The Chicago Cubs announced today that their top four minor league affiliates will remain the same heading into the 2021 season.
This is significant to the Cubs and their four affiliates because numerous teams are dropping relationships with longtime affiliates due to the MLB's new player development program structure. Teams are now trending in the direction of having fewer minor league teams, so the Cubs committing to the same group of affiliates for 2021 is a big step for all parties involved.
The Cubs retain the Iowa Cubs as their Triple-A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies as their Double-A affiliate, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans as their Low-A affiliate, and the South Bend Cubs as their High-A affiliate.
It's not much of a surprise that these four teams were retained, considering the length of partnership with these clubs. The Pelicans and South Bend Cubs are the newest affiliates, but the South Bend site is owned by the Cubs directly and served as the satellite site during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
However, the notable loss is with the Eugene Emeralds, an organization that has served as the Cubs' short-season A-Ball team for the past six seasons, developing several of the current top prospects in the Cubs' system.
Now that the Cubs minor league affiliates are set, the team will continue trending with their offseason, which has been rather quiet thus far.
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