The Kane County Cougars have not been invited by Major League Baseball to remain a minor league affiliate of a big league club, but will instead join an MLB partner league beginning with the 2021 season.
The Cougars, formerly the minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, had been a minor league affiliate with a variety of clubs since their inception in 1991, the team said in a statement.
With the changes initiated by Major League Baseball this winter, the Cougars will instead serve as a feeder team for all 30 big league clubs, with players able to sign contracts with any MLB team’s organization.
“In our high-tech world, the 2.0 designation represents a new and better version of something, (and) we are delighted to introduce you to the Kane County Cougars 2.0,” the team said in a statement posted to Facebook. “Under Kane County Cougars 2.0, no matter which of the 30 MLB teams is your favorite, our players have a chance to progress on to that MLB team.”
Each MLB team was asked to invite four minor league clubs to serve as affiliates, with two Single-A teams, a Double-A team and a Triple-A team. The Diamondbacks opted not to invite the Cougars to continue their affiliation agreement, paving the way for the Cougars to join an MLB partner league.
Several leagues around the country, including the American Association and the Frontier League, have been invited by MLB to participate as so-called “Partner Leagues,” and the Cougars are likely to aim to join one of those leagues prior to the start of the 2021 season.