The Chicago Cubs and the Tennessee Smokies today announced a four-year Player Development Contract extension, keeping the club's Double-A affiliate in Kodak through the 2018 season.
"We are pleased to reach agreement with the Tennessee Smokies on a four-year Player Development Contract extension," said Jason McLeod, the Cubs Senior Vice President, Scouting and Player Development. "Our front office has enjoyed our relationship with the Smokies and the players who have come through Tennessee have spoken very highly of the Smokies and their fans. We thank Randy Boyd, Doug Kirchhofer, Brian Cox and the entire Smokies family for their commitment to providing a great experience for our Double-A players."
This PDC extension will bring the Cubs and Smokies affiliation to 12 seasons by the end of the 2018 campaign. Since beginning their affiliation with the Cubs in 2007, the Smokies have participated in post-season play in five of seven seasons and have three times advanced to the Southern League Championship series. Tennessee has posted a 553-485 record (.533) as of June 10, with six of seven completed seasons ending with a winning record. The .533 winning percentage is best among all affiliates in Smokies history.
"Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein and Jason McLeod have been great partners," said Smokies Team Owner Randy Boyd. "The Cubs have strong ownership and an outstanding organization. We look forward to continuing this affiliation for many more years."
"We are thrilled to announce the continuation of this partnership between the Cubs and Smokies," said Smokies President Doug Kirchhofer. "It is exciting to continue to work with one of the most recognized brands in sports, as well as with one of the best farm systems in Minor League Baseball."
"There's no question the talent that has come through Kodak recently has been some of the best in baseball and it's an amazing opportunity for fans to see the stars of tomorrow pass through here," said Smokies General Manager Brian Cox. "The impact the players and coaches have made in East Tennessee has been tremendous and the future is clearly bright for both the Chicago Cubs and Tennessee Smokies."
Tennessee has seen many of the Cubs top prospects the last two seasons, including top Cubs prospect Javier Baez in 2013 and No. 2 Cubs prospect Kris Bryant this year. In total, 35 Smokies have gone on to make their major league debuts with the Cubs, including Jeff Samardzija, Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo.