Now that the Midwest League postseason is over, it’s time to shift my focus to the status of team affiliations.
I’ve written about this year’s player development contract (PDC) renewals as they’ve been announced, but now it’s time to put it all in one post. I’ll start with the Bowling Green Hot Rods and the Kane County Cougars, two teams whose PDC statuses are in the news today.
Bowling Green is the easy one to write about because the Tampa Bay Rays renewed their affiliation with the Hot Rods through the 2016 season. Tampa Bay is the only parent club Bowling Green has had, dating back to when the Hot Rods were part of the South Atlantic League during their inaugural season of 2009. (Bowling Green moved to the Midwest League in 2010.)
Kane County is more complicated. When the Cougars announced their planned ballpark renovations earlier this month, I thought it seemed practically a done deal for the Chicago Cubs to re-up with Kane County. (Read the linked post for why I believed this.) But today, the Daily Herald‘s Bruce Miles reported there’s a 50-50 chance whether the Cubs will extend their affiliation with the Cougars. He mentioned the Silver Hawks as a potential partner for the Cubs — a possible course of action being reported by South Bend media sources, too.
Both the Silver Hawks and the Cougars are going to be making major renovations to their training facilities, so I think it’s unlikely the Cubs would jolt Kane County for South Bend if they are making the same kind of upgrades. But would the Cubs leave Kane County for Fort Wayne? The TinCaps have an all-around top-notch facility in Parkview Field — arguably the best in the Midwest League — so that might be attractive to the Cubs.
Other Midwest League teams that currently don’t have a PDC agreement are the Beloit Snappers, who won’t be tempting the Cubs with their facility, and possibly the Great Lakes Loons and the Lansing Lugnuts. Baseball America and the website Ballpark Digest list the Loons and the Lugnuts as off the table (perhaps due to unannounced automatic PDC renewals by the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays, respectively), but I personally haven’t seen any announcements saying those teams have re-upped as of when I’m writing this.
Regardless, I’ll be keeping tabs on any PDC news and share it with you here and on Twitter when I learn anything new.
Besides Bowling Green, the Midwest League franchises that definitely have PDCs in place through 2016 or longer are the Burlington Bees (Los Angeles Angels), the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Minnesota Twins), the Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners), the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds), the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians), the Peoria Chiefs (St. Louis Cardinals), the Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros), the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers).