Months before their first season in an affiliation, the Seattle Mariners and Arkansas Travelers (Class AA; Texas League) are optimistic about their partnership’s potential.
At the end of the 2016 season, the Travelers split from their long-time parent club, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That decision was part of a flurry of moves that took place at the Double-A level, which ultimately resulted in the Travelers signing on with the Mariners, who had ceased their partnership with the Jackson Generals (Class AA; Southern League).
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto says that the Travelers are an ideal fit for his franchise. Dipoto, whose relationship with Travelers dates back to his tenure as the Angels general manager from 2011-2015, believes that the quality of facility and the team’s membership in the Texas League are key factors for the viability of the affiliation.
For their part, the Travelers believe that Dipoto and the Mariners are laying the ground work for a strong relationship. More from Arkansas Online:
“For us, one of the things we really aspired to was to play in the Texas League with affiliates of the teams we play against day in and day out all year long,” Dipoto said. “And I was just so familiar with the facility and the people here. Whatever we need, they always provide, and hopefully we’ll do the same for them to help them put a good product on the field.”
Dipoto was in Little Rock on Thursday to speak at the Travelers’ annual hot stove banquet at Robinson Auditorium.
Travelers President Russ Meeks said his team’s former connection with Dipoto was an asset.
“It just worked out well,” Meeks said. “We met with some of their people to be sure that they wanted to come here. We thought it was a good idea, and that’s basically how it came about, but primarily it was done because the contacts we had with Jerry.
Announced in September, the two-year player development contract between the Mariners and the Travelers runs through the 2018 season. You can keep track of the latest affiliation developments in Minor League Baseball by visiting our Affiliate Dance page.