published Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Dodgers still happy to be in Chattanooga

The Chattanooga Lookouts are nearing the end of their fifth season as Class AA affiliates of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Chattanooga and Los Angeles agreed to a two-year partnership after the 2008 season and agreed to a four-year extension in August 2010. The four-year pact, which is the largest allowed by Major League Baseball, is scheduled to run through the 2014 season.

The Dodgers have not signed off on any player development contracts past the '14 season.

"We like being here," Dodgers farm director DeJon Watson said this week while visiting AT&T Field. "It's been a great relationship and a great partnership, so we will go into the offseason and sit down and roll this over with Stan Kasten and ownership and lay out where we want our partners and affiliates to be. This has been a great situation for us thus far, and right now I feel like we're comfortable here."

Chattanooga's sixth season with the Dodgers will mark the second-longest relationship the Lookouts have had since professional baseball returned to the city in 1976. The Lookouts were partnered with the Cincinnati Reds from 1988 to 2008 before Chattanooga owner Frank Burke opted for a switch.

Double-A baseball is comprised of the Eastern League, the Southern League, which includes the Lookouts among its 10 teams, and the Texas League. The Texas League is obviously closer to Los Angeles, but many of its locations would be just an hour shorter flight compared to Chattanooga.

"It's really about the development timing and getting on the field," Watson said. "The proximity of other ballclubs in the league is important, and Chattanooga is pretty centrally located. There is also a lot more travel in the Texas League than there is in this league."

Watson does not foresee going into the 2014 season without an agreement but said there are still questions lingering, the most notable being Burke's ongoing attempt to sell the Lookouts.

"We still don't have ownership here, so we are waiting to see how that shakes out," he said. "We want to make sure we're partnering with the right people, because the bottom line is relationships and being involved with great people. Frank has been a great partner for us, and we're just waiting to see how this thing works out for him and his family."

The Lookouts were scheduled to host Jacksonville on Thursday night, but the heavy afternoon rain left the field unplayable.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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