A long-running affiliation will continue, as the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League) and Texas Rangers have extended their player development contract through 2020. This effectively serves as a two-year extension between the two clubs.
The two-year extension until September 2020 is the longest currently permitted by the Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), which governs the relationship between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball.
The RoughRiders’ home opener Thursday at Dr Pepper Ballpark will mark the start of the 16th year of the affiliation between Frisco and Texas. The partnership began with the Riders’ inaugural season in Frisco in 2003.
“The relationship the RoughRiders enjoy with the Rangers transcends the geographic proximity between Frisco and Arlington,” Riders General Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg said. “From ownership to the front office to the coaches, medical staff and players, the Rangers organization is full of first-class people and great friends who genuinely prioritize our baseball and business relationship and make this partnership so enjoyable on a daily basis. We’re proud of our affiliation with the Rangers and excited to continue as their Double-A affiliate for many years to come.”
“The Rangers are pleased to extend our affiliation with the Frisco RoughRiders and continue a partnership that we believe is as strong as any that exists between a major league parent club and a minor league affiliate,” Rangers Assistant GM Jayce Tingler said. “The entire RoughRiders’ ownership and front office staff go out of their way to provide our players with a big league environment at the Double-A level.”
In 15 seasons, 140 former RoughRiders players have reached the Major Leagues, with 99 debuting with the Rangers. Notable former Riders who went on to play for Texas include All-Stars Chris Davis, Neftali Feliz, Adrian Gonzalez and Ian Kinsler, along with current stars Elvis Andrus, Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor. The RoughRiders have made eight postseason appearances, played in four Texas League Championship Series and won the 2004 league title.
Additionally, 89 Rangers players have appeared at Dr Pepper Ballpark on injury rehab or conditioning assignments, highlighted by fan favorites Nelson Cruz, Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Mark Teixeira.
The RoughRiders are one of the Rangers’ six domestic-based minor league affiliates for the 2018 season, joining the Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), Down East Wood Ducks (High A; Carolina League), Hickory Crawdads (Low A; South Atlantic League), Spokane Indians (Short Season A; Northwest League) and the rookie-level Arizona Summer League Rangers, based at the Rangers’ Spring Training complex in Surprise, Arizona.
You can read more about the current state of affiliations on our Affiliate Dance page. We expect a number of affiliations to be renewed in coming weeks, but there are always intriguing openings at every level of baseball. As you can see on the Affiliate Dance page, MLB and MiLB teams can renew their existing affiliations at any point. At the end of the 2018 season, teams can file to search new affiliation options, so there’s always a shuffle of sorts at the end of the year.