The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) and the Toronto Blue Jays announced a new two-year extension of their player development contact (PDC), through 2016.
"This is always an easy and enjoyable process when we extend our relationship with the Blue Jays," said Fisher Cats owner Art Solomon. "Toronto is a first-class organization and has consistently provided our fans with first-rate prospects and high-character players who embrace their time in our ballpark and community. We look forward to the next three seasons and the prospects of additional Eastern League titles to come."
The Blue Jays have been the only major league organization the Fisher Cats have known since their arrival in Manchester a decade ago. During the first ten years of the partnership, Blue Jays prospects have won a pair of Eastern League titles for the Granite State and 67 former players have gone on to make their major league debut after appearing with the Fisher Cats. In 2013 a total of five players advanced to the majors for the first time, including Blue Jays second baseman and 2012 Fisher Cats MVP Ryan Goins.
"Our relationship with the Fisher Cats has been fruitful and beneficial since day one," said Charlie Wilson, Blue Jays Director of Minor League Operations. "When our players are in New Hampshire, we know that they get to enjoy one of the best facilities in the minor leagues while playing in front of a dedicated fan base. But we also know that the Fisher Cats share our goal of integrating our players into the greater fabric of the community."
Perhaps no Fisher Cats player in ten years more embodied that community spirit than 2013 shortstop and Nashua resident Kevin Nolan. The Fisher Cats' first native Granite State player, Nolan took home the Blue Jays Community Service Award for his off-field work throughout his home state. His on-field work earned him a berth on the 2013 Eastern League All-Star Team.
"Kevin's work with our team this past summer on and off the field captures the quality of player and person we have encountered since our relationship with Toronto began," added Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner. "Extending our agreement with Toronto was a no-brainer, and we look forward to the next three seasons with the Blue Jays, their front office, and their minor league players."
The Fisher Cats affiliate relationship with the Blue Jays is the second longest in the Jays' minor league organization, trailing only Advanced Class A Dunedin, which is owned by Toronto.
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