It’s Official: The Kane County Cougars Are the Chicago Cubs’ New Low-A Affiliate

As this morning’s Peoria news suggested, the official word on the Chicago Cubs’ re-affiliation was just a matter of time. And here it is.

Today the Chicago Cubs signed a two year player development agreement with the Kane County Cougars to serve as the organization’s Low-A affiliate. The deal has been rumored for quite some time, and will bring some of the Cubs’ top prospects (not just next year, but every year) to Kane County, just 45ish miles west of Chicago.

From the official press release:

The Chicago Cubs today agreed with Kane County on a new Player Development Contract to move the club’s Single-A affiliate to the Midwest League location approximately 45 miles west of Chicago. Additionally, the club has renewed Player Development Contracts with Single-A Daytona and short-season Single-A Boise. All three Player Development Contracts run through the 2014 season.

“We are pleased to reach agreement with Daytona, Kane County and Boise,” said Jason McLeod, the Cubs Senior Vice President, Scouting and Player Development. “The players who have come through Daytona and Boise have spoken highly of those cities and their fans. With Kane County, it is exciting to know we now have a Cubs affiliate right in our backyard. We look forward to successful relationships with each of these affiliates.”

The Kane County Cougars have made 13 post-season appearances in their 22-season history that began in 1991 as an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles (1991-92). Kane County has also enjoyed affiliation with the Marlins (1993-2002), Athletics (2003-10) and Royals (2011-12). The Cougars played a game at Wrigley Field in 2008 and 2010 as part of the Cubs “Road To Wrigley” series. Overall, 120 future major leaguers have played at Kane County. The Cougars won a Midwest League Championship in 2001.

“We are extremely excited about our new relationship with the Chicago Cubs,” said Cougars General Manager Curtis Haug. “The close proximity between both organizations will be mutually beneficial in numerous ways. We believe that the Cubs organization and their philosophies about the minor leagues, including scouting, player development, and involvement in the community, are a fantastic fit for our franchise.”

Time to start checking your calendars and planning a BN get-together at Kane County next Summer.

The new alliance will not only benefit fans, but also the Cubs’ front office, should they want to observe certain prospects in person – it’s now a much easier, and faster trip.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

49 responses to “It’s Official: The Kane County Cougars Are the Chicago Cubs’ New Low-A Affiliate”

  1. Stevo-sam

    what of O’Connor’s threats to investigate “tampering” issues with the pre-official announcement of the move in August?

  2. TWC

    Who control the uniform selection/team colors/logo for ML affiliates?

    The most recent incarnation of the Peoria Chiefs wore what looked (mostly) like Cubs units but had the Chief’s firedog (?) logo on their caps. During their Cardinals affiliation years they were very different. Anyone know?

    1. hansman1982

      I am guessing the affiliate controls this and obviously wants to match the parent organization as much as possible.

    2. Sandberg

      I think it’d be cool to have a Cubs-like had with the Cougars colors

  3. Whiteflag

    Now if only they would move the triple A affiliate from Iowa to Indianapolis.

    1. Stinky Pete

      Whoa whoa whoa. Whoa. Lets keep them in the current capital city of a dull state that starts with I.

      1. Whiteflag

        Indiana starts with I too.

        1. Whiteflag

          Did I mention Victory Field was voted the best minor league ballpark?

          1. Dougy D

            As an Iowan, I say HELL NO!

            Actually, Principal Park (I think) is a pretty nice place. I went to a game there this summer ans was presently surprised with the lay out. The Cubbies have been in Iowa for a while and I sure hope that they stay for a while.

          2. Cubbie Blues

            I would love to have them in Indy, but it’s not going to happen. There are regularly 3,000 fans at Victory Field (at least on the weekends). It is a very nice park. The only complaint I have is the MLB pricing on concessions.

  4. Ben (BG2383)

    Well the Montgomery Biscuits in my backyard certainly have much different uniforms than the Rays …LOL (I think our city had a thing where the public voted on the design. I know that is how the lame ass mascot was chosen.)

  5. BD

    I can’t wait to see the schedule, as I will most definitely be going to some KC games next year.

  6. Patti

    I live less than 20 minutes from 5/3 Stadium in Geneva….can have a BN party in the backyard! Very excited for Kane County to have the Cubs affiliation now!

    1. Sandberg

      If you do that, make sure you don’t leave a spare (unhooked-up) toilet in the garage.

