Archive - Jan 2018

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January 18th

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):

January 13th

January 12th

MLB Salary Arbitration On Deck

1/12 UPDATE #2

Kris Bryant ($10.85M) and Addison Russell ($3.2M) signed 2018 contracts Friday evening and so they will not be going to a salary arbitration hearing next month. 

This leaves Justin Grimm as the only Cub who will be scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing next month (unless he signs a contract in the meantime). Since the Cubs offered Grimm $2.2M and Grimm requested $2.475M, an agreement could very well be reached long before the hearing (the mid-point would be $2,337,500).   

1/12 UPDATE #1

Kyle Hendricks ($4.175M), Tommy LaStella ($950K), and Justin Wilson ($4.25M) signed 2018 contracts prior to the 1 PM (Eastern) deadline, while Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Justin Grimm remain unsigned and (unless an agreement is reached in the meantime) are headed for salary arbitration hearings next month.