On Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they have agreed to a two-year extension of their player development contract (P.D.C.) with the State College (Pa.) Spikes of the New York-Penn League (A). The newly-announced extension carries through the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
“State College continues to provide us with excellent support of our player development goals and a first-rate training environment at all levels, including Medlar Field,” said Cardinals’ Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. “We look forward to our continued relationship with the State College Spikes.”
St. Louis re-united its affiliation with State College in 2013 with the Spikes advancing to the New York-Penn League Championship series after posting a league-best 48-27 mark. The two teams also shared affiliation in 2006 – the Spikes inaugural season.
State College is currently leading the NY-Penn League Pinckney Division with a 33-25 mark.
Brian Walton’s take: This is clearly a win-win deal. With current contracts not expiring until September, both sides obviously saw the benefit in extending their partnership now.
In essence, a player development contract is a standard legal agreement that binds the major league organization to provide and pay for players and coaches as well as travel. The minor league team provides and operates the playing facility as well as pays for uniforms and shares the costs of bats and balls.
Though State College is located in Pirates territory, the Cardinals have brought to the Spikes what the Bucs, who were previously affiliated with the team, could not – consistent winning baseball.
In six years with the Pirates, State College had six losing teams. The Cardinals are on the way to a third winning Spikes club in three years. In the team's first-ever playoff action, the 2013 Spikes fell just one win short of the league title.
In contrast to the shaky financial situation at the Cardinals’ prior New York-Penn League stop at Batavia, Spikes ownership is strong and committed. Led by former Texas Rangers managing partner and CEO Chuck Greenberg, Greenberg Sports Group owns and operates multiple minor league franchises.
The Spikes’ playing facility, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, is located on the campus of Penn State University. Opened in 2006, it is one of the finest facilities in Class-A ball, with the Spikes consistently ranking among the top tier of the league in attendance.
Despite the distance from the organization’s other affiliates, the Cardinals have maintained a presence in the New York-Penn League continually since 1981. Their only other short-season Class-A alternative would be the Northwest League, even more remote geographically.
With this announcement, both of the Cardinals’ externally-owned minor league affiliates are committed through 2016. The other is the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League.
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