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.
crunch 2 hours 49 min ago (view)
cubs taking full advantage of that "night games deal" with the wrigleyville neighborhood...almost all the home games will be night games.
8 home day games, 6 on the weekend.
crunch 17 hours 51 min ago (view)
deleted that link. it was a republished-to-feed article, not a new one, so it's not very useful.
cubbies.4ever 18 hours 39 min ago (view)
Is Cubs 3rd draft pick Jordan Nwogu not going to sign? Most teams are done signing. Since the Cubs have the other 4 signed there's not a question of negotiations. I thought Little (using his viral video of 105 mph as leverage) or Moreno being a promising HS SP would be the tough ones.
Jackstraw 18 hours 45 min ago (view)
Apparently being run by the same guy who put Quintana in charge of washing dishes.
Cubster 19 hours 9 min ago (view)
Joey Gallo tests Positive.
Cubster 19 hours 34 min ago (view)
4-29-20: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told "FOX & Friends" Wednesday morning that he expects to see life go "back to normal" in the U.S. by June and "the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again."
Well, that prediction has held up especially well in FL, TX, AZ and CA
George Altman 20 hours 6 min ago (view)
I'm beginning to think maybe this guy doesn't have a good grasp on being President.
crunch 21 hours 35 min ago (view)
"Angels summer camp workouts are optional on Monday due to COVID-19 testing delays.
The testers simply failed to show up to Angels camp on Sunday, and there were also apparently some shipping issues with samples during the July 4 holiday weekend. The Astros, Nationals, and Cardinals have outright canceled their Monday workouts because of delays within MLB's testing protocol."
neat. this is going just great.
but hey, i'm sure a month from now we'll be done with all this crazy virus stuff going on...as players consider multi-game road trips through FL/TX/AZ/CA.
Arizona Phil 23 hours 13 min ago (view)
With players dropping like flies and others opting-out, methinks the MLB season could resemble the last three innings of a Cactus League Spring Training game.
Cubster 23 hours 13 min ago (view)
Cubs first Wrigley game is vs Brewers per Sun-Times. Full Schedules to come out in an hour.
Cubster 23 hours 36 min ago (view)
Dodger stadium Covid testing site was closed without notice today. Long lines, pissed off people. ClusterF*cked Americans as the virus spreads. Here is the WSCR link that says KB is pissed about the lax testing by MLB.
Cubster 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
Dodger's Stadium is a testing site. Except, you can't just get a test. You have to be symptomatic. Cough, cough...this is really not going well.
Cubster 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
Worrisome. Astros and Nats cancel workouts because of Covid testing delays.
Trumpy: "Anyone who wants a test, can get a test." 3-6-20. Four months ago.
crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
"Yu Darvish threw his new pitch, a two-seam/splitter hybrid, during his first intrasquad game appearance on Saturday.
Darvish, who already had 10 different pitch variations in his arsenal, is calling this new pitch "The Supreme.""
crunch 1 day 23 hours ago (view)
"I've been thinking about it and been thinking about it before we put out that statement," (Terry) Francona said. "I know in the past, when I've been asked about, whether it's our name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we're never trying to be disrespectful. And I still feel that way, but I don't think that's a good enough answer today. I think it's time to move forward. It's a very difficult subject. It's also delicate," he said.