Another big piece of the affiliation pie fell into place: The Fort Wayne TinCaps (Low Class A; Midwest League) and the San Diego Padres renewed their player development contract (PDC) through the 2016 season.
Fort Wayne has been San Diego’s Class A affiliate in the Midwest League since 1999.
“We’re ecstatic to extend our terrific partnership with the Padres,” TinCaps President Mike Nutter said in a press release. “Our relationship with San Diego has been an essential part of the success we’ve had over the years as an organization in Fort Wayne.”
The two-year deal between the TinCaps and Padres will see their affiliation reach 18 years, tying it for the longest-lasting Minor League Baseball affiliation in San Diego history. Of the 16 teams in the Midwest League, currently, only the West Michigan Whitecaps have had a longer tenure in the league with their parent club, the nearby Detroit Tigers.
“The Midwest League is an important level for our player development, where players become first acclimated to a full season of professional baseball,” Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller said. “We are fortunate to have such a strong, long-term relationship with Fort Wayne.”
The TinCaps had filed as a free agent this offseason, with the assumption there would be talks with the Chicago Cubs about a new affiliation. But there never were talks, and the TinCaps moved forward with the Padres renewal.
“The Padres have the best affiliate in the Midwest League, hands down,” said Padres Vice President, Player Development Randy Smith. “The best fans, a tremendous ballpark at Parkview Field with the best playing surface, along with great ownership and leadership from Jason Freier and Mike Nutter. We are excited to continue our relationship with Fort Wayne.”
Not only did the TinCaps reach the playoffs again in 2014, the franchise also set new records for single game, regular season, and overall attendance.
“Thanks to the Padres, we believe we’ve created a winning culture at Parkview Field,” Nutter said. “It’s been a great run for the TinCaps so far with San Diego and there’s no reason for that momentum to stop going forward.”
There are three open affiliations in Low Class A, all in the Midwest League: Kane County, South Bend and Beloit. South Bend management had indicated they would be going after the Cubs.
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