The original player development contract, signed before the 2015 season, was a four-year deal running through 2018. This extends that deal by two years. The extension is no surprise: the deal has benefited both the Cubs and South Bend, as Four Winds Field attendance is up extensively since the 2016 transition.
“The original four-year contract we signed with the Cubs was already unheard of,” said South Bend Cubs Owner Andrew T. Berlin. “Their typical deal is two years. So extending South Bend’s affiliation through the 2020 season is truly unprecedented. It means Chicago recognizes that the fans in this region who welcome and follow our players are on par with the fans at Wrigley Field. And it means that our South Bend operation is living up to the promise we made about helping future Chicago Cubs players make it to the World Series someday.”
“Andrew Berlin, Joe Hart and the entire South Bend front office have worked hard to make their organization the best in minor league baseball,” said Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. “They have provided our players with first-class facilities which has translated to success on the field, as evidenced by this season’s first-half division title and strong representation in the Midwest League All-Star Game. Their organization, as well as the South Bend community, has been a tremendous asset to our farm system.”
“This is a great vote of confidence in our operation, our city and every fan who comes to Four Winds Field,” commented Joe Hart, President of the South Bend Cubs. “The Chicago Cubs management team is the best in the business. So, when they want to renew with our management team and this city, especially so soon, it really says a lot about what’s happening here at Four Winds Field.”
“We are pleased to extend our relationship with South Bend for at least the next four years,” said Chicago Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod. “From capital upgrades of Four Winds Field to an outstanding front office team led by Andrew Berlin and Joe Hart, their organization has been an exceptional partner every step of the way. Our young players will continue to greatly benefit from their time with the South Bend Cubs and the local community.”
“I said it publicly back in September of 2014 when we announced our affiliation with the Chicago Cubs,” added Berlin. “The Cubs were impressed with this city, this region and everyone who lives here. They knew their players would be in good hands. This new Player Development Contract is validation of that original decision and a reflection of their ongoing confidence in all of us.”
You can view the current state of affiliation deals here. Besides extension of current deals, there are rumblings about other shifts that will affect the state of things in 2017 and beyond — shifts in addition to the Cal-to-Carolina changes for 2017.