Cubs to Add Second AZL Team in 2018
The Cubs will be adding a second team in the Arizona League (AZL) in 2018, which effectively means the Cubs will be able to add 35 additional minor league roster slots (minor league reserve list slots). So they will now have 320 minor league roster slots available in the organization instead of 285.
Former Cubs Player Development Director Oneri Fleita had proposed adding a second Cubs team to the AZL about seven or eight years ago, but it didn't go anywhere at the time.
So the Cubs two AZL affiliates will match their two Dominican Summer League (DSL) affiliates, allowing young Latin players to be promoted from the DSL to the AZL with ease and then be retained for more years than has previously been the case. It will also allow the Cubs to sign more non-drafted free agents (NDFA) after the June draft, and it will also make it easier to get more innings for rehabbing pitchers and more reps for rehabbing position players in AZL games. And if the Cubs were to (let's say) sign two young hotshot shortstops who aren't ready for Eugene, they can both get regular playing time in the AZL (one with AZL Cubs #1 and one with AZL Cubs #2).
The San Diego Padres added a second AZL team last season, the first MLB club to add a second team in the AZL. And along with the Cubs, the Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants will be adding a second AZL team in 2018 as well. So the AZL will now have 18 teams, with the Colorado Rockies still the only MLB club with Spring Training in Arizona to not field even one team in the AZL (although the Rockies do operate one team in the short-season Pioneer League and one team in the short-season Northwest League).
The Detrot Tigers have been operating two teams in the Gulf Coast League (GCL) in Florida for two seasons, and the New York Yankees have had two teams in the GCL for several seasons. So now six MLB organizations (the Cubs, Padres, Giants, Indians, Tigers, and Yankees) will be operating two teams in short-season rookie complex leagues (the rookie leagues that are based at Florida and Arizona Spring Training facilities).
The Cubs are also now one of six MLB clubs with nine minor league affiliates (AZ, HOU, NYM, NYY, and TB are the others). Twelve MLB clubs have eight minor league affiliates, and twelve MLB clubs have seven.
Here are the preliminary 2018 Cubs minor league field staff assignments (some assignments still TBA):
CUBS MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT FIELD STAFF (last updated 1-18-2018)
FIELD COORDINATOR & CATCHING COORDINATOR: Tim Cossins
PITCHING COORDINATOR: Brendan Sagara
ASSISTANT PITCHING COORDINATORS: Mike Mason (full season clubs) and Steve Merriman (EXST & short-season clubs)
HITTING COORDINATOR: Jacob Cruz
ASSISTANT HITTING COORDINATOR: Tom Beyers
INFIELD COORDINATOR: Jeremy Farrell
OUTFIELD & BASERUNNING COORDINATOR: Doug Dascenzo
BASERUNNING INSTRUCTOR: Mike Roberts
LATIN AMERICAN FIELD COORDINATOR: Dave Keller
MENTAL SKILLS PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Josh Lifrak
MENTAL SKILLS PROGRAM COORDINATOR: Darnell McDonald
MENTAL SKILLS COORDINATOR: John Baker
LATIN AMERICAN MENTAL SKILLS COORDINATOR: Raymond Fuentes
IOWA: Marty Pevey (Manager), Rod Nichols (Pitching Coach), Desi Wilson (Hitting Coach), and Chris Valaika (Assistant Coach)
TENNESSEE: Mark Johnson (Manager), Terry Clark (Pitching Coach), Jesus Feliciano (Hitting Coach), and Ben Carhart (Assistant Coach)
MYRTLE BEACH: Buddy Bailey (Manager), Anderson Tavarez (Pitching Coach), Ty Wright (Hitting Coach), and Carlos Rojas (Assistant Coach)
SOUTH BEND: Jimmy Gonzalez (Manager), Brian Lawrence (Pitching Coach), Ricardo Medina (Hitting Coach), and Paul McAnulty (Assistant Coach)
EUGENE: Steve Lerud (Manager), Armando Gabino (Pitching Coach), Osmin Melendez (Hitting Coach), and Jacob Rogers (Assistant Coach)
AZL CUBS #1: Carmelo Martinez (Manager), TBA (Pitching Coach), TBA (Hitting Coach), and Leo Perez (Assistant Coach)
AZL CUBS #2: Jonathan Mota (Manager), TBA (Pitching Coach), Claudio Almonte (Hitting Coach), and TBA (Assistant Coach)
