Before I begin, I want to shamelessly plug the latest podcast entry that Phil and I did for the Big League Baseball Report. In the podcast, we break down the Gary Sheffield trade and make our predictions for 11 of the top FA and their future destinations this off-season. It’s a good listen because Phil and I disagree on almost all of them. If you’d like to listen, click here to be taken to the site.
Alright, now on to the focus of the actual post. Each weekend, until it’s over, I want to let everyone know what is going on out west with our prospected. There are other leagues beside the Arizona Fall League, but none of them are as formal and as easy to follow as the AFL. While no longer a haven for top prospects like it once was, the AFL still is a valuable place to send a guy who needs some extra at bats or wants to work on getting some more experience on the mound before spring training. If you want more information on what the Arizona Fall League is all about, here is a quick blurb from my favorite site, Wikipedia.
The Arizona Fall League is a minor league baseball league which operates during the Fall in Arizona at five spring training complexes. Each August, Major League Baseball clubs hold a position draft to determine the players who will go to Arizona. Most are AA and AAA Minor League players. Each club can opt to send one player considered a Class A player. Only one foreign player is allowed, but only if that player does not come from a region that participates in winter ball. The league is designed for these prospects to refine their skills and perform in game settings in front of major and minor league baseball scouts and team executives, who are in attendance at almost every game. Play begins shortly after the end of MLB’s regular season in early October, and ends in mid-November.
The Arizona Fall League teams are not exclusive affiliates of any one team; instead, each MLB team provides six players who team up to fill the 30-man roster of each team. MLB teams also send coaches. The affiliations generally change every year.
For the Cubs, most of the names playing are not pig ones. However, a few of them could crack the 25 man roster as soon as this year. Here is the list of baby Cubs playing out west.
In other news, I ran across this article in the Tribune this morning. It’s an interesting idea.
If the Cubs are for sale, Don Levin wants to buy them.Amid rampant speculation that Tribune Co. will sell all or some of its holdings, Levin, a wealthy businessman and lifelong Chicagoan, is eager to make a bid on the baseball team he has been rooting for his entire life.
“I would never do this for the money,” said Levin, who owns Chicago’s popular minor-league hockey franchise, the Wolves. “I’d do it to be the guy who after 98 years could help make a winner of the Cubs.”
Levin, 59, said Friday that he planned to call Cubs President John McDonough as a first step in expressing his interest and in ascertaining what Tribune’s plans are for the team and for the company.
“Will they sell it in pieces?” he asked. “Because if they break it up and sell the Cubs separately, I hope they will talk to me. I’ll pay a fair price.
“I’m not a television guy. I’m not a newspaper guy. That part of Tribune Co. is not what I’m looking for. But if they want a sports guy and someone who cares deeply about what happens to the Cubs, that’s me.”
The Wolves have been a very successful franchise that, in my mind, have almost eclipsed the popularity of the once storied Blackhawks. If he can do something like that, I trust he can do what it takes to get the Cubs in a position to win the World Series.
And finally, congrats go out to Carlos Zambrano for winning the Silver Slugger award for the pitcher spot. He’s turning into a beast at the plate. We even joked about putting him in LF this past year. Way to go Big Z!!!