The Cleveland Indians announced today a four-year player development contract extension with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks of the Eastern League through the 2020 season.
"(RubberDucks owner/CEO) Ken Babby and his team have gone over the top in making Akron a top-of-the-line facility for our players, our staff, and the tremendous fans who come to see them play," said Carter Hawkins, Cleveland Indians Director of Player Development. "It has truly been a partnership, so extending our relationship with the RubberDucks was an easy decision. We couldn't be more excited to continue the relationship with the team and the city of Akron, and look forward to many years of championship-caliber baseball at Canal Park."
Since moving to Northeast Ohio in 1989 as the Canton-Akron Indians, the RubberDucks franchise has been the Indians' Double-A affiliate. The franchise moved to Akron when Canal Park opened in 1997 and became the Akron Aeros before becoming the Akron RubberDucks in October 2013. The franchise has won the Eastern League title four times: 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2012. Currently, 24 of the players on the Indians 40-man roster played in Akron, and 17 of those within the last four seasons, including Francisco Lindor, Tyler Naquin, Danny Salazar, Jose Ramirez and Mike Clevinger.
"We are thrilled to continue our working partnership with the Cleveland Indians," said RubberDucks General Manager Jim Pfander. "The Indians are a first-class organization with a deep, emotional connection with the people of Northeast Ohio. We can't wait to watch the next wave of Indians superstars to come through Canal Park during the next four seasons."