After 14 seasons, the Cubs have apparently decided to leave Boise, and so they will now be looking for a new advanced Short Season (SS-A) affiliate in the Northwest League (NWL) to replace the Hawks. Salem-Keizer and Eugene would be their two most-likely destinations (presuming the Cubs opt to remain in the NWL), since both have an expiring Player Development Contract (PDC) with their current MLB partner. (The Cubs had a PDC with Eugene prior to moving to Boise).
The Cubs have already renewed their PDC with the AA Tennessee Smokies through the 2018 season, and their PDC with AAA Iowa extends through 2016. But there are three Cubs PDCs set to expire after the 2014 season:
The VSL Cubs begin their 68-game 2014 season tomorrow morning with a game against the VSL Phillies.
Dillon Maples, Jen-Ho Tseng, Felix Pena, and Ivan Pineyro threw "live" BP this morning, as Cubs minor leaguers had their first full-squad work-out at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
2014 CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS (last updated 3-6-2014):
10/2 UPDATE: LHP Rob Zastryzny (Cubs 2013 2nd round draft pick) has been added to the Cubs AZ Instructional League roster.
9/19 UPDATE: Carrie Muskat posted the updated 2013 Cubs AZ Instructional League roster yesterday at MLBBlogs Network, and that roster shows that RHP C. J. Edwards and OF Kevin Encarnacion have been deleted from last week's AZIL preliminary roster, and 16-year old OF Eloy Jimenez (the top-rated international prospect from 2013) has been added.
Here is the preliminary 2013 Cubs Arizona Instructional League (AZIL) roster (subject to change):
The most exciting thing around the Cubsverse right now is the minor leagues competing in the playoffs. Meaningless as a victory may be to the big league club down the line, it's fun to follow and have a rooting interest in something, other than the Cubs losing for a better draft pick slot.
Jeimer Candelario singled and doubled and knocked-in a run, helping the Cubs defeat the Angels 3-1 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe.
Shawon Dunston, Jr drove in three runs with a two-out two-run RBI single that capped a four-run 1st inning and a solo HR leading off the bottom of the 6th, and Dan Vogelbach singled and scored in the 1st and clubbed a tape-measure HR over the RF fence in the bottom of the 7th to put the game away, leading the Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the Brewers in Opening Day AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
According to the Mayan calendar, the Cubs will win the World Series in 2012, causing an apocalypse about six weeks later.
So since it's getting late, here's a look ahead at what the Cubs roster might look like in about six months, and what the player payroll obligations will be going into the historic 2012 season.
This does not address potential free-agents the Cubs might pursue or players the Cubs might target in a trade, although it should give you some idea of how much the Cubs might have available to spend for free-agents.
Minor League Field Coordinator Dave Bialas and the coaching staff at Fitch Park have completed their final observations and evaluations of the newly-signed draft picks, and so here are the rosters for the Boise Hawks ands AZL Cubs as of 7 AM (MST) this morning: