Cubs Playing Musical Chairs - Some Affiliates Hear "Go Cubs, Go" Ringing in their Ears
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 Cubs own their AZL Cubs, DSL Cubs, and VSL Cubs affilates).
There was talk last month that the Cubs were mulling over the possibility of moving their affiliate in the Midwest League (MWL) from Kane County to either South Bend (new playing surface) or Fort Wayne (best stadium in the MWL), but recently announced plans to make improvements/upgrades at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva should mean the Cubs will renew their PDC with Kane County.
But the relationship between Cubs and their "Hi-A" Daytona affiliate in the Florida State League (FSL) is another matter.
The Cubs have had their Hi-A affiliate in Daytona for 22 seasons, but because of the high number or postponed games (rainouts) in the FSL, the Cubs had been making plans to move therir Hi-A affiliate from the FSL to the California League back when Oneri Fleita was the Cubs Player Development Director. But probably because of the change in ownership and the hiring of Theo Epstein & his people, the PDC with Daytona was renewed for another two years in 2012. However, this time I would expect the Cubs to make their move.
Back when Theo was GM of the Boston Red Sox, the BoSox moved their Hi-A affiliate (Sarasota) from the FSL to the Carolina League (Wilmington, NC) and then to the California League (Lancaster), before eventually purchasing an affiliate (Salem, VA) in the Carolina League. While some minor league affiliates are owned outright by MLB clubs (the Braves all of their minor league affilates except one), it is fairly rare. But since Theo was involved in the Red Sox purchase of the Salem club, I think it's plausible that the Cubs will attempt to do the same (if possible).
Prior to moving to Daytona in 1993, the Cubs Hi-A affiliate was in Winston-Salem, NC, so the Cubs (like the Red Sox) do have a history in the Carolina League.
At present it would appear that there are no plans to expand either the California League or the Carolina League beyond each league's present number of affiliates, so the Cubs would probably be restricted to taking over a Carolina League or California League affilate from another MLB organization where the PDC is set to expire after this season.
If the Braves relocate their Carolina League affiliate from Lynchburg, VA, back to Myrtle Beach, SC, the Cubs and Rangers (who are presently in Myrtle Beach) could compete to replace the Braves in Lynchburg, with the chance to possibly move the Lynchburg club to a new ballpark in Wilmington in 2016 when the Royals PDC with Wilmington is set to expire.
Another possibility would be for the Cubs to move their Hi-A affiliate temporarily to Lancaster, CA (the same place the Red Sox moved their Hi-A affiliate when they left Wilmington, before eventually purchasing the Salem club), and then try and work out a deal to purchase a Carolina League club (Wilmington?) in 2016 if they can't get it done this year. (The Houston Astros presently have their Hi-A affiliate in Lancaster, but they are the only Florida Spring Training team with a Hi-A affiliate in the California League, so it would make sense for Houston to move their Hi-A affiliate from the California League to the FSL).
One other issue the Cubs have with their minor league affiliates is that they probablty could benefit from another short-season team in the U. S.
Fully 1/3 of the 30 MLB clubs (AZ, HOU, KC, NYM, NYY, PIT, STL, SEA, TB, and TOR) have three short-season affiliates in the U. S., but the Cubs have only two. (The Cubs are one of 12 MLB clubs with two affiliates in Latin America). The Cubs had about a half-dozen pitchers signed after being selected in this year's Rule 4 Draft who couldn't be activated right away because there was no room on the AZL Cubs or Boise rosters (35 player roster limit at AZL Cubs and 30 player roster limit at Boise). With 70+ players on the rosters of their two affiliates in Latin America (DSL Cubs and VSL Cubs), the Cubs have twice the number of players on their two Latin American teams as was the case when they had just the one Latin American affiliate (DSL Cubs) pre-2008, so that some of the players have to be left in the DSL or VSL for an additional year only because there is no room for them on the AZL Cubs roster.
Prior to leaving the Cubs, Player Development Director Oneri Fleita had supposedly proposed that the Cubs add a second team in the AZL (AZL Cubs #2), but the plan was rejected. The Yankees are the only MLB organization with two teams in the same league outside the two Latin American leagues (GCL Yankees #1 and GCL Yankees #2 in the Gulf Coast League - Florida's version of the AZL), so while having two teams from the same organization in the AZL would be a first for the AZL, it really would be no different than the Yanks fielding two teams in the GCL. Like the Cubs, the Yankees have two Latin American teams (DSL Yankees #1 and DSL Yankees #2), and the two Yankee DSL teams (70 players) feed players to their two GCL teams (also 70 players). The Yankees also have a short-season team in the more-advanced New York-Pennsylvania League (NYPL).
Another option would be for the Cubs to place a short season affiliate in either the Pioneer League (with teams in Montana-Idaho-Colorado-Utah), the Appalachian League (with teams in Virginia-West Virginia-North Carolina-Tennessee), or the NYPL (with teams in New York-Pennsylvania-Ohio-Connecticut-Massachusetts-Vermont), thereby providing a third U. S.-based short season affiliate in addition to their affiliates in the NWL and the AZL. (Both the Pioneer League and the Appalachian League are considered "Rookie" leagues like the AZL and GCL, while the NYPL is equivalent to the NWL). Both Orem, UT, and Great Falls, MT, have expiring PDCs with their MLB partners post-2014, should the Cubs opt to establish a third U. S. short-season affiliate in the Pioneer League.
The Cubs had an SS-A team in the NYPL (first in Geneva, NY, and then in Williamsport, PA) prior to moving to the NWL (Eugene) in 1999, so moving their SS-A affiliate from the NWL (Boise) to the NYPL (Hudson Valley?) would not be that much of a surprise.
Arizona Phil 4 hours 5 min ago (view)
The Cubs have purchased the contract of 25-year old 6'5 260 RHP Adam Heidenfelder from Gary (American Association) and he has been assigned to the ACL Cubs.
Hagsag 14 hours 13 min ago (view)
Does anyone know what type of injury Amaya has?
Hagsag 14 hours 17 min ago (view)
I can not believe what a good 3b he has been playing.
Wrigley Rat 20 hours 7 min ago (view)
Robert Stock was claimed off waivers by the Mets.
crunch 22 hours 7 min ago (view)
HR in the 8th. dope.
crunch 1 day 17 min ago (view)
he's back out in the field in the top 3rd...must be okay, but he sure doesn't look confidently healthy. *shrug* off-day tomorrow...
crunch 1 day 27 min ago (view)
p.wisdom seems to have injured his right leg/knee swinging a bat...
crunch 1 day 49 min ago (view)
“It did not feel good to take Javy out of the game,” Ross said. “I never feel comfortable doing that at all. That's a pit in my stomach and it was in my stomach the entire game.”
“I blame it on myself. I lost the count of the outs,” Báez said. “We talked about it. We're on the same page. I'll be there tomorrow to help the team.”
First.Pitch.120 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
The thing that gets me is that she cheated with the guy providing religous-based pre-marital counseling. Hmmm... this guy is abusing his (quasi-)professional couseling position to pursue an intimate relationship; forgot the parts of the Bible about lying, cheating, & doing dirty by the 2016 WS MVP; and clearly has very conflicted feelings on the marriage construct... yep, I'm blowing up multiple people's lives to ride-or-die with THAT guy.
Hagsag 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
I am with my hero Zo.
crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
whole zobrist thing got fleshed out (no pun) in public now...
Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have signed C Harrison Wenson (ex-LAA) to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to Hi-A South Bend. Wenson spent five seasons in the Angels organization, and he got an NRI to MLB Spring Training as an extra catcher with the Halos this past spring.
crunch 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
69 (nice) pitches...goes 4.2ip and leaves with a man on 1st
4.2ip 3h 1bb 5k, 3r/er (2hr)
alzolay continues to have the HR screw him over. 12 given up in 62.1ip
crunch 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
d.ross pulls baez for alcantara for what was either a mental mistake forgetting the outs or totally not hustling by baez in the bottom 4th running the bases.
cubs are down by 1.
hell of manager power play. hope this plays out well...expect it will.
crunch 2 days 29 min ago (view)
nico expected back in early july...duffy had a "setback" and is in limbo...bote has started baseball activities, but nowhere near a return time.
crunch 2 days 45 min ago (view)
haha. ump checked alzolay's hat and glove between innings and declared it all clear.
stuff so nasty they wanna make sure you're not on that "sticky fingers" bandwagon.