Well, that escalated quickly.
The Minnesota Twins and the Chattanooga Lookouts announced today at a 1:30pm press conference that the two franchises have entered into a four year player-development contract. Today’s announcement was the culmination of a whirlwind five days for the Twins organization, beginning on Saturday with the announcement that they were severing a 20-year relationship with the New Britain Rock Cats.
“Although we had a longstanding successful tenure with the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins organization is very excited to begin this partnership and compete in the Southern League,” said Minnesota Twins Executive Vice President and General Manager Terry Ryan. “We rely a great deal on our minor league affiliates and look forward to building a relationship with the Chattanooga Lookouts. This is an important time in our growth and player development and we are confident this will strengthen those efforts.”
The Twins had until September 30th to find a new home for their Double-A affiliate, but with the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks also searching for new AA affiliates, timing was of the essence. Colorado announced earlier in the day that they had agreed to terms with the Twins now ex-affiliate New Britain for the 2015-16 seasons.
It’s a win-win for both sides. For the Twins, the four year contract provides a long-term home for their player development after questions about New Britain’s long term viability arose. For the city of Chattanooga, they will have the opportunity to partake in what Baseball Prospectus rates as one of the top farm systems in the major leagues.
Lookouts General Manager Rich Mozingo stated, “Being able to pair some of baseball’s top talent with our affordable family entertainment is a can’t-miss opportunity and we are looking forward to being a partner with the Twins organization for years to come.”
Welcome aboard, Chattanooga!