Cubs extend affliation with Double-A Tennessee

PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs and Double-A Tennessee have announced a four-year player development contract extension which will keep the affiliate in Kodak, Tenn., through 2018.

"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," said Jason McLeod, Cubs senior vice president, scouting and player development, in a statement.

Since beginning their affiliation with the Cubs in 2007, the Smokies have participated in postseason play in five of seven seasons, and they have advanced to the Southern League Championship Series three times. 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 as a Cubs affiliate is the best in Smokies history.

"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," Smokies general manager Brian Cox said. "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."

In total, 35 Smokies have made their Major League debuts with the Cubs, including Jeff Samardzija, Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.