SOUTH BEND — In what’s been deemed a “truly unprecedented” move, the Chicago Cubs have extended the minor league contract with the South Bend Cubs for another two-and-half years.

Club owner Andrew Berlin said the deal, which keeps South Bend’s affiliation with Chicago through the 2020 season, completes a rare six-year package.

“The original four-year contract we signed with the Cubs was already unheard of,” Berlin said. “Their typical deal is two years. So extending South Bend’s affiliation through the 2020 season is truly unprecedented. It means Chicago recognizes that the fans in this region who welcome and follow our players are on par with the fans at Wrigley Field.

”And it means that our South Bend operation is living up to the promise we made about helping future Chicago Cubs players make it to the World Series someday.”

South Bend, which opens a four-game series at Dayton tonight, leads the Midwest League’s Eastern Division by one game.

“Andrew Berlin, Joe Hart and the entire South Bend front office have worked hard to make their organization the best in minor league baseball,” said Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. “They have provided our players with first-class facilities, which has translated to success on the field, as evidenced by this season’s first-half division title and strong representation in the Midwest League All-Star Game.

”Their organization, as well as the South Bend community, has been a tremendous asset to our farm system.”

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