Kodak, Tenn., may not be a household name for Chicagoans, but it holds a special place in the hearts of the Cubs' homegrown players.
And right now, it's where Kris Bryant is tearing the cover off the ball.
Cubs minor leaguers have called Kodak home since 2007 and the organization announced a four-year Player Development Contract extension with the Tennessee Smokies Wednesday. The new deal will ensure the Cubs' Double-A squad will stay in Tennessee through the 2018 season.
“We are pleased to reach agreement with the Tennessee Smokies on a four-year Player Development Contract extension,” said Jason McLeod, the Cubs Senior Vice President, Scouting and Player Development. “Our front office has enjoyed our relationship with the Smokies and the players who have come through Tennessee have spoken very highly of the Smokies and their fans."
“We are thrilled to announce the continuation of this partnership between the Cubs and Smokies,” said Smokies President Doug Kirchhofer. “It is exciting to continue to work with one of the most recognized brands in sports, as well as with one of the best farm systems in Minor League Baseball.”
Tennessee has been privy to some of the Cubs' top prospects over the years, including Bryant this season, Javier Baez last year and Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija before that.
“There’s no question the talent that has come through Kodak recently has been some of the best in baseball and it’s an amazing opportunity for fans to see the stars of tomorrow pass through here,” said Smokies General Manager Brian Cox. “The impact the players and coaches have made in East Tennessee has been tremendous and the future is clearly bright for both the Chicago Cubs and Tennessee Smokies.”