Triple-A baseball came to Des Moines in 1968 with the Iowa Oaks, and the Iowa Cubs have carried the torch since 1982. Here's a collection of some of the biggest names and best players during that time.
Mark Marturello and Michael Zamora / The Register
When the Miami Marlins cut Dixon Machado at the end of spring training, the infielder had a decision to make.
He could either go to Triple-A with the Marlins or take his chances with a new team.
He chose the Cubs and signed a minor league deal.
"It's a great organization," Machado said. "Sometimes when you play for a good organization. I'm already 27. It's getting a bit late in my career. So, I have to do something about it. "
Machado is certainly. He's hitting – and doing so about as well as anyone in the entire organization. Machado, a shortstop for the Iowa Cubs, entered Monday's game among the leaders in multiple Pacific Coast League categories: on-base percentage (second, .594), batting average (third, .435) and on-base plus slugging percentage (fourth , 1.1246).
Machado put up during his 26-game spring training stint with Miami, when he hit just .176. The Marlins cut him late in spring training and trying to send him to Triple-A.
Machado, who had signed a minor-league deal with the Marlins in the offseason, had an opt-out clause. He could either head to the minors with the Marlins or go looking for other work when he was cut. Since Miami could not promise Machado consistent playing time he opted to try free agency again.
Shortly after, the Cubs came calling. They offered him a chance to play most of his days in Triple-A and stay at his defensive home of shortstop. Machado could not pass the chance to be in the everyday lineup.
"It gives you confidence, and I feel like that's what you need to get better," he said. "The last couple of years, I've been a utility guy. I have not played every day. So, I feel like I need that. That's why I'm happy to play every day here. "
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Machado, along with Reno's Travis Snider, are the only two PCL players to rank 10 in both batting and walks. During Iowa's 5-4 win this past Thursday, Machado smacked a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth. The opponent: New Orleans, the Triple-A affiliate of the Marlins.
"I've had a good month, and hopefully," Machado said.
Machado, who began his career with the Detroit Tigers, played in 172 big-league games with the organization from 2015-18. After the 2018 season, he became a free agent and landed the minor-league deal with Miami.
Machado said he felt pressure to produce the right way. Pressing his spring training struggles. So, when he landed with the Iowa Cubs, he tried to relax and just had fun.
The approach has worked.
"When I got here, everything was kind of easier," Machado said. "Well, I'm just kind of doing my thing."