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It’s official: Canadians now farm team for Toronto

Vancouver CanadiansYou read it here first, and it was officially announced today: the Toronto Blue Jays have signed a player-development contract with the Vancouver Canadians, as the only two Canadian teams in affiliated ball join forces.

The announcement confirms what we reported yesterday. Here’s the word from the official press release:

Partnering with Vancouver is a key initiative for both the Canadians and the Blue Jays, as it unites Canada’s only Minor League affiliate with Canada’s only Major League club. Having always received strong support from the west coast and particularly with British Columbia becoming a hotbed for baseball, this partnership will enhance the success of both organizations. Current British Columbia natives in the Blue Jays system include, Trystan Magnuson, Scott Richmond (Vancouver), Adam Loewen (Surrey), Michael Crouse & Shawn Bowman (New Westminster).

The Vancouver Canadians drew a club record 154,592 fans in 2010 at Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium, for an average of 4,068 to rank 2nd in the eight team Northwest League. It marked the 2nd consecutive season that the Canadians established a franchise attendance record, and with 2011 being the 60th season that Vancouver has called Nat Bailey Stadium home, both the Blue Jays and Canadians organizations are excited about the next four seasons.

The deal is a four-year player-development contract.

The move puts the Oakland A’s in a bind: there are now no open affiliations in the Northwest League, which means the Athletics front office must make a deal with one of the four NY-Penn League teams still seeking a parent: Vermont, Aubrun, Jamestown and Batavia.

Here’s a look at the current affiliate status.

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