Cubs Notes: More Minor League Affiliates on the Move

The game of minor league affiliate musical chairs continues.

After previously switching the High-A affiliate from Daytona to Myrtle Beach, the Cubs announced yesterday they have agreed to a Player Development Contract with the South Bend Silver Hawks. The move has the Cubs’ Low-A team moving from Kane County, where this year they won the Midwest League Championship.

The new location may be disappointing for some Cubs fans — South Bend is a tad farther from Chicago than Kane County — but it sounds like the decision was purely a player development issue. Bruce Miles reports that the locker rooms, weight rooms and offices will be renovated within South Bend’s Four Winds Field.

“I wouldn’t be doing my job if we didn’t do the right thing for our young players. One area where we don’t mess around is in player development,” Theo Epstein told the media before Thursday’s game.

The South Bend franchise is scheduled to unveil a new name, logo and uniform on Thursday, Sept. 25.

Oregon’s Register-Guard is reporting that the Cubs have also signed a two-year agreement with the Eugene Emeralds. The Cubs have not announced the news officially yet. The move would be for the club’s short-season A-ball team, previously located in Boise.

Lots of changes, but seems to be for the better of the organization. If it means the Cubs can get closer to winning a title, then I am all for it.

Other notes

* A lot of attention was given to Jake Arrieta — justifiably — after his near-no-hitter on Tuesday night. Fangraphs has an interesting article on the right-hander, including info on how he has worked on his throwing motion with pitching coach Chris Bosio and how he has started stepping more toward the right-handed batter’s box, as opposed to straight toward home plate. The article is definitely worth checking out.

* In case you forgot, Darwin Barney is on the Dodgers now and he spoke to the media before Thursday’s game. He said it was “strange not to be counting down the days” until the end of the season. Barney will likely be heading to the post-season this year with Los Angeles. Seems like a good guy, so it’s a nice story. However, I’m definitely glad he won’t be manning second base next year for the Cubs.

* Another guy I would look forward to not seeing at second base anymore: Logan Watkins. The former Cubs minor league Player of the Year in 2012 made two errors is Thursday’s game against the Dodgers. He has six errors in only 22 games. Side note: It sure does tell you something that only a couple years ago, a player such as Watkins was winning the Cubs’ minor league POY. Last year, Javier Baez won the honor, and this year it was Kris Bryant. Huge difference.

* Thursday’s starter Tsuyoshi Wada said after the game that it was his last start of the season. The Cubs have a $5 million option for him next year. Gordon Wittenmyer had said the Cubs would not be picking up the option, but it is unclear whether he was simply speculating.

* After Wednesday night’s start in which he pitched eight scoreless innings, former Cub Jeff Samardzija has given up zero runs in five starts between the Cubs and A’s this season. His teams are 0-5 in those games. That is just nuts.

* Anthony Rizzo has been named the winner of the 2014 Branch Ricky Award, which recognizes players who give back to their communities and act as a role model for young people. It has been a great year for Rizzo on multiple levels.

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