At a news conference today at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, the Legends and the Royals announced a new player development agreement that will run through the 2016 season. The Legends will continue to play in the class A South Atlantic League.
Legends Chairman Bill Shea and President/COO Andy Shea were connected to the Royals’ organization through their five-year ownership of the Omaha Storm Chasers, formerly the Omaha Royals, Kansas City’s triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. The Sheas sold their interest in the Omaha team earlier this year.
“I have had the fortunate experience of getting to work with the Kansas City Royals the past five seasons through our ownership stake in the Omaha club,” said Andy Shea. “Every single occasion has been the ultimate professional encounter. This is a fantastic fit for Lexington, Whitaker Bank Ballpark, and the Lexington Legends. We look forward to being a part of the Royals continued dedication to the minor league system and the growth of both clubs.”
Scott Sharp, Kansas City Royals Director of Minor League Operations, who was in Lexington for the announcement, said the Royals have “long coveted the South Atlantic League as one of the best leagues in baseball for developing young players.”
“The fact that we get the chance to join the league in one of the finest facilities with a strong ownership group and front office staff is a tremendous bonus,” Sharp said.
The Legends had been a Houston Astros affiliate since the Legends began play in 2001. The Royals’ previous class A affiliate was the Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.