The Indians will have a new High-A affiliate for the next four seasons.
The Indians announced on Wednesday night that they have signed a four-year player development contract with the Lynchburg (Va.) Hillcats. Hillcats president and general manager Paul Sunwall told the Lynchburg News & Advance that he is excited about the move based on the Indians history in the Carolina League.
Lynchburg is part of the Carolina League, which the Indians have had an affiliate in since 1987. Cleveland had a team in Kinston, NC, for 25 years and have been affiliated with the Carolina Mudcats (Zebulon, NC) for the past three.
This will be the fourth different affiliation for the Hillcats. The Pirates fielded a team there for 15 seasons (1995-2009) along with the Reds (2010) and Braves (2011-14). Sunwall told the paper that he also had discussions with the Rangers and Reds. Cincinnati is still looking for a High-A affiliate after its agreement with the Bakersfield Blaze of the California League expired after this season. The Reds are in search of an affiliate that would be closer.
High-A teams still without an affiliation for next season are — Bakersfield and High Desert of the California League, Carolina of the Carolina League and Daytona of the Florida State League.
The Indians agreements with the rest of their minor-league affiliates run through at least 2016.