Two big affiliation deals in the Low Class A Midwest League were announced this afternoon: The Cedar Rapids Kernels hooked up with the Minnesota Twins, while the Kane County Cougars signed a new deal with the Chicago Cubs.
For the Cougars and the Cubs, a new two-year player-development contract brings the MLB's Low Class A affiliate closer to the Wrigley Field base of operations, and gives the Cougars a parent within a short drive of the Geneva ballpark.
“We are extremely excited about our new relationship with the Chicago Cubs,” said Cougars General Manager Curtis Haug. “The close proximity between both organizations will be mutually beneficial in numerous ways. We believe that the Cubs organization and their philosophies about the minor leagues, including scouting, player development, and involvement in the community, are a fantastic fit for our franchise.
“The decision to change affiliation is never an easy one, particularly after a tremendous two-year relationship with the Kansas City Royals. Both on and off the field, Royals front office staff and coaches were the epitome of class, and the players represented the Cougars with professionalism throughout our affiliation. We’d particularly like to thank (Royals VP of Baseball Operations/Assistant GM) J.J. Picollo and (Royals Director of Minor League Operations) Scott Sharp, for being so instrumental in ensuring a great personal relationship between both of our organizations.”
“We are excited at the opportunity to work with the Kane County franchise,” said Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting/Player Development Jason McLeod. “The benefits of having one of our minor league clubs this close to Chicago are numerous and we look forward to starting this new relationship.”
The Kernels and the Twins entered into a four-year player-development contract, through 2016.
"The entire Twins organization is thrilled to join into partnership with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and we look forward to working with the Kernels organization on the field and in the community," said Jim Rantz, Sr., farm director for the Twins.
"The Kernels have an outstanding reputation throughout professional baseball and the Twins are excited to bring our players and staff to Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium for the 2013 season. We are confident that this relationship will grow into one of the strongest affiliations in minor league baseball."
Kernels President Gary Keoppel said, "We are very excited to begin a new chapter in Kernels baseball with our agreement with the Twins. Our fans have expressed their desires for an affiliation with a Midwest team and now that has happened."
This leaves three Midwest League teams seeking new affiliates: the Quad Cities River Bandits, Burlington Bees and Beloit Snappers will end up with the Houston Astros, Oakland A's or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as a parent.
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