The Mariners have a pair of new minor league working agreements, adding the Arkansas Travelers of the AA Texas League and Modesto Nuts in the high-A California League. Seattle also purchased a majority interest in the Modesto club. The affiliation for Arkansas covers the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The Mariners formerly affiliated with the Jackson Generals of the AA Southern League and high-A Bakersfield of the California League. The Generals won the Southern League title this season.
“The Mariners have a commitment to a strong minor league system, and value the best possible environment for our prospects to develop,” said Andy McKay, director of player development. “We will have that environment with the Arkansas Travelers.”
“The Mariners look forward to working closely with our new partner, the Arkansas Travelers,” said Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto. “It is a franchise with great fans, a great staff and a great ballpark, as well as a long and storied history in professional baseball, dating back to 1901. Both organizations are committed to the community, good baseball and an entertaining ballpark experience.”
“I think this is a great day for the Nuts, the City of Modesto and all baseball fans in the Stanislaus County area,” said Michael Savit, managing partner of HWS Baseball IV, which has owned and managed the Nuts since 2005. “The Mariners are a great organization, and the commitment they are making to the franchise says a great deal about Modesto and its baseball future. We couldn’t be happier about partnering with the Mariners.”
The Mariners have had a team in the California League for all but one season since 1978. Bakersfield had been an affiliate since 2015.
In 2016, the Mariners’ seven minor league affiliates combined for a 451-314 record (.590), the best winning percentage in baseball. All seven teams had winning records and qualified for playoffs. The AZL Mariners won the rookie Arizona League title.
In addition to Arkansas and Modesto, the Mariners are affiliated with the AAA Tacoma Rainiers (Pacific Coast League), A Clinton LumberKings (Midwest League), short-season A Everett AquaSox (Northwest League), rookie AZL Mariners (Arizona League) and DSL Mariners (Dominican Summer League).
The Mariners play the middle game of a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. at Safeco Field. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (16-11, 3.87) will throw for Seattle opposite former Mariner J.A. Happ (19-4, 3.27).
The Mariners (79-71) are tied with Houston, three games behind the Blue Jays and Orioles (both 82-68), for the American League’s second wild card slot with 12 games remaining.