Chicago Cubs might need to say goodbye to Grimm and Butler
Where to go?
Since Butler isn’t currently projected to be in either the starting rotation or the bullpen he is the one who is most at risk for not making the team out of spring training. Butler might have been pushed off the Cubs roster even before Darvish signed.
Montgomery was the pitcher was most likely to grab the No. 5 in the rotation. However, it is possible that the Cubs would have preferred to keep Montgomery in the bullpen and have Butler in the rotation.
Last year the Cubs depended on Butler to be their primary starting pitching depth in the minor leagues. Alec Mills and Rob Zastryzny dealt with injuries for most of the season. Jen-Ho Tseng eventually made a start in Chicago at the end of the season. However, he began the year at Double-A, so he needed most of the year to get to the point where the Cubs considered him as a possibility to make an emergency start.
The Cubs will have an impressive group of starters on the 40-man roster. Mills, Tseng, Zastryzny and Luke Farrell will all have either previously made starts at the major league level or have at least pitched in the majors and are starting pitchers at the Triple-A level.
So last season the Cubs had almost zero starting pitching depth at the minor leagues aside from Butler. This season even without Butler the Cubs should have several options to choose from if the need arises.