KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- The Chicago Cubs have invited four of their minor league teams to remain with the club as affiliates, including the Double-A Tennessee Smokies.
On Wednesday Major League Baseball invited 120 teams to join the new minor league setup, which will be operated by the MLB going forward.
Smokies General Manager Tim Volk said the organization is excited to participate in the league’s player development system and receive an invitation to remain as the AA Affiliate of the Cubs.
“We are very excited to receive an official invitation from Major League Baseball into their development system,” said Volk. “While some communities, operators, and employees weren’t as fortunate throughout the country and our state to be invited into the development system, we are proud and excited to have the opportunity to continue playing professional baseball in East Tennessee.”
Volk said the organization is currently reviewing documents with no specific timeline of an official acceptance but will make an announcement when the anticipated acceptance is upon agreement.
MLB has been working on reshaping the minor league system. All 30 MLB franchises will have four affiliated minor league teams, along with other developmental teams, reducing the number of affiliations from 160-120.
The Iowa Cubs will stay the AAA affiliate, the South Bend Cubs become the High-A affiliate and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans will become the Low-A affiliate.
“We are pleased to invite four of our long-time affiliates to continue working with us and help develop our players,” said Cubs Vice President of Player Development Matt Dorey in a statement on Twitter. “These four teams have combined to work with the Cubs for 66 years, and that is only possible with strong ownership, hardworking front offices and welcoming communities at each level of our system.
Volk said there is an initial term of ten years that would link the Smokies to the MLB as one of the developmental leagues, but he said that needs to be reviewed by the MLB’s executive board towards the end of their current initial agreement.