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In the Cubs' effort for major-league ready starting pitching, they struck gold four seasons ago when they acquired struggling 27-year-old Jake Arrieta.The Cubs haven't predicted Eddie Butler will achieve the same Cy Young Award success Arrieta achieved...

Cubs hope change of scenery benefits Eddie Butler as it did Jake Arrieta

In the Cubs' effort for major-league ready starting pitching, they struck gold four seasons ago when they acquired struggling 27-year-old Jake Arrieta.The Cubs haven't predicted Eddie Butler will achieve the same Cy Young Award success Arrieta achieved...

Cubs hope change of scenery benefits Eddie Butler as it did Jake Arrieta

In the Cubs' effort for major-league ready starting pitching, they struck gold four seasons ago when they acquired struggling 27-year-old Jake Arrieta.

The Cubs haven't predicted Eddie Butler will achieve the same Cy Young Award success Arrieta achieved two years ago, but there are parallels that provide hope for a rotation that desperately needs young depth.

"He has a fantastic arm," manager Joe Maddon said of Butler, who is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Reds. "He's definitely in the running down the road. Or if something were to happen, who knows?"

Butler, 25, like Arrieta after he was acquired from the Orioles, needs some polish. Despite a 95 mph fastball, Butler struggled during the last two seasons and failed to live up to his billing as the Rockies' second pick in the 2012 draft, 46th overall.

The Cubs anticipate a change of scenery will help Butler as well as some of the resources that helped Arrieta emerge as one of the top pitchers in baseball.

"It's not like you go to a different team and automatically win a Cy Young," Arrieta said. "It's not that easy.

"He's over here now for a reason. He fits in well. He wants to have success. All those things are in his favor. Everything is here to really help him access his ability on a consistent basis. He's in a good environment here. I think everybody understands that. We're all on the same page. It's possible."

One of the benefits of making the trade with the Rockies (for minor-league pitcher James Farris and an exchange of international bonus slots) is that Butler has one minor-league option remaining that should give the Cubs more time to help him make necessary corrections.

"I think it's a little difficult for me, knowing I have that (option)," said Butler, who was 6-16 with a 6.50 ERA over parts of three seasons with the Rockies. "But from a team aspect, it's very good. In a way, it made me more valuable.

Cubs' Joe Maddon on opening day starter

Cubs manager Joe Maddon on opening day starter and Angels manager Mike Scioscia. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune) 

Cubs manager Joe Maddon on opening day starter and Angels manager Mike Scioscia. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune) 

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"It made teams want to have me much more for the flexibility and it kind of stinks for me not knowing where I'm going to be. I want to be in here fighting for my spot. I'm trying to break with the club and I'll do everything I can to do that."

Butler knows he must regain the sharpness of his breaking pitch and the effectiveness of his changeup so he can become less reliant on his fastball.

"(The changeup) has its days where it's really good as long as I'm throwing through it," Butler said. "It has late bite. It's a pitch I've used in the lower levels, and it hasn't been as effective in the upper levels. I think I was babying it a little bit."

With the Cubs in a win-now mode with a solid young nucleus, Butler will have no more than a year to prove he's worthy of competing for a spot in the rotation next season.

"It's tough to predict the future and say what trajectory his career will be on," Arrieta said. "But his ability is obviously there. He's receptive to new information, which all of us get in pretty heavy doses here because there's so much information to be had.

"Sometimes changing scenery and getting around a different group of guys can be really all it takes to get on the right path."

mgonzales@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @MDGonzales

Caption Cubs' Joe Maddon on opening day starter

Cubs manager Joe Maddon on opening day starter and Angels manager Mike Scioscia. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune) 

Cubs manager Joe Maddon on opening day starter and Angels manager Mike Scioscia. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune) 

Caption Cubs' Joe Maddon on opening day starter

Cubs manager Joe Maddon on opening day starter and Angels manager Mike Scioscia. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune) 

Cubs manager Joe Maddon on opening day starter and Angels manager Mike Scioscia. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune) 

Caption Cubs' Brett Anderson on his first Cactus League start

Cubs pitcher Brett Anderson discusses his first Cactus League start, against the White Sox, on Feb. 27, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs pitcher Brett Anderson discusses his first Cactus League start, against the White Sox, on Feb. 27, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption A Cubs fan named Trudie

Trudie has been a Chicago Cubs fan for most of her life. On Feb. 27, 2017, Trudie purchased a few tickets for the 2017 season. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)

Trudie has been a Chicago Cubs fan for most of her life. On Feb. 27, 2017, Trudie purchased a few tickets for the 2017 season. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Cubs pitcher Pierce Johnson on switching to the bullpen

Cubs pitcher Pierce Johnson discusses his new role in the bullpen on Feb. 27, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs pitcher Pierce Johnson discusses his new role in the bullpen on Feb. 27, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Joe Maddon on White Sox manager Rick Renteria

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses White Sox manager Rick Renteria as well as Cubs pitchers Brett Anderson and Caleb Smith on Feb. 27, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses White Sox manager Rick Renteria as well as Cubs pitchers Brett Anderson and Caleb Smith on Feb. 27, 2017. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

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