  7. Cards Fan

    I don’t know for sure, but I think it is very likely that the minor league club determines their uniform scheme. The Chiefs, when a Cardinals team actually had the blue pin stripes, nearly identical to the uniforms in the last few years with the Cubs. They did have some variations for jerseys, solid red or solid navy and still do, but I don’t recall any solid red when they have been a Cubs team in recent years. But the primary home uniform was white with blue pin stripes on the jersey and pants for both clubs. I also recall that they had red and white lettering on jerseys when with the Cardinals. They did a complete logo change, removing the identity from an “Indian” Chief and the new identity was as a “Fire” Chief, hence the dalmation (named Homer) in fire turnout gear, to be politically correct. This happened one year after they switched from Cards to Cubs in 2004 and the new logo and insignia came out late in 2005. They have the Cubs “C” on the team logo, cap insignia and on their sleeves. I think they had “mini” STL and bird on bat logos in the past. Most of the other Midwest League Teams are similar in nature, they have their own logos and color schemes, and then only have a “mini” logo of the affiliated team above or below their logo. Maybe both teams will only change the mini logos of the affiliated team or change them up entirely for their new identities and fan bases? With that said, their budgets are tight for sure, to do a complete change over would be costly. I think that is why they have their own logos and colors, since affiliation contracts can be no longer than 4 years in length. Changing mini logos above or below their logos and on their own colors makes most sense, long term for the team owners and the team’s own identity.

    1. TWC

      You have posted several times today, and each time you have presented relatively well thought out statements, using full sentences and mostly correct grammar. Are you sure you’re a Cardinals fan? I’m not seeing it.

      1. Sandberg

        There aren’t any paragraphs.

  8. Cards Fan

    :-) yep, I am a Cards fan! A Chiefs fan too! I, and most baseball fans in Central Illinois are happy to have a quality team like the Chiefs, to provide some good baseball. Regardless if they are affiliated with the Cubs or Cards, or any big league team. Now that they are with the Cards again, that is just icing on the cake to me. No trolling going on here… You can see some of the historical uniforms that the Chiefs have had on the front page of their website. The solid red jersey with 21 is Pujols 3B for the Chiefs. The pin stripe to the left is the current home uniform and the one to the far right is a Cardinals era pin stripe with red lettering. Now that I saw that and think about it, the Blue starting in 2005 with the Cubs became brigher, more “Cubbie” Blue than before. Also, kind of funny, I just noticed it, you will see the dalmation logo in the middle of the page, with the bird and bat logo next to it. There used to be a Cubs “C” on the sleeve of the dalmation’s jersey, you can see what it used to look like, until today, in the upper left corner logo of the website. I know, as a Cubs fan, the bird and bat will make your eyes burn! :-) Also, if you look at the team store for the minor league teams, you can see that most teams have their own identity, then a mini logo of some sort. http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t443

  9. Luke

    I’m hoping to make a trip to Kane County in the spring, but that’s far from definite yet.

  10. JR

    I didn’t have any idea minor leage cities were switched so often. It looks like Kane County was passed around by mlb teams like one of my ex girlfriends from high school..

  11. Grant Jones

    Very, very good news! As some of you know I am a batboy/assistant clubhouse manager for the Cougars, and a huge Cubs fan. So I am of course estatic. Can’t wait to see Almora, Voglebach, Duston and the rest of here next year!

    1. SirCub

      So awesome! Can’t wait to hear some great stories about all our favorite Cubs prospects!

  12. Cards Fan

    History of the contemporary Peoria Chiefs & Kane County

    Kane County Affiliates
    Baltimore Orioles (1991-92)
    Florida Marlins (1993-2002)
    Oakland Athletics (2003-2010)
    Kansas City Royals (2011 – 2012)
    Chicago Cubs (2013 – )

    Chiefs Affiliates
    California Angels (1983-1984) (Chiefs known as the Suns)
    Chicago Cubs (1985-1994) (Chiefs name started and had ownership changes)
    Boston Red Sox (1994) No games played under this affliation
    St. Louis Cardinals (1995-2004)
    Chicago Cubs (2005-2012)
    St. Louis Cardinals (2013 – )

    Keep in mind, the players and coaching staff all work for the affliated club, i.e. the Cardinals or the Cubs. So it is not reasonable to look at a minor team’s record with different affilations and expect that it will continue, good or bad, under a new affliation. So, if the Cubs farm system has not been producing great talent in Peoria, it won’t be likely that they will in Kane County, unless the Cubs front office makes changes. Kane County will likely see some of the Cubs players in Minor League games for injury rehab sessions etc. Just like Zambrano and Wood came to Peoria for rehab assignments. That will be a positive for the Cubs, to be in Kane County for those assignments, they can insert players in and out very easily, being just an hours drive away from Wrigley. That is why they used Peoria, it was closer than Des Moines for short term rehab assignments. Kane County is about 2 hours closer to Wrigley. Peoria is about 3 hours to Wrigley. Des Moines 4.5+ to Wrigley.

