After being designated for assignment last offseason after five rocky years in the Colorado, Eddie Butler was shipped to the Cubs prior to the 2017 campaign. The former top prospect was utilized as a true swingman with his new club, making eight starts with Triple-A Iowa and 11 starts with the big-league team. The 26-year-old was able to piece together a serviceable 3.95 ERA with Chicago, but his 5.59 xFIP was more indicative of Butlers' performance at the big-league level. Over 54.2 innings with the Cubs, the righty nearly recorded more walks (28) than he did strikeouts (30). Butler has never been much of a strikeout pitcher, and his career-high 12 percent walk rate was a discouraging sign. The Cubs are expected to bring in multiple rotation reinforcements this offseason, so Butler's time as a starter may have come to an end.
Butler was placed on the 7-day disabled list at Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday with an undisclosed injury. Since being sent back to Triple-A Iowa on July 18, Butler has posted an ERA of 4.50 in three starts (14.0 innings) with 13 strikeouts. However, he still has a 2.17 ERA in 45.2 innings with the top minor-league affiliate.
Butler was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Butler posted a serviceable 3.86 ERA as a big-league starter this season, but with John Lackey returning to the rotation and Jose Quintana entering the fold as well, there was simply no room on the roster for the former first rounder. He'll likely act as a rotation piece for the I-Cubs until another starter is needed in Chicago.
Butler will make the transition to the bullpen, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. With the addition of Jose Quintana and the return of Kyle Hendricks (hand) on the horizon, Butler will slide to the bullpen for the foreseeable future. During 12 appearances (11 starts) this season, Butler has posted a 3.88 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP. It will be interesting to see how Butler does coming out of the bullpen, as his 30:27 K:BB doesn't make him a strikeout pitcher by any means. On the flip side, he has done a great job limiting home runs during his time on the mound, allowing just four over the course of 53.1 innings in 2017.
Butler (4-3) allowed no runs on four hits and three walks along with a hit batsman while striking out one across four innings, but didn't factor into the decision Friday against the Pirates. Butler left the contest with a four-run lead, but after burning through 86 pitches, he was removed before qualifying for a victory. He's failed to make it into the fifth inning in three of his last four starts, but he's allowed one or fewer runs in three games during that span, making him a player who's an emerging fantasy option with a respectable 3.86 ERA. He'll make his next start at a time yet to be determined after the All-Star break.
Butler (4-3) allowed four runs on five hits and three walks through 3.2 innings in Saturday's loss to the Reds. He struck out two. Butler used just 35 pitches over the first three innings before imploding during a four-run fourth inning that he didn't complete. He walked in a run before allowing a go-ahead, two-run single to Jackson Stephens, Cincinnati's starting pitcher. The 26-year-old has only made it six innings in one of 10 starts this season, in part due to a high 4.56 BB/9, while his 4.18 ERA and 5.32 K/9 also limit his value outside of deeper leagues. Still, with Kyle Hendricks (hand) likely out until after the All-Star break, Butler should stick in the rotation. His next start is scheduled for Friday against the Pirates.