The Cubs wanted another pitcher who could add depth to the starting rotation or the bullpen and they got it today when they acquired 25-year-old right-hander Eddie Butler from the Rockies for right-handed pitcher James Farris and international bonus pool money. To make room for Butler, the Cubs designated Dylan Floro for assignment.
The Rockies themselves had designated Butler for assignment on Saturday to make room for recently-signed closer Greg Holland. Butler had been one of the top prospects in the Rockies system as recently as 2014, but his major league career has been a series of disappointments. If you want the whole story, I strongly recommend checking out this story on Butler’s career from Purple Row. But a quick look at the numbers shows that Butler went 2-5 with a 7.17 ERA in nine starts and eight relief appearances for the Rockies last summer. It’s not all Coors Field either as Butler posted a 5.30 ERA on the road. But he was a top prospect just recently and clearly Butler is a player that the Cubs feel that Chris Bosio or someone else in the organization can fix. In any case, he provides the depth that the Cubs were looking for, either in the bullpen or in Iowa.
Farris is a pretty terrific story in that he’s was a 9th round pick in 2014 as a senior out of Arizona. He signed for a paltry bonus of $3000 (hey, that’s three times what Ryan Williams got) but has turned himself into a major league prospect. Last season between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Tennessee, Farris went 2-5 with a 2.59 ERA over 66 innings. He saved 13 games in 16 opportunities and struck out more than a batter an inning. Farris had been given a non-roster invitation by the Cubs to Spring Training this year and while he had pretty much zero chance of making the big league club out of Spring Training, it was an indication that the Cubs wanted to get a better look at him for a possible major league role in the future.
The swap of bonus slot positions means that the Cubs will send the Rockies approximately $255k worth of pool money to sign international free agents.
Floro had pitched 12 games in relief for the Rays this past summer before he was designated for assignment in January. The Cubs claimed him on January 17. If another team claims him, his Cubs career will have lasted approximately two weeks in the offseason. I imagine the Cubs hope he clears waivers and stays in the organization.