    The Cards farm system has been producing some good talent over the years at the Quad Cities, so that will now be coming through Peoria. A majority of the 2011 World Series team played in the Quad Cities or Peoria at one time. That will be a positive for Peoria and Peoria is closer to STL (2.5 hours) than the Quad Cities, about 1.5 hours closer by car.

    Maybe this move to Kane County will help the Cubs to improve and build their farm system and get more home grown, farm talent flowing into Wrigley? I think the move for STL to Peoria will contribute to the Cards’ already strong farm system.

    The media reports here in Peoria have all been saying that the Cardinals want a long term affliation with Peoria, no flipping back and forth, as you can see has happened in the past. The maximum contract can be 4 years at a time. The last time Peoria switched from Cards to Cubs, it was mostly the choice of the Chiefs. The Chiefs owner, Pete Vonachen was a personal friend of Harry Carey, he spoke at Harry’s funeral. I suspect that the change in 2004 to the Cubs had something to do with his personal relationship with Harry.

  13. João Lucas

    Off topic: I just got this email from MLB.com that says that I can give a friend access to tonight’s games on MLB.TV for free.

    If anyone is interested, just drop your email address so I can forward the link.

  14. Eric

    Anyone find it funny how the official comments from the minor league teams are like they forget the team they were affiliated with moments ago ever existed. Peoria is like wow the Cardinals are so amazing. Cubs? Pssh Cubs suck. Kane County is like wow the Cubs philosophy is so amazing and they are awsum. Yes ofcourse they are gonna say it but it’s nothing like Free agents where they go “I was extremely lucky to play for (x team) but I am very excited to join (y team)”. No thanks to the old team it’s like they totally dismiss them.

    1. Cards Fan

      Keep in mind that the Cubs dropped or dumped the Chiefs, potentially violating the rules of minor league affiliations. About a month ago, the Sun Times reported that the Cubs were dropping the Chiefs and talking about going to Kane County. Those talks violated the affiliation rules, as no talks are allowed until Sept. 16.

      The Chiefs reported that no one in the Cubs front office gave them any warning or indications of being dropped and no one was returning their calls! No wonder the Chiefs would be happy to pick up a “local” affliation, not the Angels, or KC or Oakland etc., let alone picking up the Cardinals.

      1. DarthHater

        Is Mullet Nation closed today, or what?

  15. Master Dan

    WOOOT, I live 15 minutes away! I’ll be going to these games rather then going to Wrigley Field!

    1. DarthHater

      And the team you’ll be watching will probably be better than the team playing at Wrigley, too! Woohoo!!!

  16. Puma0821

    This got me wondering… I know it’s been a long time since expansion but what happens in that case? What happened in 93 did the MILB add 2 extra cities/teams to each league/level?

    1. Chris

      I believe some independent league teams joined affiliated baseball. I vaguely remember that happening. Plus, I recall some teams in the low minor leagues were actually independent, and not affiliated with any major league club, so in those cases, I would guess those teams just became affiliated with the new teams.

  17. lou brock lives

    Time for major changes with Cubs Minor League Affiliates : 1) Cubs purchase Iowa Cubs & move them into Wrigley Field in Chicago & call them the Bruins. 2) Cubs build new park in Arlington Hts. at the racetrack sight. 3) Cubs change team colors to Green with Black/Silver trim since no NL team has Green as its main color, but at least 4 or 5 are different shades of Blue – Mets, Brewers, Dodgers, Padres, Marlins etc. Plus it will be great to generate more money to put into the team from jersey & hat sales. Plus we’ve never won anything wearing Blue – time to change the MOJO.

  18. lou brock lives

    I forgot last thing change team nickname at Kane County to Grizzlies – sounds more menacing & sticks with Bear theme.

    1. WGNstatic

      True on the Cougars vs. Grizzlies, that said, the famous “Eamus Catuli”, is referencing a lion, or perhaps cougar, cub, NOT a bear cub…

      Eamus Uruli!!!!!