Butler agreed to a contract Monday with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization on a one-year, $1 million contract that includes a $200,000 signing bonus, Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency reports.
The 27-year-old recently lost his spot on the Rangers' 40-man roster and was subsequently outrighted to the minor leagues. Rather than accepting a minor-league assignment and remaining a member of the Texas organization, Butler will bolt overseas for a more lucrative payday than he would have earned stateside. Depending on how well he performs in Korea, Butler could generate renewed interest from MLB teams when he becomes a free agent next winter.
Butler was sent outright to Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday.
Butler was removed from the 40-man roster to make room for minor-league prospects prior to the Rule 5 draft. The 27-year-old made 30 relief appearances between the Cubs and Rangers in 2018, posting a 5.62 ERA and 1.57 WHIP with 29 strikeouts over 49.2 frames.
Butler allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits over 4.1 innings of relief in Tuesday's loss to the Dodgers. He struck out two.
Butler has been used primarily as a multi-inning reliever since being acquired by the Rangers and was stretched out enough to throw 68 pitches Tuesday. That's more than starter Ariel Jurado, who was given the hook after 2.2 innings and 61 pitches. Jurado is not assured of a next start, so manager Jeff Banister will explore all options, including giving Butler a start. The 27-year-old right-hander has made 39 starts during his career for the Cubs and Rockies, but nothing in his track record or his performance with the Rangers inspires confidence. He has a 5.65 ERA over 192.2 innings as a starter and is sitting on a 7.11 ERA in 10 outings since coming to Texas in the Cole Hamels trade.
Butler will get multi-inning duty as the Rangers evaluate him as a possible starter, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Manager Jeff Banister wants to get a better feel for where Butler may fit in the team's plans.
That experiment began Thursday, when Butler finished up the final 3.2 innings of Texas' 17-8 win over the Orioles and picked up a save in the process. The 27-year-old, who was acquired from the Cubs as part of the Cole Hamels trade, had been used primarily as a starter with the Cubs and Rockies before pitching exclusively out of the bullpen in 2018. Banister intends to have Butler piggy-back with a current rotation member in an effort to stretch him out, with an eye toward having him compete as a starter next spring.
Butler was traded to Texas on Thursday alongside Rollie Lacy and a player to be named later in exchange for Cole Hamels.
Butler made eight appearances for the Cubs this season after dealing with a groin injury for a couple months, logging a 4.08 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 17.2 innings of relief. Look for him to be deployed as a multi-inning reliever in a similar capacity to what he was in Chicago, although given the Rangers' patchwork pitching staff Butler could get stretched out and slide into the rotation as well.
Butler (groin) allowed one earned run over two innings in Tuesday's loss to the Diamondbacks, which marked his first appearance at the MLB level since April 19.
Butler's season barely got started before he was shut down with a right groin strain, so it was good to see him back on the hill Tuesday. If the 27-year-old righty can stay healthy, he figures to serve in a long-relief role the rest of the year for the Cubs.
Butler (groin) was activated from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday.
Butler has been out since late April with a strained right groin. He had a 4.30 ERA in 14.2 innings prior to the injury and is expected to fill a long-relief role in Chicago. Luke Farrell was optioned to Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move.
Butler (groin) made his second rehab appearance at Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks over 1.1 innings.
Butler has been on the disabled list since late April with a right groin strain. The issue looks to be behind him now that he's pitching in games again, but Butler's results thus far at Iowa probably won't accelerate a return to the big club. He's given up seven runs across 2.1 innings and could stick in the minors for the full 30-day rehab window before being activated.
Butler (groin) was shifted to the 60-day disabled list Monday, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports.
The move freed up a spot on the Cubs' 40-man roster for the addition of Anthony Bass, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Iowa on Monday. Butler has been on the disabled list since April 20 with a groin injury, and he'll now be sidelined until at least June 20.
Butler (groin) has been limited to throwing bullpen sessions at extended spring training since landing on the 10-day disabled list in April, Patrick Mooney of The Athletic Chicago reports.
It's unclear when Butler will progress to facing hitters, but based on where he's at in his recovery, it seems unlikely that he'll be an option for the Cubs bullpen until June. Prior to hitting the DL with the strained right groin, Butler had assumed a long-relief role for the Cubs, posting a 4.30 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 14.2 innings.
Butler was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a right groin strain Friday, Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com reports.
It's unclear when the injury cropped up, but it could help explain his awful appearance in Thursday's game against the Cardinals. Butler's return timetable hasn't been set at this point. Luke Farrell will take his place in the Cubs' bullpen for the time being.
Butler (0-1) threw seven innings of relief Friday, allowing one run on four hits and a walk while striking out five, but he took the loss as the Cubs fell 2-1 to the Marlins in 17 innings.
The right-hander helped save the Cubs' bullpen by throwing 90 pitches after entering the game with two outs in the 10th inning. Butler's reward was to end up on the wrong end of the decision, though, when Javier Baez couldn't come up with a tough grounder in the 17th, putting runners on first and second with two outs and setting the stage for Miguel Rojas' game-winning hit off Brandon Morrow. Butler won't be seeing action again any time soon given his workload in this one, and over the course of the season his fantasy value figures to be minimal working in long relief.
Butler won the Cubs' final bullpen spot Wednesday, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic Chicago reports.
Butler pitched 54.2 innings for the Cubs last year, primarily as a starter. He recorded a 3.95 ERA, though his 5.59 xFIP indicated that he got very lucky. He struck out just two more batters (30) than he walked (28). The 27-year-old righty could be next in line after Mike Montgomery to receive spot starts, though if he pitches like he did last season, he's perhaps more likely to be off the roster entirely.
Butler is in the mix for the final spot in the Cubs' bullpen to open the season, Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com reports.
Rogers also comments that Butler may have an edge on the competition both because he's out of options and because manager Joe Maddon has expressed a desire to have more than one long reliever in the bullpen. The former Rockies farmhand has allowed just two runs with a 4:2 K:BB in 6.2 innings this spring, and his ability to make spot starts as needed is a decent selling point as well. If he doesn't grab the final spot in the relief corps, Randy Rosario, Anthony Bass or Justin Hancock could win the job instead.
Butler (undisclosed) made his Cactus League debut Saturday against the Rangers, covering 1.2 innings and allowing an unearned run on two hits and two walks.
Butler didn't pitch after Aug. 6 last season after succumbing to an injury while with Triple-A Iowa, but it doesn't look as though he's facing any limitations in spring training. While the 26-year-old looks to be in sound health, he likely won't have a serious case for winning an Opening Day roster spot with the Cubs having seemingly settled on a five-man rotation of Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood. Look for Butler to hold down a rotation spot with Iowa for much of the campaign.
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.
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2012||R-Grand Junction Rocki||67.2||13||12||0||7||1||0||55||13||59||2.14||1.071|
|2014||AAA-Colorado Springs Sky||5.1||1||1||0||0||1||0||4||3||8||10.59||2.157|