BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- The Bakersfield Blaze and Seattle Mariners are proud to announce a player development partnership that will make the Blaze the California League, Class A Advanced affiliate of the Mariners beginning in 2015.
The affiliation will last at least through the 2016 season.
"Bakersfield has an incredibly rich baseball history," said Mariners director of player development Chris Gwynn. "Pedro Martinez played here. Mike Piazza played here. The city of Bakersfield and Sam Lynn Ballpark have produced top baseball talent for almost eight decades.
"The Mariners are extremely excited about this new partnership. Bakersfield gives us a great opportunity to evaluate our players and help get our young athletes ready for the next level. We believe this transition should create more confidence among our players and the results will follow."
"We are beyond thrilled to partner with the Seattle Mariners," said Blaze general manager Elizabeth Martin. "The Mariners consistently produce winning Minor League clubs, which our fans will enjoy on a nightly basis. I knew, in my gut, that the Mariners would be the right fit, and the pieces fell into place in just a matter of days."
The Mariners' Minor League system is regarded by most publications as one of the best in baseball, posting the fifth-best combined winning percentage of any organization over the past four years.
This will be the Mariners' second stint as a Major League affiliate in Bakersfield, previously partnering in 1982-83. During the Mariners' first trip to Bakersfield, the club helped install the scoreboard that still operates in right field.