By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) — The Chicago Cubs have ended their agreement with Class-A Kane County and will move the squad to South Bend, Ind., in 2015.
The Midwest League is still the destination of the Cubs’ low-A franchise going forward.
The Cubs ended a two-year agreement with Kane County after having spent the previous nine seasons in Peoria.
Cub management cited facility needs as the main reason for the move.
“These decisions are tough,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Thursday. “We hate disappointing people. We just kept coming back to making decisions that are in the best interests of our prospects. South Bend’s renovation offers a facility that will make a profound difference for our prospects. That was the key factor in the end.”
It appeared that Kane County had been an ideal partner, in a town just an hour away from Wrigley Field.
“I don’t think in this industry you can avoid looking like bad guys,” Epstein said. “Stay true to what you believe and make sure you are making decisions for the right reasons. In this case, we had to have to come back to what is best for our prospects, what’s best for the organization, move forward and try to handle matters with as much professionalism as possible.”
Epstein praised the Kane County franchise. He also apologized to Cubs fans in the area who enjoyed going to the Class-A games.
“There wasn’t anything wrong with Kane County,” Epstein said. “This came along as a unique opportunity, and we decided to seize it.”
The player development agreement with South Bend runs through 2018. The South Bend owners will unveil a new name, logo and uniform next Thursday in a news conference.