There wasn’t really much of a doubt, but today it became official: The Iowa Cubs will be the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs through the 2030 season.
The Iowa Cubs have signed their Professional Baseball License to remain a Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. More of a formality but it extends Iowa's working relationship with Chicago for 10 more years.— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) January 28, 2021
Iowa Cubs president and general manager Sam Bernabe: "We've been with the Cubs for 40 years. We look forward to being with them for 50 years." https://t.co/jYm63416ub— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) January 28, 2021
The Iowa Cubs have been the Cubs top affiliate since 1981, making them now the fifth-longest continuous affiliation in baseball. (Or the fourth-longest, if you consider the newly-relocated Worcester Red Sox to be a different team than the Pawtucket Red Sox.) The 2020 season would have been their 40th year playing Cubs baseball. Now, this upcoming 2021 season will be.
In the past, minor league teams were only allowed to sign deals with a major league team for two- or four-year terms. Under the new agreement that radically restructured minor league baseball, teams are required to agree to ten-year terms. Those contracts can be broken if one side or the other fails to live up to the terms, but there is little to no reason to believe that will happen between Iowa and Chicago.
Teams had until February 10 to sign the Professional Development Licenses that major league teams had sent to them last December. There is little doubt that all 120 teams that got an invitation would sign them, since the alternative is either becoming an independent league team or going out of business. But the I-Cubs became one of the first to officially sign on the dotted line.
Over the past several seasons, we’ve joked around here that any player that gets called up and sent back down multiple times in a season was on the “Iowa Shuttle,” or alternatively the “Des Moines Shuttle.” With this new deal, we can look forward to another decade of players hopping the commuter flights between Des Moines and Chicago.