The Arkansas Travelers (Class AA; Texas League) will begin next season with a new parent club, as the team has reached an agreement with the Seattle Mariners. That player development contract (PDC) runs through the 2018 season.
There is an ongoing shuffle across the Double-A ranks. The Mariners’ pairing with the Travelers was announced just after it was revealed that the Jackson Generals (Class AA; Southern League)–the team’s previous affiliate–had reached an agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Travelers, meanwhile, were previously affiliated with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Travelers President Russ Meeks commented, “The Travelers are excited to have this opportunity to start a new relationship with the Seattle Mariners. This also brings an opportunity to, again, work with Jerry Dipoto and his staff. We have a mutual understanding of our goals and objectives in the development of players at the Double-A level. We believe this is a great opportunity for our loyal Travelers fans.”
Mariners Director of Player Development Andy McKay said, “The Mariners have a commitment to a strong minor league system, and value the best possible environment for our prospects to develop. We will have that environment with the Arkansas Travelers.”
In 2016, the Mariners’ seven minor league affiliates combined for a 451-314 record (.590), the best winning percentage in baseball. All seven teams had winning records and qualified for their league playoffs. Jackson, the Mariners Double-A affiliate, claimed the Southern League championship, and the AZL Mariners won the Rookie Arizona League title.
“The Mariners look forward to working closely with our new partner, the Arkansas Travelers,” said Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager Jerry Dipoto. “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.”
2016 marked the Travelers 51st consecutive season in the Texas League, the longest continuously running club in the league.
Note: This story was corrected to note that the Travelers are members of the Texas League, not the Southern League.