Mariners Announce Two Player Development Contracts
The Mariners announced two player development contracts today, a two-year agreement with the Arkansas Travelers of the AA Texas League and a four-year agreement with the Modesto Nuts of the high-A California League.
AA Arkansas Travelers
The 2016 season marked the Travelers 51st consecutive season in the Texas League, the longest continuously running club in the league. The Travelers play their home games at Dickey-Stephens Park in Little Rock, Ark.
“The Mariners look forward to working closely with our new partner, the Arkansas Travelers,” Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “It is a franchise with great fans, a great staff and a great ballpark, as well as a long and storied history in professional baseball, dating back to 1901. Both organizations are committed to the community, good baseball and an entertaining ballpark experience.”
High-A Modesto Nuts
In addition to the player development agreement with the Nuts, the Mariners franchise has purchased a majority interest in the Modesto club to help assure a long-term partnership between the two organizations. Mariners president and COO Kevin Mather, along with Mariners Director of Player Development Andy McKay, made the announcement in a joint news conference with the Nuts this morning in Modesto, Calif.
“The Mariners are committed to a strong minor league system,” McKay said in a statement. “That commitment, coupled with our desire to remain in the California League and the great opportunity to be affiliated with the Nuts and the city and fans of Modesto, has led us to this partnership. We are looking forward to many, many years of success here in Modesto.”
The 2017 season begins on Thursday, April 6th when the Nuts travel to Lake Elsinore to begin the franchise’s first season as a Mariners affiliate. The home opener at John Thurman Field in Modesto, Calif. is scheduled for Thursday, April 13th against the Lancaster JetHawks.
2016 Minor League Recap
The Mariners seven minor league affiliates wrapped up the 2016 season combining for a 451-314 (.590) record, the best overall winning percentage of any organization this season. All seven teams finished the season .500 or better, and all seven Mariners minor league affiliates qualified for the post-season, with AA Jackson claiming the Southern League title and rookie Arizona earning the AZL championship. The Mariners Cal League affiliate finished 76-64 and claimed the second half Northern Division title before being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.