San Antonio - The San Antonio Missions announced today that they have extended their player-development contact (PDC) with the San Diego Padres through the 2018 season.
"We are excited to continue this partnership with the Padres and eager to see the infusion of young talent that the organization has accumulated this year through the draft, recent trades and international signings," said Missions President Burl Yarbrough.
"Playing in San Antonio against the challenging competition of the Texas League provides an invaluable baseball foundation," said Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller. "The Missions have a history of success, and we are excited to continue our partnership with such a strong organization."
In 10 seasons as San Diego's Double-A affiliate, the Missions have been to the playoffs five times and have won three TL championships (2007, 2011 and 2013). Though San Antonio missed out on the postseason in 2016, the club finished the second half with a 36-34 record. The 36 wins were tied for the third-most in the Texas League. Three Missions eventually earned a trip to San Diego during the 2016 season: SS Jose Rondon and RHPs Cesar Vargas and Jake Smith.
Rondon appeared in eight games for San Diego from late July to early August, picking up his first big league hit in the Padres' 2-1, walk-off victory over Cincinnati on July 30 at Petco Park. The talented infielder is now playing a pivotal role for Triple-A El Paso's run to the Pacific Coast League Championship Series. In 96 games for San Antonio this season, Rondon, a TL Mid-Season All-Star, hit .279 (105-for-376) with 21 doubles, two triples, five homers, 44 RBI, 45 runs scored and 13 steals.
Vargas impressed in a pair of April starts for San Antonio, allowing just two earned runs over 12.2 innings. In his first six starts in the big leagues, Vargas pitched to a 3.34 ERA (12 ER/32.1 IP) and fanned 27 batters against 13 walks.
Smith, who made his big league debut on September 7 vs. Boston, allowed just one run over six relief appearances for San Antonio.
"The city of San Antonio and the fans at 'The Wolff' provide a tremendous atmosphere for our players to experience the Double-A level," said Padres Director of Player Development Sam Geaney. "We're thrilled to continue our relationship with San Antonio and the Missions."
There are many other current Padres that have called San Antonio their home: RHP Leonel Campos (2013-14), RHP Kevin Quackenbush (2013), OF Alex Dickerson (2014) and OF Travis Jankowski (2014-15). And since 2007, 75 Missions have made the eventual jump from San Antonio to San Diego.
The Missions will kick off the 112th season of professional baseball in San Antonio on April 6, 2017 at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.