As expected, the Cubs formally announced that the organization has invited the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, the Double-A Tennessee Smokies, the High-A South Bend Cubs, and Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans to remain affiliates in Major League Baseball’s new player development structure. That means the short-season Eugene Emeralds will no longer be part of the organization, a move Cubs Insider reported in November.
This formal announcement confirms what had been assumed here and elsewhere for quite a while, which is that South Bend and Myrtle Beach would be swapping levels. The Midwest League moved to High-A and the SB Cubs remained there, so the Pelicans will likely join the South Atlantic League or a new league comprised of former teams from the “Sally” and Carolina Leagues.
“We are pleased to invite four of our long-time affiliates to continue working with us and help develop our players,” read a statement from Cubs Vice President of Player Development Matt Dorey. “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.
“We would also like to thank the Eugene Emeralds for their commitment and tireless effort the past six years, highlighted by Northwest League titles in 2016 and 2018,” Dorey said. “We are grateful to Allan Benavides, Matt Dompe and the entire Eugene front office.”
This continuity isn’t indicative of the overall upheaval across the minor league landscape as teams scramble to renew or secure affiliations with MLB clubs. Much of that news has already come out, but there will be several announcements Wednesday and ongoing legal battles continuing long after that. It’s a sad state of affairs for the sport, that’s for sure.
Ed. note: While this step is technically just an invitation to remain affiliated with the big league club, there’s no chance any of these teams decline.