Cubs ink extension with Iowa, sign with Myrtle Beach

CHICAGO -- The Cubs Tuesday agreed on a two-year player development contract extension with Triple-A Iowa through the 2018 season and also signed a new deal with Myrtle Beach to move their Class A team to the Carolina League after 22 years with Daytona in the Florida State League.

"The Carolina League, in our opinion, is the best high-A league for development purposes," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Tuesday. "These are tough decisions, and in the end, we keep coming back to what's best for our players. ... The Carolina League and Myrtle in particular is the best spot for our players."

The PDC with Myrtle Beach runs through the 2016 season.

"Myrtle Beach is a well-respected franchise that will serve as a beneficial destination for our young players," said Jason McLeod, Cubs senior vice president, scouting and player development. "We look forward to developing a successful relationship with the franchise and community."

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans have made eight postseason appearances in their 16-season history, including each of the last four seasons as an affiliate of the Rangers. Myrtle Beach joined the Carolina League in 1999 as an affiliate of the Braves, a partnership that would continue through the 2010 season, prior to joining the Rangers in 2011.

"The Chicago Cubs present an incredible partnership in every aspect," Pelicans general manager and vice president Andy Milovich said in a statement. "Cubs fans can now visit their future stars in one of the iconic vacation destination spots in the U.S."

The Cubs' current agreement with Iowa had run through the 2016 campaign. With the new agreement, the extension guarantees at least 38 years of partnership between the Chicago team and the Iowa Cubs.

"The players who have come through Iowa speak of their positive experiences in Des Moines and appreciate their great fans, and we are thrilled to continue this long-standing partnership," McLeod said.

Iowa Cubs president/general manager Sam Bernabe said their long-standing relationship with the Chicago Cubs is "a source of pride for our organization and our community."

"This extension shows that the Cubs appreciate the work our staff does to provide a top notch facility and operation to support their players and staff members throughout the year," Bernabe said.

The affiliation between Iowa and Chicago began in 1981, and Iowa adopted the Cubs' nickname in 1982. Of the 160 teams in Minor League Baseball, this is the eighth-longest current affiliate relationship between a Major League team and a Minor League club.

Earlier this year, the Cubs announced a four-year extension with Double-A Tennessee that runs through 2018. They did not renew their PDC with Class A Kane County or short-season Boise. On Sept. 2, Kane County announced that it was making capital improvements to its facilities built to the Cubs' specifications.

"They're good people and making a push here to do some things," Epstein said. "It comes back to what's best for the players. We're looking at the best fit for development purposes. A big part of that is the facilities."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.