The Peoria Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals have announced the signing of a four-year extension of the player development contract (PDC) that will run through the 2020 season.
This extension, the maximum allowed by Major League and Minor League Baseball, was agreed to Thursday afternoon and adds on to the current four-year deal which was signed in September 2012 and runs through the 2016 season.
“The Peoria Chiefs continue to run a first-class operation providing us with outstanding support of our player development efforts,” said Cardinals’ Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. “We look forward to our continued relationship with the Chiefs and the Peoria community.”
“We are thrilled to continue our great relationship with the St. Louis Cardinals,” said Chiefs President Rocky Vonachen. “From the caliber of players they have sent us the last two seasons to the tradition and excellence on display throughout the organization top to bottom this is the best possible situation for us moving forward. With the Midwest League All-Star game in Peoria next June and this affiliation set through 2020 we are very excited about the future of baseball in Central Illinois.”
The two organizations first linked up in 1995 and a year later the Chiefs were Second Half Division Champions at 79-57 under Roy Silver. The 1998 team also made the playoffs going 72-68 under Jeff Shireman before losing in the playoffs. The 2002 team was hands down the best in Chiefs history with a new stadium to show off as well. The 2002 squad won a franchise-record 85 games under Danny Sheaffer and brought home the first ever Chiefs Championship with a 7-1 playoff record. The 2004 season was the last for the Cardinals in the first go-around in Peoria and also saw a playoff appearance. That squad, led by Joe Cunningham, went 75-64 before losing in the first round as a Wild Card team.
After eight years apart, the Chiefs and Cardinals reunited in September 2012 and the Chiefs went 68-69 last season, missing the playoffs by 1 ½ games in the first half. So far this season the Chiefs are 65-62, having missed the playoffs by one game in the first half and sitting three back in the wild card with 12 games to play.
The first tenure for the Cardinals in Peoria brought the likes of Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, Dan Haren, Rick Ankiel, Placido Polanco, Coco Crisp, Jason Motte, Chris Duncan, Jack Wilson, Pablo Ozuna and Chris Narveson to the Midwest League. All told 60 players that played in Peoria between 1995 and 2004 made it to the Majors.
Brian Walton’s take: This deal, providing long-term stability, makes sense for all parties. Just last week, the Cardinals and State College Spikes, the other Class-A club, announced an extension through 2016. The other US-based minor league affiliates are owned by the Cardinals with Triple-A Memphis the most recent to be acquired. That deal was finalized just before Opening Day.