The senior partner in the Normal Cornbelters baseball team says it is not unusual any more to see long term relationships between major league and minor league clubs upended. Several reports indicate the Chicago Cubs are moving their Class A affiliate from Peoria to Kane County next year. Steve Malliet of the Cornbelters says eight and ten year player development contracts such as the ones held by the Peoria Chiefs are rare these days. More usual are two and four year agreements.
"It's becoming more unusual. you are seeing teams move around a little bit more. There always seems to be a brand new stadium being built, or maybe a brand new market opens up that is a little bit more appealing."
Malliet says by having their Class A affiliate closer to Chicago, the Cubs can save money on travel for rehab assignments.
"Being able to do rehabs where you can send a player, and he can, he can actually change into his uniform at Wrigley Field and pitch that night in Kane County and come right back, I think that's a big advantage for them. They can do a lot more rehab assignments."
He says it also makes sense for Cubs senior management to be able to make a short drive to Aurora to see if a prospect is ready to go to a higher level. He says Atlanta and Milwaukee have made similar moves keeping minor league relationships close by. Malliet says he was surprised by the Cubs move. He says he had assumed the relationship with the Chiefs and the Vonachen family would last forever. Malliet also notes the Chiefs have had financial difficulties the last couple years.
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