The Cubs improved their upper level pitching depth on Wednesday, acquiring right-hander Eddie Butler from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for minor league reliever James Farris. The Cubs also sent their 28th international bonus slot money to the Rockies and received Colorado’s 94th bonus slot.
Considered a potential front-line starter after getting drafted in the first-round in 2012 out of Radford, Butler shot up the minor league ranks with the Rockies and was one of the top pitching prospects in 2014. But the success he found in the minors has not translated to the big league ranks. Despite his plus stuff, Butler hasn’t missed many bats at the big league level, sporting a 1.77 WHIP and surrendering 28 homers in 159.1 innings. Despite his plus stuff, Butler’s K/9 is just 5.3 in the bigs while issuing four walks per nine. The 25-year-old features a sinking fastball in the mid-90s, an above average slider as well as a curve and change-up.
The trade doesn’t come with many risks as the Cubs are still subject to the $350,000 signing limit for international prospects so they can afford to give up the slot money. They’re also trading Farris at the peak of his minor league value and receiving a project with huge upside. The Rockies had designated Butler for assignment before making the deal with the Cubs.
Farris was the Cubs ninth round pick in 2014 out of the University of Arizona and is coming off his best season as a pro. Sporting a fastball that tops out at 95, Farris also features a slider in the mid-80s. The right-hander started the year in Myrtle Beach (17 G, 30 IP, 8 SV, 0.93 WHIP) and earned a June promotion to AA where he added five more saves in 26 games, holing AA bats to a .209 average. The 24-year-old rose his stock in the Arizona Fall League, tossing 10 shutout innings in eight appearances.
To make room for Butler on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated RHP Dylan Floro for assignment. Floro was claimed off waivers from the Rays back on Jan. 17.