LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Travelers and Los Angeles Angels announced today that the two organizations have signed a two-year Player Development Contract extension that will keep the Travelers as the Double-A affiliate of the Angels through the 2016 season. The announcement was made by Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto and Travelers team president Russ Meeks.
"We are thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with the Travelers franchise as well as the fans and city of Little Rock," said Scott Servais, Angels assistant general manager and head of scouting and player development. "We would also like to thank Russ Meeks and the board of directors for the Travelers for their efforts in the process. Arkansas has been nothing but a first class affiliate for the Angels organization."
The Angels have been the parent club of the Travelers since 2001. In 14 years as an Angels affiliate, the Travs have won two Texas League championships (2001 and 2008) and five Texas League Division Championships. Arkansas enjoys one of the longest running histories of any minor league franchise, initially being founded in 1901 as a charter member of the Southern Association. The 2014 season is the Travelers' 48th consecutive in the Texas League (since 1966) making the franchise the longest continuously running club in the league. Arkansas currently has a 21-22 record and is 2.5 games behind Tulsa in the Texas League North division entering play today.
"Our fans have seen some of the best young talent in all of the minors playing for the Travelers over the past 14 seasons," said Meeks. "We believe in the vision that Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais have for the Angels both at the Major League and Minor League levels and the Travelers want to continue to be a part of that vision moving forward."
Thirteen members of the Angels current 25-man roster played for Arkansas during their ascent through the Halos minor league system including Mike Trout, Jered Weaver, Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick. Former Angels All-Stars to have played with the Travelers include Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez.
The Travelers are the second highest-level affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels behind Triple-A Salt Lake and followed by the Inland Empire 66ers (A Advanced), Burlington Bees (A), Orem Owlz (rookie), Arizona League Angels (rookie) and Dominican Summer League Angels (rookie).