UPDATE: (Lookouts.com) – The Chattanooga Lookouts announceed Wednesday that the organization has signed a four-year player development contract with the Minnesota Twins. The partnership with the Twins marks the team's first affiliation with an American League team since 1987 when the Lookouts were with the Seattle Mariners.
"Although we had a longstanding successful tenure with the New Britain Rock Cats, the Twins organization is very excited to begin this partnership and compete in the Southern League,” said Minnesota Twins Executive Vice President and General Manager Terry Ryan. “We rely a great deal on our minor league affiliates and look forward to building a relationship with the Chattanooga Lookouts. This is an important time in our growth and player development and we are confident this will strengthen those efforts.”
From 1932 to 1959 the Lookouts were affiliated with the Washington Senators who went on to become the Minnesota Twins in 1961. Chattanooga won three league titles as a Senators affiliate including one under manager Cal Ermer. Ermer managed the Lookouts from 1952 to 1957 and went on to manage the Twins for part of the 1967 and all of the 1968 season.
Hall of Famer, and former Minnesota Twins' great, Harmon Killebrew also has roots with the Lookouts. The 13-time All-Star spent two seasons with Chattanooga and hit a combined 46 home runs with the team.
“We are excited to partner with a team that has a deep history with the Chattanooga Lookouts,” said Lookouts President and General Manager Rich Mozingo. “The Minnesota Twins are an upstanding organization and present an incredible opportunity for the Lookouts and the City of Chattanooga.”
The Twins currently boast one of the top Minor League Farm Systems in all of baseball. According to MLB.com the Twins feature the number one prospect in all of Minor League Baseball, outfielder Byron Buxton. Along with Buxton, MLB.com has five other Twins' prospects ranked in the top 100 including the eighth overall prospect Miguel Sano and Nick Gordon, the brother of former Lookouts' infielder Dee Gordon. Prior to the 2014 season Baseball Prospectus ranked the Twins' farm system as the best in all of baseball.
“Being able to pair some of baseball's top talent with our affordable family entertainment is a can't-miss opportunity and we are looking forward to being a partner with the Twins organization for years to come,” Mozingo said.
UPDATE: In an afternoon news conference, the Chattanooga Lookouts announced their new affiliation with the Minnesota Twins.
On Monday, The Los Angeles Dodgers notified the Lookouts of their interest in possible other locales for their Double A team.
UPDATE: The Tulsa World newspaper reports that the Tulsa Drillers have scheduled a 3:00pm CST news conference Wednesday where the Drillers and Dodgers are expected to announce they have signed a Player Development Contract.
That contract would effectively move the Dodgers AA franchise from Chattanooga to Tulsa.
PREVIOUS STORY: What was long speculated is now true. Channel 3 has confirmed the Los Angeles Dodgers are exploring other locations to place their Double-A team.
The Dodgers have given the Chattanooga Lookouts a list of four possible locations they are interested in. The Lookouts are one of the four teams/locations but we're told it is very unlikely the Dodgers will return to Chattanooga.
Lookouts GM Rich Mozingo tells us that the Dodgers can't talk to any minor league teams until Tuesday.
The Dodgers recently purchased the Oklahoma City Triple-A franchise and will move their AAA Albuquerque to OKC.
The Tulsa Drillers, a Double-A team in Tulsa, Oklahoma does not have a contract in place with the Colorado Rockies.
Speculation points to the Dodgers placing their Double-A team in Tulsa because of it's proximity to Oklahoma City.
The move makes geographical sense for Dodgers organization to have its Double-A and Triple-A teams close to Los Angeles.
To be clear, this does not mean the Lookouts are leaving Chattanooga. They will remain the Chattanooga Lookouts and will search for a new MLB affiliation just as they did when the Reds left town.