The Durham Bulls today announce the extension of their Player Development Contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, which will lengthen the Bulls' affiliation with the Rays through the end of the 2018 season.
The four-year contract comes on the heels of a four-year deal signed in August, 2009, that went in to effect after the 2010 season. In the last four years of the affiliation, the Bulls have captured three International League South Division titles and the 2013 Governors' Cup Championship. The Rays have been Durham's only affiliate since the team jumped to the Triple-A classification in 1998.
"We're thrilled to once again extend our affiliation with the Tampa Bay Rays," said Mike Birling, Bulls General Manager since 2003. "We've been fortunate the Rays have been able to keep our long-time coaching staff intact to lead a seemingly endless crop of prospects year after year, which has translated into dominance on the field."
The 17-year affiliation between the Bulls and Rays, the third-longest affiliation in the International League, has provided the Bulls unparalleled success. The franchise has won 12 division titles and earned 13 playoff berths in that span, while winning the 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2013 Governors' Cup crowns. Additionally, the 2009 season saw the squad earn the title of Triple-A National Champions, defeating the Memphis Redbirds 5-4 in Oklahoma City.
"The Tampa Bay Rays are proud to continue to be the Major League affiliate of the Durham Bulls, Minor League Baseball's best Triple-A affiliate," said Tampa Bay Rays Director of Minor League Operations Mitch Lukevics. "The Bulls have been great partners, and we're excited to continue that relationship for the next four years."