The Tennessee Smokies (Class AA; Southern League) and the Chicago Cubs extended their player-development deal through the 2014 season.
“It is a great privilege and honor to extend our PDC (player development contract) with the Smokies organization,” said Cubs Vice President of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita. “The East Tennessee community, Brian Cox, Doug Kirchhofer and the rest of the staff at Smokies Park have been very accommodating. The Cubs are very grateful and proud to be part of the Tennessee Smokies family.”
The PDC was last extended with a two-year extension through 2012 in December 2007.
“This will mark another great day in Smokies baseball history with the extension of the player development contract with the Chicago Cubs,” said Smokies General Manager Brian Cox. “On behalf of the Smokies organization, I would like to thank the Chicago Cubs for having the confidence in us to help develop their players at the Double-A level.
“The past 4 seasons we have seen what a rich baseball tradition the Cubs have brought to East Tennessee and we look forward to many more years with them,” Cox added. “I would like to thank Oneri Fleita, for all the assistance he has given us over the past 4 years to make this partnership work for both the Smokies and the Chicago Cubs.”
In their four seasons as the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate, the Smokies have reached the postseason three times, including back-to-back North Division championships in 2009 and 2010. More than 30 Smokies players have gone on to play for the Cubs, including current stars Andrew Cashner, Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija. The Smokies have also benefitted from the Cubs national popularity with a combined attendance of 1,030,898 at Smokies Park in four seasons, including setting a Smokies Park single-game attendance record (7,728) last season.
“We are thrilled to build upon our already strong relationship with the Smokies,” Fleita added. “In addition to the superb amenities, the team has provided our coaches and players with a sate-of-the-art ballpark. The Cubs’ staff, coaches and players love everything the Smokies organization has to offer.”
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