Affiliation Shuffle: Low-A Down to KC and South Bend? Why Myrtle Beach? More

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Affiliation Shuffle: Low-A Down to KC and South Bend? Why Myrtle Beach? More

Chicago Cubs

cubs azl spring training logoWe now know that the Cubs have shuffled their High-A affiliation, which leaves only the questions of full-season Low-A (Kane County), short-season Low-A (Boise), and whether the Cubs add another short-season affiliate.

  • You can read about the Cubs’ departure from Daytona from Daytona’s perspective. While it’s exciting to get to experience a new team in a new league – and one that the Cubs are happy about experiencing – it’s sad to see such a long relationship with Daytona come to a close. It’ll be weird not writing “High-A Daytona Cubs” anymore.
  • Speaking of which, Cubs President of Baseball Operations confirmed to the Tribune, with respect to the move from Daytona/FSL to Myrtle Beach/Carolina League, weather – i.e., the constant rainouts in Daytona – played a significant role. He added that Myrtle Beach is the “type of franchise where you jump at the opportunity to get in there,” and the Carolina League is the best, in the Cubs’ opinion, of the High-A leagues for player development.
  • As for Kane County, Epstein wouldn’t comment directly, other than to say that the Cubs mere took the procedural step of giving themselves the option of moving around, and the Cubs have been trying to get KC to implement certain player facilities upgrades for a while (CSN).
  • There are but three other Midwest League franchises whose PDCs expired, and one of which – Beloit – probably doesn’t have the facilities the Cubs would be looking for. That leaves only South Bend and Fort Wayne … the latter of which just re-upped with the Padres.
  • That, then, leaves only South Bend as a plausible alternative for the Cubs in the Midwest League. The Silverhawks wanted the Cubs two years ago before they settled on the Cougars. Since then, South Bend – like Kane County – has started the process of implementing certain facilities upgrades. As the crow flies, Kane County is obviously much closer to Chicago, but, in terms of actual transit, the difference is only about 30 to 40 minutes. Further, there’s probably a touch more potential to lay down some new fan roots in South Bend, as opposed to suburban Chicago, where there’s already a strong Cubs fan base. I can see the attractiveness of a move, even if KC has been a great partner for the Cubs for two years.
  • Whichever direction the Cubs go, it’s probably going to be focused on player development: which franchise best serves the Cubs’ long-term development interests? There is still about two weeks left in which to make that decision.
  • (Aside: you have to wonder, given limited teams shuffling in MWL … did Fort Wayne leave things open for a chance at the Cubs? And then, perhaps yesterday, it became clear they weren’t going to fit?)
  • As for the Boise Hawks, there’s no update. The Cubs are expected to find a new short-season Low-A affiliate, either in the Northwest League or another league.

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Author: Brett Taylor

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