This is a surprise.
The Cubs today announced that Ian Happ will start the season at Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs said that they wanted Happ to get more playing time to work on making more consistent contact at the plate. The move means that Albert Almora Jr. is likely to play every day in center field, at least to start the season.
It also opens a spot for outfielder Mark Zagunis or infielder Cristhian Adames to make the Opening Day roster. Zagunis is on the 40-man roster and Adames isn’t. However, Zagunis still has options and Adames doesn’t.
Happ had a relatively successful sophomore season in 2018, hitting .233/.353/.408 with 15 home runs in 142 games. However, he did struggle to hit .202/.291/.317 with just three home runs in 117 plate appearances against left-handers. He also struck out a lot.
Ian Happ (2017 and 2018) owns the worst two strikeout percentages for a player in a single season in Cubs history (min 400 PA)— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 23, 2019
Additionally, Happ has struggled to hit this spring, going just .135/.196/.192 in 56 plate appearances.
Happ is reportedly very unhappy about the move.
Happ was apparently quite unhappy w decision. "He's not happy & he shouldn't be happy. He was surprised." Asked if he calmed down by end of convo, "That's pretty personal, I don't want to share that. He wasn't happy. We didn't want it to be that and we did not expect that."— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) March 23, 2019
Ths Cubs also announced that pitcher Alec Mills has been sent down to Iowa and reliever Junichi Tazawa has been released.