This has been expected for weeks, ever since it was leaked -- early -- that the Cubs were leaving their Peoria affiliation in the Midwest League and affiliating with the Kane County Cougars, located just 45 miles from Wrigley Field.
Wednesday, it's official. Via a team 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."
Cubs prospects like Albert Almora and Dan Vogelbach will likely be playing at Kane County in 2013. For Cubs fans in the western suburbs, it's probably closer than a trip to Wrigley> For the rest of people in the area, it's still worth a drive a few times a year.
For those of you in Peoria... well, I'm sorry you're losing the Cubs affiliation, but you do still have a team, even though it will now become a Cardinals affiliate.
Welcome to the Cubs family, Kane County Cougars. Nice to have you.