The Cubs’ search for pitching depth continued Wednesday with their trade for right-hander Eddie Butler, a once-promising prospect who was designated for assignment by the Rockies over the weekend.
The change-of-scenery move for Butler, 25, adds another arm to an organization whose farm system has no projected impact starting pitching close to big-league-ready.
Butler, who has a 6.50 ERA in 36 career big-league appearances (28 starts) over parts of three seasons, is expected to open the season in Class AAA Iowa’s rotation.
The Cubs have all four starters from last year’s World Series rotation returning. Left-handers Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson, who was recently signed, are expected to battle for the fifth-starter job during spring training, which opens Feb. 14.
Butler, who reached a No. 24 ranking on Baseball America’s prospect list before the 2014 season, was acquired for minor-league right-hander James Farris in a deal that also included a swap of international signing slots.
With five years of club control, Butler could turn into a high-value acquisition if he finds any semblance of success under pitching coach Chris Bosio and the minor-league staff.
The Cubs sent the No. 28 signing slot (and corresponding bonus allotment) to the Rockies for their No. 94 slot — a net gain of $328,500 for the Rockies to spend on international amateurs without penalty.
Butler was a supplemental first-round pick in 2012, selected 46th overall, but the ground-ball pitcher struggled with command, averaging four walks per nine innings in 159 1/3 innings for the Rockies.
Farris, 24, was a ninth-round pick out of Arizona in 2014. He has a 2.91 ERA in 88 career minor-league appearances, all in relief. He finished last season at Class AA Tennessee.
Right-hander Dylan Floro, who was claimed off waivers from the Rays two weeks ago, was designated for assignment to make room on the Cubs’ 40-man roster for Butler.
Floro debuted in 2016 and had a 4.20 ERA in 12 relief appearances.
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