The Billings Mustangs (Rookie; Pioneer League) and the Cincinnati Reds have signed a two-year extension of their player development contract (PDC), announcing a pact through the 2020 season. Mustangs Managing Partner Dave Heller and Reds Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe made the announcement in a joint press conference on Wednesday at Dehler Park.
In addition to the 2018 season being the 66th year that the Mustangs franchise has called Billings home, it also marks the 45th consecutive season that the Mustangs have served as the Rookie affiliate of the Reds.
“I’ve had the privilege of being in baseball for 17 years now, and over that time I have worked with many major league organizations. I can say unequivocally the Reds are one of the finest. From Bob Castellini and Dick Williams right on down, they are all great people who care passionately about baseball, doing things the right way, and building a world-class farm system,” said Mustangs’ Managing Partner Dave Heller. “We are proud to be part of the longest affiliation between a minor and major league team at the short-season level and we’re excited to continue it. The Reds give Billings championship-level players and we in Billings give them a beautiful ballpark and a well-run club in a championship community. We’re a perfect fit!”
Along with the on-field success, the Reds and Mustangs have seen Dehler Park gain major notoriety as one of the best facilities in Minor League Baseball. Ballpark Digest previously named Dehler Park the best ballpark in Rookie League baseball.
“We couldn’t be happier to announce an extension with the Billings Mustangs. The experience that young players receive during their time in Billings is critical to our development philosophy and the sense of community and passion for the game allows us to grow players both on and off the field,” noted Reds Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe. “Our ownership group in Cincinnati has invested heavily in player development and 2018 is the first year we were able to establish what we believe to be the ideal affiliate structure. We would like to thank Dave Heller and Gary Roller for all that they do for the Reds and look forward to many more years together.”
The partnership between the Mustangs and Reds, which began in 1974, is the longest running affiliation in the Pioneer League and one of the longest in all professional baseball.
This year has also brought the election of former Mustangs shortstop Trevor Hoffman to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. On Jul. 29, Hoffman will join George Brett as the only former Mustangs to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
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.