This is one of those good news, bad news situations, where I guess it’s actually mostly just good news, even if it’ll make us wait a little longer for minor league baseball (that’s the bad news part).
The AAA season is reportedly being delayed until the start of the rest of the minor league season, with alternate site work taking its place for the month of April:
Alternate sites are coming back — and the AAA season, which was scheduled to begin April 6, will be delayed for at least a month, sources tell ESPN.
News at ESPN on the reason for delay, the wait for vaccines and how this alt site will differ from 2020's: https://t.co/zRRT6mn7Nz
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 2, 2021
The good news part here is that the reason for the delay is not anything bad or scary: it’s actually because the vaccines have come so quickly. Organizations, knowing that it’s now pretty likely they can have most players vaccinated within the next few months, are more inclined to hold off on risking minor leaguers playing in April all over the country, and then having to figure out the logistics (and exposure risk) of a call-up. (I expect the AAA clubs don’t hate this either, as a later start could mean more attendance at their games, which rely heavily on attendance to stay in the black when they host games.)
Jeff Passan’s article there has far more detail, but the gist is: alternate site in April with a AAA-ish roster in place, and then all minor league seasons kicking off the first week of May. Hopefully, by then, players will have been vaccinated. For the Cubs, the alternate site may once again be at South Bend, and while those players are doing that in April, the rest of the minor leaguers will be having their Spring Training in Arizona.