Cubs to make Kane County Single A affiliate
CHICAGO – The way Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein tells it, the idea to move their Single A affiliate out of Peoria struck them only days ago.
However, the Cubs had been mulling a change for weeks, eager to bring one of their minor league teams closer to home. The timing of their decision raised some questions since big league teams weren’t allowed to negotiate with other affiliates until Sunday. The Cubs reportedly reached out to Kane County last month to inquire about relocating their Single A affiliate to Geneva.
In the end, everything worked out just as the Cubs hoped. On Wednesday, the Cubs agreed on a two-year player development contract with the Kane County Cougars to be their single A affiliate.
“I hope it can be a win-win,” Epstein said. “I want to thank Peoria for everything they did for us. That was a great relationship, too. I saw they landed the Cardinals so that works out well for everybody.”
More convenient travel – Wrigley Field is located 174 miles from Peoria compared to 47 miles from Geneva – was the greatest motivator in the Cubs’break up with the Chiefs, even though that meant ending a relationship that endured two stints spanning 18 years. Following the blueprint Epstein created in Boston, it’s all about location.
“I’m a big fan of having as many affiliates as possible close by the home city,” Epstein said. “It just creates a lot of efficiencies with rehabs and allows front office and staff to see the team play a little bit more often. Also gives our players a feel for the market before there’s too much pressure on them. They get an understanding of how important baseball is and get to know the fans a little bit.”
In the grand scheme of things, traveling a couple of hours down to central Illinois isn’t a big deal. But instead of worrying about the logistics of sending a player on a rehab assignment three hours away, the Cubs’ brass can both watch his progress in person while keeping their focus on the big league team.
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