Indians extend deal with Pirates through 2016

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The Indianapolis Indians on Monday announced they have agreed to extend their deal to remain the AAA farm team for the Pittsburgh Pirates  through 2016.

Financial terms of the deal were not released. Major League Baseball teams typically cover the player payroll for their minor league farm teams, leaving the farm team to cover venue operations.

The Indianapolis Indians have been profitable for 37 consecutive years, according to public financial records. The franchise saw profit grow to $1.57 million on operating revenue of $11 million in 2012, compared with profit of $1.06 million on revenue of $10 million in 2011.

“The Pirates leadership team of President Frank Coonelly, General Manager Neal Huntington, Assistant General Manager Kyle Stark and Director of Minor League Operations Larry Broadway has provided excellent leadership for the organization,” said Indians Vice President and General Manager Cal Burleson in a prepared statement.

“Indians Manager Dean Treanor and his outstanding coaching staff have been great to work with, and our players have performed extremely well," Burleson said. "It has been exciting to see the Pirates become strong contenders for the postseason with former Indians like Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte, Neil Walker, Tony Sanchez, Jordy Mercer, Gerrit Cole and many others playing such an important role.”

The Pirates are in first place in the National League Central with a record of 70-47. The team is closing in on its first winning season since 1992.

It’s no secret that Indians Chairman Max Schumacher has long demanded that the Major League Baseball affiliate of the Indians field a strong team in Indianapolis.

Since the Indians began their affiliation with the Pirates in 2005, they have posted a 668-604 regular-season record (through Sunday), including a 352-289 mark at Victory Field. Indianapolis currently holds a 10-game lead in the International League West Division. With a playoff berth this season, the Tribe will have reached the postseason in four of its nine years under Pittsburgh.

The Pirates’ Broadway cited Indianapolis’ “passionate fan base” as a big reason why Pirates executives extended the deal.

“We are looking forward to continuing our strong partnership with the Indianapolis Indians and the city of Indianapolis,” Coonelly said. “Indianapolis is a Major League city and Victory Field is a great facility for our players to call home.”

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