SALISBURY, Md. -- The Delmarva Shorebirds are proud to reach a two-year player development extension with the Baltimore Orioles through the end of the 2018 season.
The agreement was announced by Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and Shorebirds general manager Chris Bitters at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville on Tuesday.
"We are very happy to secure our future with the Orioles for another two years," Bitters said. "They have been great to us in providing players and field staff that lead to an exciting on-field product, and we have continued to make improvements to ensure that all who play for us can perform at a high level."
The Shorebirds and Orioles have a lengthy partnership that dates back to 1997. The 2016 season will mark the 20th season in which the two clubs have worked together, and they currently have the second-longest player development partnership in the South Atlantic League.
Through the end of the 2015 season, 65 former Shorebirds have gone on to make their major league debuts with the Orioles including Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts.
An agreement between the two teams comes at an exciting juncture in Shorebirds history, as the team is leading a multiyear renovation project at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium along with their partners in Wicomico County and the state of Maryland.
Improvements have included renovated clubhouses, training facilities and batting cages prior to the 2015 season, while 2016 will see the debut of a new playing surface and improved stadium lighting. The team is currently finalizing plans for the last phase of fan-centered improvements that will be completed in time for the 2017 season. This portion is scheduled to include a new video board, renovated seating and a 360-degree concourse among other enhancements.
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with Delmarva through this extension and are very pleased with the arrangement we have had thus far," Duquette said. "These investments will continue to help us build a championship club and expand the development of our players."
Delmarva will open its 2016 season against the Hagerstown Suns on April 7. They will then kick off their home schedule at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium with a contest against the Suns on April 14 at 7:05 p.m.
Group and season ticket packages for the 2016 season are on sale now. For more information, call 410-219-3112 or visit theshorebirds.com.