“We’re thrilled to extend our Player Development Contract with the West Michigan Whitecaps,” said Tigers Vice President of Player Development Dave Littlefield via press release. “The Whitecaps have provided our Tigers minor leaguers with a top-notch environment for the past 22 seasons, and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship into an exciting future for the organization.”
The two organizations last renewed in January of 2015 with a two-year extension that continued the relationship through the end of the 2020 season.
Whitecaps Vice President and General Manager Jim Jarecki said that the Whitecaps relationship with the Tigers has been outstanding since its 1997 start. “We have had a great relationship with the Tigers. We’ve seen many great players come through here and have had several great teams.” Jarecki said. “They have also understood and have been extremely supportive of our community efforts. We are excited to be extending our Player Development Contract to 2022. This extension assures Whitecaps fans of seeing the best future talent of the Detroit Tigers.”
Since becoming a Tigers affiliate in 1997, the Whitecaps have won five Midwest League Championships (1998, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2015) and have seen hundreds of prospects and current stars play in West Michigan, including Brandon Inge, Alex Avila, Don Kelly, Francisco Cordero, Robert Fick, Cameron Maybin, Jeff Weaver, Fernando Rodney, Matt Joyce, Eugenio Suarez, Corey Knebel, Devon Travis, Nicholas Castellanos and Joe Jimenez.
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.