Once one of the top prospects in the Rockies' system, Eddie Butler just hasn't been able to find any success at the major league level. The 25-year-old shuttled between Triple-A and the big leagues all season. Although he posted career-best marks in both K/9 (6.6) and BB/9 (3.0), those numbers were still underwhelming, and when paired with his career-worst 1.8 HR/9, it made for an awful year. The right-hander is only 25 years old, so there's still some room for development, but the window is closing for him. With a trade to the Cubs over the offseason, Butler will be hard-pressed to climb above a swingman role in 2017.
Butler was placed on the 7-day DL with Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday with a rolled ankle, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. The injury isn't thought to be overly serious, and Butler should only miss one or two starts. The 26-year-old is off to a nice start at Iowa, posting a 1.46 ERA through 24.2 innings (four starts) this season.
Through two starts with Triple-A Iowa, Butler has allowed just one earned run in 12.2 innings. He's given up 10 hits and struck out seven. After spring training, Cubs President Theo Epstein said Butler would have made the final roster if it had 26 spots, so he clearly impressed the organization after coming over in a February trade. If a rotation spot opens up due to injury of ineffectiveness, expect Butler to get the call.
Cubs President Theo Epstein said Butler impressed during spring training and nearly made the 25-man roster to begin the year, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. Epstein went so far as to say that Butler would have made the roster if it had 26 spots. "He was exactly what we hoped for," Epstein said. A former top prospect in the Rockies organization, Butler offers insurance at Triple-A in case any of the Cubs' veteran starters falter or are injured this season.
Butler was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Monday, Patrick Mooney of Comcast Sports Chicago reports. Butler was solid for the Cubs in spring, recording a 3.07 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over 14.2 innings of work. However, since Butler has options remaining, it was an easy call for the Cubs to stash him in Triple-A as insurance in case any of their veteran starters falter are injured during the campaign. A former top prospect who struggled in the pitcher's nightmare that is Colorado, Butler's status this season will be worth watching.
Butler has made a strong impression on the Cubs since being acquired from the Rockies on Feb. 1, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Most recently, he fired four scoreless innings against the Dodgers on March 16. Talent has never been an issue for Butler, once a top-50 overall prospect as a member of the Rockies' organization. The Cubs can send Butler to Triple-A Iowa without exposing him to waivers, which likely means they'll leave him on the outside looking in at the No. 5 starter role to open the season, but he could be primed to earn an early-season call-up if injuries or ineffectiveness remove Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson from the mix.
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