In a move that could spawn some tampering charges and fines, sources with the Chicago Cubs say they're working on a new affiliation deal with the Kane County Cougars (Low Class A; Midwest League).
While the move is certainly more convenient for the Cubs -- Kane County plays in Geneva in the western-Chicago suburbs -- the timing of the 2013-2014 affiliation deal, as first reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, is troubling. Technically, MLB and MiLB teams aren't supposed be talking new affiliation until the current one ends -- and in the case of the Cubs, that deal is with the Peoria Chiefs and ends in two weeks. Any MiLB team talking new affiliation is subject to tampering charges and a fine of $25,000, levied by MILB President Pat O'Conner. Chiefs president Rocky Vonachen says this all is news to him (indeed, the Cubs and Chiefs used to be tight; Pete Vonachen was honored at Wrigley Field as recently as last year), and we're guessing the Cougars' current affiliate, the Kansas City Royals, is equally surprised.
Now, informal talks between teams are not uncommon, and there were rumblings the Cubs would be seeking a new Low Class A home (we hinted at it here). With the Minnesota Twins perhaps shopping for a new home and Kansas City on the outs, we wouldn't be surprised if a few other Midwest League teams took an opportunity to shop around.
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