Chicago Cubs: Eddie Butler may be crowded out on North Side
Eddie Butler had an opportunity when he cracked the Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation. Command issues, however, contributed to his struggles in 2017.
Remember the pitcher who made his eagerly anticipated first start for the Chicago Cubs one spring night last May?
Yep! We’re talking about Eddie Butler.
Brett Anderson had gone on the disabled list, never being the effective fifth starter he was intended to be. Butler came up from Iowa and delivered six solid innings against the Cardinals, his best start of the following 11 he would make. The experiment served as an alternative to something better eventually coming along.
With Kyle Hendricks dealing with time on the DL, Jake Arrieta‘s initial struggles, and Jose Quintana never really entering into anyone’s minds until the day he was officially traded to the North Side last July.
Butler struggled with command (4.61 BB/9, 11.8 BB percentage), did not rely on strikeouts (4.94 K/9) and you grew to hope for at least five innings per start. It became something of a Butler/Mike Montgomery tandem when Butler’s rotation day came up, but then Montgomery cracked the rotation.
At the same time, Butler held opponents to a .244 batting average, by far the best of his career, and showing a sort of promise on the mound. Walks, though, were his constant downfall.
Eventually, Butler headed back to Iowa and was virtually never heard from again. I still forge an excited oh yeah as I tend to forget about him. He would have qualified as a callup when September rosters expanded, but instead, was dealing with an injury.
Based on how things went in 2016, we know the Cubs will do better than to assume Butler can occupy a long-term starting role. He likely best suits the team as an innings-eater out of the bullpen.
The thing is, as our good friends over at Bleacher Nation remind us, Butler is out of options. They also go a little more in-depth with the struggles that accompanied Butler in 2017.
Just like the Cubs worked out a trade for Butler after the Colorado Rockies designated him for assignment last February, Chicago would risk losing him in a similar manner should they expose him to waivers, hoping he goes unclaimed on his way to the minors.
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Also, Montgomery already has the long-innings role locked down, and while still possibly a potential dark-horse rotation candidate. Mind you, the Cubs are very in on Alex Cobb, and the possibility still remains of adding the intriguing Shohei Ohtani into the mix. Jen-Ho Tseng, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, should also have an opportunity for a major league roster spot in Spring Training.
We will have to wait and see on Eddie Butler.