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 day 4 hours ago (view)
j.girardi did a 2nd interview with PHI on Monday and he's supposedly the favorite for the job.
bradsbeard 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
The draft over the ASB and the trade deadline pushed back until August 15th or so would make sense. Otherwise, I don't know how scouting departments are going to handle the draft lead up and the trade deadline running almost simultaneously.
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
One other thing about MLB player development that is very different from NFL, NBA, and NHL player development is that most MLB clubs have upwards of 300 minor league players under contract (not including players on their MLB 40-man roster, the Cubs presently have 301 minor leaguers under contract on nine minor league affiliates).
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
JUST SAYIN: MLB is the only one of the four major North American professional sports that holds its draft and signs its draft picks during the season.
crunch 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
umpire eric cooper has died...complications from knee surgery (blood clot)...52 years old
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
"MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."
espada's had 2 interviews. for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work. SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.
JustSayin' 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter. MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent. They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players. In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted. For this reason, I'm not sure your point about col
Hagsag 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
Thanks Mr. Phil.
Arizona Phil 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll.
crunch 2 days 9 hours ago (view)
The discussions on this matter have been quite varried. There seems to be a lot of pressure connected to this on minor league team owners who haven't upgraded their facilities/park in a while or who lag in quality compared to their competitors.
It seems like this would not only cause some teams to fold, but some radical redistribution of existing teams/cities into new minor league levels rather than just pruning some teams over others.
Hagsag 2 days 21 hours ago (view)
AZ Phil, what are your thoughts on the discussion to eliminate 42 low minor league teams in 2021? What would this do to the Dominican League? Thanks.
crunch 3 days 3 hours ago (view)
yanks/astros game 6 was a f'n classic. wow.
altuve continues to build his astros legend.
bradsbeard 3 days 17 hours ago (view)
Thanks for this. I agree they’ll probably take their chances in the Rule 5 if he will resign, though I really wouldn’t mind adding him back to the 40 man. I feel like he has a good chance to be effective out of the bullpen.
bradsbeard 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
I hope Sagara doesn’t end up leaving because of the shakeup. The Athletic did report that his position might be eliminated but that he should be offered another role in the organization somewhere. All I know is Sagara’s name came up frequently in connection with the pitch lab, and he was credited for improvements with Ryan, Wick, and Wieck. Maybe he’ll end up focusing more specifically in that role helping guys tweak things in the lab.
JustSayin' 4 days 5 hours ago (view)
Does anyone have insight into the new management hires and musical chairs the Cubs announced yesterday? Craig Breslow might be the only guy out there with extensive MLB experience AND the grey matter to challenge any quant not making sense. His role intrigues me but are they going to give him real responsibility to clear out the deadwood (including the existing minor league coordinator who was never good enough to be the pitchers he's coaching?) Or, is this a superficial change aimed at keeping ownership off Theo's back?
Arizona Phil 4 days 6 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: I think the Cubs want to retain Oscar de la Cruz post-2019, just not on the MLB 40-man roster.