Toledo has served as Detroit’s top minor league affiliate since 1987 in a relationship that clearly benefits both baseball teams.
“We have always had a great working relationship with the Tigers and look forward to continuing it,” said Erik Ibsen, Toledo Mud Hens general manager and executive vice president, in a press statement. “We’re excited for this upcoming season with the influx of minor league talent the Tigers have added to their system, that our fans have the potential of seeing more prospects coming through Toledo before heading to Detroit.”
“We are excited to be continuing our partnership with the Toledo Mud Hens through the 2020 season,” said Detroit Tigers Vice President of Player Development Dave Littlefield in a press statement. The relationship between the Tigers and Mud Hens dates back to 1987, making it the fourth-longest active Triple-A affiliate across baseball. The Mud Hens play a significant role in developing our prospects for the Major League level and we’re thrilled that Mud Hens’ fans will continue to have the opportunity to watch Tigers’ stars of tomorrow for the years to come.”
Toledo has made the postseason four times (2002, 2005, 2006, and 2007) and has won the International League’s Governors’ Cup twice (2005 & 2006) while at Fifth Third Field.
As far as affecting 2018’s Affiliate Dance, this doesn’t: the Toledo-Detroit PDC extension was totally expected, as the relationship between the teams is strong. Every two years the affiliations between MLB and MiLB teams are up for renewal, unless a long-term PDC is in place. There are a number of Triple-A relationships that end at the conclusion of the 2018 season, but many will end up renewing: it’s hard to see Seattle and Tacoma breaking up, for example, or Kansas City and Omaha. But this year will almost certainly see some interesting shifts. For starters, the New York Mets are shifting affiliation from Las Vegas to Syracuse, leaving the Washington Nationals to seek a new Triple-A affiliate. Las Vegas, traditionally the last choice of MLB teams, will be in demand with a new ballpark in the works. The Colorado Springs Sky Sox franchise is moving to San Antonio for the 2019 season, and the current PDC with the Milwaukee Brewers expires at the end of the 2018 season — as does the Texas Rangers’ agreement with the Round Rock Express. It would be astounding if the Houston Astros don’t shift affiliation from Fresno to Round Rock, and despite some whispers to the contrary, it would be a surprise if the Texas Rangers don’t end up in San Antonio. We expect a few MLB teams to pursue a Las Vegas affiliation — the new ballpark and the airline schedules make it a desirable market — which could open up some other decent affiliations. Will Oakland seek a Vegas affiliation? Could the Minnesota Twins pursue the Nashville Sounds and set up a very convenient arrangement with its current Double-A affiliate, Chattanooga? Could the Nationals end up in Rochester? And does that leave the Brewers in Fresno? Also, there are always some surprises when affiliation season launches — there are already rumblings of changes at lower levels impacted by MLB teams buying MiLB franchises. So let’s just say August and September should be fascinating months in the 2018 Minor League Baseball season.