law suit forces the minimum wage issue.
crunch 2 days 18 min ago (view)
without fail, at the end of every minor league spring training period (which is extremely poorly paid, not at all for the most part) there comes some retirements that seem to be a bit "early" in their development when players slog through weeks of low/no pay only to find out they're being assigned to a low level that barely pays them. it's a real morale crasher after going through weeks of poverty that breaks some guys. that's no way to run things...
JustSayin' 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
So true. The minors these days is an odd mix of the few who get big bonuses with Hispanic guys for whom $1,200/month might be good money and college guys being partly subsidized by middle or upper-middle class families. You don't hear much about minor league economics when the discussion turns to lower participation by black players but I believe it's a big factor. If you need to use sports to get ahead, would you rather have your "internship" involve a free college education, or $6,000 a year?
crunch 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
there are more than a few minor league players that have to "retire" from minor league ball in order to start making real money in the real world for their real lives while those from more wealthy families get to follow their dreams a bit longer.
that's a real shame.
JustSayin' 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
Theo got a good question at the conference on minor league salaries and went on record that they are unfair. That was followed by "keep your ear to the ground" or some similar cliche. I find this interesting. Fan dissatisfaction this offseason is maily focused on ownership being cheap but you have to admit there is a (slim?) chance that the baseball moves we want to see are not currently possible. It's hard to say the same about MiLB salaries. Those don't even factor in the luxury tax. You could raise every player in the system to middle class for the cos
Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
As part of the 2019-2020 Cubs offseason dumpster diving extravaganza, I wonder if they will kick the tires on Zack Cozart. Can handle 2B SS 3B and isn't far removed from being a great defender and at least decent hitter. 2 years of injury is a concern, but he'd receive only ML minimum.