MESA REHAB: Ron Villone (Rehab Pitching Coordinator) and TBA (Rehab Coach)
DSL CUBS #1: Lance Rymel (Manager), Eduardo Villacis (Pitching Coach), TBA (Hitting Coach), Antonio Valerio (Assistant Coach), and Jose Zapata (Assistant Coach)
DSL CUBS #2: Pedro Gonzalez (Manager), Jose Cueto (Pitching Coach), TBA (Hitting Coach), Jovanny Rosario (Assistant Coach), and Carlos Ramirez (Assistant Coach)
MINOR LEAGUE ATHLETIC TRAINING COORDINATOR: Chuck Baughman
ASSISTANT MINOR LEAGUE TRAINING COORDINATOR (MESA REHAB): Jonathan Fierro
LATIN AMERICAN TRAINING COORDINATOR: Jose Alvarez
ATHLETIC TRAINERS: Ed Halbur and Mike McNulty (Iowa), Toby Williams (Tennessee), Logan Severson (Myrtle Beach), James Edwards (South Bend), Sean Folan (Eugene), Ike Ojata (AZL Cubs #1), TBA (AZL Cubs #2), Adrian Pettaway (DSL Cubs #1), and Arnoldo Goite (DSL Cubs #2)
MINOR LEAGUE STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COORDINATOR: Doug Jarrow
STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACHES: Ryan Clausen (Iowa), Jason Moriss (Tennessee), Keegan Knoll (Myrtle Beach), Ryan Nordtvedt (South Bend), Dallas Lopez (Eugene), Mike Megrew (AZL Cubs #1), TBA (AZL Cubs #2), Amaury Gonzalez (DSL Cubs #1), and Manny Estrada (DSL Cubs #2)
Arizona Phil 12 hours 22 min ago (view)
AAA leagues really need to play through the month of September, because with September rosters being limited to 28 instead of 40, players will need to be moved back & forth between MLB and AAA throughout the month of September instead of just through the month of August.
Mike Wellman 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
I get you, SW. Here in Des Moines, Cardinal fans flocked to I-Cub games when Memphis Redbirds were in town. That won't happen in '21 and even if it does in '22 & beyond it won't be as frequent as when they were in the same division. Not that I'll miss seeing Cardinal gear @ our ballpark...
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Ervin claimed by Braves. So we lose a potential future (and also current) asset in exchange for one year of a very mediocre Jake Marisnick.
This team has no direction at the moment.
Sonicwind75 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
As a midwest kid now living in Texas, new scheduling is a bummer. Only get a chance to drive and see Cubs once every 3 years with interleague. Really looked forward to those games in Round Rock and the one season in San Antonio. I understand it makes more sense in the big picture, just selfishly disappointed.
Cubster 2 days 23 hours ago (view)
Barry Foote bobble day! Cool!
Mornington Crescent 3 days 42 min ago (view)
They also gave away Larry Craig bobblefoot dolls as a promotion.
crunch 3 days 16 hours ago (view)
alcantara passes through waivers and is assigned to AAA.
marisnick contract final, phllip ervin (OF) DFA'd
Hagsag 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
Yes they did.
crunch 3 days 19 hours ago (view)
welcome to the "big time" st paul saints...they built a nice park, the fans showed up, and they go from indies to AAA (with a bit of $ help from the twins for part ownership).
billy murray is a part owner of the group that owns the saints, btw.
Mike Wellman 3 days 20 hours ago (view)
Hagsag, the River Bandits made the cut tho, right?
Craig A. 3 days 21 hours ago (view)
Could have an option year remaining. Bleacher Nation walked it back, per the link above.
Hagsag 3 days 21 hours ago (view)
Living in the Quad Cities area, I look forward to hopefully coming to Des Moines to see the I Cubs a few times this summer.
CubbyBlue 3 days 23 hours ago (view)
CTSteve 3 days 23 hours ago (view)
It was time.
Hagsag 4 days 6 hours ago (view)
Love it Jackstraw.
Arizona Phil 4 days 13 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have signed OF Cameron Maybin to a 2021 minor league contract.
Because he was an Article XX-B MLB free-agent post-2020, he gets the automatic $100K retention bonus and June 1st player opt-out if he is not released or added to the MLB 40-man roster by MLB Opening Day.