The South Bend Cubs and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to an extension of the existing player development contract. The deal will keep the affiliation going through the 2020 season in what the teams are calling an unprecedented commitment.
The agreement was signed more than two years before the original contract was set to expire. Andrew Berlin, owner of the South Bend Cubs, said the original contract was for four-years, which "was already unheard of." He says the Chicago Cubs’ deal is typically for two years.
"So extending South Bend’s affiliation through the 2020 season is truly unprecedented," said Berlin. "It means Chicago recognizes that the fans in this region who welcome and follow our players are on par with the fans at Wrigley Field. And it means that our South Bend operation is living up to the promise we made about helping future Chicago Cubs players make it to the World Series someday."
Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, praised the South Bend team’s front office for their hard work and providing players with first-class facilities. Berlin called the extension "validation" of Chicago’s original decision to bring the South Bend team in as an affiliate in 2014.
Last November, the South Bend Cubs received the John H. Johnson President’s Award, which is the highest honor in Minor League Baseball. The team was also named the 2015 Team of the Year by Ballpark Digest.