The Toronto Blue Jays will remain in the Rookie Appalachian League through 2020, as they have inked a two-year extension with the Bluefield Blue Jays.
On Friday, Toronto Blue Jay officials were at Bluefield’s Bowen Field to make the announcement. Toronto has had a presence in Bluefield since the 2011 season, and will continue to send its prospects there through 2020 as the result of a recent extension.
Technically, Appalachian League teams are owned by their MLB affiliates and managed by local organizations. That means in this case, the Blue Jays announced a two-year extension of their contract with the Bluefield Baseball Club. In making the announcement, Toronto emphasized that it is excited to maintain its relationship with Bluefield, noting its strong appreciation for the community. More from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:
Charlie Wilson, the director of Minor League Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, used that simple statement to underpin a big announcement on Friday afternoon on the infield grass of Bowen Field, home of the Appalachian League’s Bluefield Blue Jays.
“I couldn’t be happier to be here today,” Wilson said, standing in front of the pitcher’s mound. “On behalf of the Blue Jays, I’m really excited to announce that we’ve extended our working agreement with the Bluefield Baseball Club for another two years, so we’ll be here at least through 2020.”
This will be the third two-year agreement between Toronto and Bluefield. The 2018 team is playing in the final year of the current two-year deal. Technically, he said, “We’ve agreed to terms in a contract extension.”
“Obviously, we’ve enjoyed our time in Bluefield. This is a great, great area for our young players,” Wilson said. “Bluefield’s a great city, it’s a great community that welcomed our organization, our players and our coaches — and we love it here.”
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.