The Chicago Cubs have renewed four affiliations through 2022, including the Iowa Cubs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), Tennessee Smokies (Class AA; Southern League), Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A; Carolina League), and the South Bend Cubs (Low A; Midwest League).
Those renewals represent two-year extensions of player development contracts (PDC) that were to run through 2020. The Eugene Emeralds (Short Season A; Northwest League) signed a four-year extension with the Cubs in August.
“We could not be happier to extend our five affiliates through at least the next four seasons. The clubs have been wonderful partners for our players both on the field and in their respective communities,” said Jason McLeod, the Cubs Senior Vice President, Scouting and Player Development. “Continuing these relationships with our affiliates is a testament to each club’s leadership, first-class staff and facilities and loyal fan bases.”
The affiliation between Iowa and Chicago began in 1981, with Iowa adopting the Cubs moniker in 1982. Of the 160 teams in Minor League Baseball, this is the ninth-longest current affiliate relationship between a major league team and a minor league club. This extension guarantees at least 42 years of partnership between Iowa and Chicago.
“We are excited to continue our long-standing partnership with the Chicago Cubs,” said Sam Bernabe, Iowa Cubs President and General Manager. “The stability of the Cubs in Des Moines means a lot to our fan base and our community. We couldn’t ask for a better partner through the last 38 seasons. We look forward to the next four seasons and beyond with the Chicago Cubs.”
Since beginning their affiliation with the Cubs in 2007, Tennessee has posted a 858-809 record (.515) through the 2018 season. Seven of the twelve completed seasons have ended with a winning record for the Smokies during the affiliation with the Cubs. The Smokies have appeared in the Southern League Playoffs five times since the affiliation began in 2007.
At the end of the 2022 season, the Smokies will have been affiliated with the Cubs for 16 seasons, which would mark the second-longest stretch for the Smokies club. Tennessee was affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays for 23 seasons from 1980 through 2002.
“We are thrilled to announce the extension of this great partnership with the Chicago Cubs,” said Smokies President and COO Chris Allen. “It is very exciting to continue to work with one of the most recognized teams in all of sports, as well as to continue to be a part of one of the best farm systems in Minor League Baseball.”
Myrtle Beach joined the Cubs organization beginning in 2015. At least one Cubs minor league team has won a league championship in each of the last six seasons beginning in 2013, including the Pelicans in both 2015-16, Eugene in both 2016 and 2018 and the Arizona League Cubs in 2017.
“We are delighted to continue to be a part of the Cubs family and look forward to working with the City and County in the coming months to evaluate how to assure that TicketReturn.Com Field meets the needs of Major League Baseball and the Cubs for many years to come,” said Pelicans General Manager Ryan Moore.
Since becoming a Chicago Cubs affiliate, over 1.3 million fans have come to Four Winds Field to watch the South Bend Cubs in action. In those four years, four Chicago Cubs players were sent to South Bend on a rehabilitation assignment: Dexter Fowler (2016), Jason Heyward (2017), Yu Darvish (2018), and Drew Smyly (2018) and five former South Bend Cubs reached the Major Leagues with Chicago: Ian Happ, David Bote, Dillon Maples, James Norwood, and Duane Underwood Jr.
“It’s rare in today’s modern system to see an affiliate renew so early,” said Andrew T. Berlin, Owner & Chairman of the South Bend Cubs. “Our original contract began with the 2015 season and already have two extensions of that deal. Chicago recognizes our commitment to developing their players with our world-class facilities and the dedication our fans have for the Cubs players. As the Ivy at Berlin place nears completion, Four Winds Field will give the future Cubs a small taste of what the atmosphere will be like at Wrigley Field.
“The Cubs front office would not renew our Player Development Contract if they did not believe we were the best fit,” said Joe Hart, President of the South Bend Cubs. “The developments in and around the stadium show not only are we committed to Chicago, but our commitment to providing the best experience for our fans. We could not be more pleased to continue our relationship with the Cubs.”
RELATED STORIES: Emeralds, Cubs Extend PDC Through 2022