Wut the … Ian Happ Sent to AAA, Where He Will Open the Season

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Wut the … Ian Happ Sent to AAA, Where He Will Open the Season

Chicago Cubs News, Chicago Cubs Transactions, Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

To say this was not on my radar is one of those once-or-twice-annual understatements. I have been out to dinner with The Wife, and then my phone started blowing up.

So, I’m just gonna drop the info and try to process what the eff is going on: Ian Happ is being sent to AAA to open the season. He is not making the big league team. Yes, he’s had a rough spring and yes, he had an atrocious second half, but still – the upside in that bat and the versatility seemed to make him a lock to be on the roster when the season opened. We just did not see this coming.

Happ, it seems, did not see it coming either, and he’s understandably upset.

It is undoubtedly true that Happ will play more regularly at Iowa than he would with the Cubs, where his playing time in center field and second base were necessarily going to be limited thanks to the presence of Albert Almora, Ben Zobrist, Daniel Descalso, and David Bote. It is also true that heading to AAA, even for a semi-established player, can be a very helpful thing (see Kyle Schwarber a couple years ago). Still. It’s just such a jarring decision.

Apparently it was unanimous, though:

Hopefully they can get him on board with this in time, and hopefully Happ embraces the situation, destroys AAA in the way he needs to do in order to best translate it to more consistent contact at the big league level. His upside offensively remains really significant thanks to his natural power, excellent discipline, and switch-hitting. You have to balance his long-term development against fielding the best Day One roster, and I understand that. It feels like the Cubs are better with him on the roster, but I do understand the desire to make sure he reaches that next level.

In the meantime, there will be another roster spot available, and it figures to go either Mark Zagunis or Cristhian Adames, at first glance, each of whom has performed quite well this spring and could be a complementary piece early in the season. Adames, unlike Zagunis, is not on the 40-man roster, so he would have to be added. Adames also does not have minor league options remaining, unlike Zagunis.

Much more on this decision, and the fallout from it, soon.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.