In a surprise move the Cubs released Justin Grimm Thursday making room in the bullpen for players that Cubs fans may not be familiar with.  Among the candidates for the open spot are Eddie Butler, Dario Alvarez, Justin Hancock, Anthony Bass, and Randy Rosario.

A quick glance at each player shakes out like this:

Justin Hancock is a right-handed pitcher who was a non-roster invitee to spring training.  Hancock has spent the last seven seasons in the minors (with the Padres organization).  So far this spring, Hancock has appeared in 3 games and has pitched 3 innings, with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks with a 3.0 ERA.  Again, depending on minor league performance, Hancock may get an opportunity during the season, but it is unlikely that the will make the trip north.

Right-handed pitcher Anthony Bass has bounced around the past few years, spending time with the Padres, Astros, and Rangers.  Bass has a career 5-9 record featuring a 4.60 ERA in 131 games and 284 innings pitched.  For Bass it’s doubtful that he makes the big club out of spring training although it’s possible that we will see him at some point during the season.

The first of two lefty’s on the list, Randy Rosario only appeared in 2 games with the Twins last season, pitching 2.1 innings, giving up 8 runs on 7 hits, leaving him with a 30.86 ERA.  Obviously, those numbers are not indicative of the talent that Rosario possesses.  So far this spring, the southpaw has pitched 6.1 innings in 5 games and given up only 3 hits with 4 strike outs.  Rosario has allowed 4 walks in those 6+ innings, so that is something that will need to be worked on before he reaches the majors.

The second lefty is Dario Alvarez.  Alvarez has 56 games and a total of 48 innings pitched in the majors, spending the last two seasons with the Rangers.  His career ERA is 5.06, giving up 31 runs on 56 hits with 61 strikeouts, 10 home runs and 22 walks.  His overall numbers put Alvarez in a good position to fill Grimm’s roster spot, but his work this spring leaves something to be desired.  So far, he has appeared in 6 games, pitched 6.1 innings, given up 6 earned runs, on 6 hits, 6 walks and one home run.  Alvarez does have 9 strike outs in those 6+ innings, but his 8.53 ERA makes it unlikely that he will make the opening day roster.  Make no mistake; Alvarez will spend time in the majors this season.

So that leaves righty Eddie Butler.  Butler has a career 5.85 ERA, with a 10-19 record in 49 games.  Last season he appeared in 13 games and gave up 24 runs on 50 hits in 54.2 innings pitched.  Butler has pitched better so far this spring and looks to be the overall favorite to make the team out of spring training.  In 4 games, Butler has pitched 6.2 innings and given up only 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4 with a 2.70 ERA.  We all know that in spring training, it is a small sample size, but so far Butler’s performance warrants a chance on the big-league roster.

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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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