COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Tigers and West Michigan Whitecaps announced today that they have agreed to a two-year extension of their player development contract. The agreement will keep Tigers prospects playing at Fifth Third Ballpark through the 2020 season.
Tigers Director of Minor League Operations Dan Lunetta said that moving forward with the Whitecaps was an easy decision.
"We are delighted to extend our partnership an additional two years, taking us to 2020," Lunetta said. "This all takes place because of several factors; first, our tremendous relationship with the Whitecaps ownership and front office; second, their continued commitment to providing a first class operation and an excellent environment for our players to develop; and third, wonderful and strong support from the community. It is a natural tie for the Tigers and Whitecaps to maintain a long-term commitment to one another and we are proud to continue our affiliation with the Whitecaps."
The Whitecaps have been the Tigers' Class A Midwest League affiliate since 1997. The Whitecaps have won four Midwest League Championships with the Tigers (1998, 2004, 2006, 2007) and have seen dozens of prospects and current stars play in West Michigan, including Brandon Inge, Alex Avila, Ramon Santiago, Andy Dirks, Don Kelly, Francisco Cordero, Robert Fick, Cameron Maybin, Jeff Weaver, Fernando Rodney, Matt Joyce, Eugenio Suarez, and Nick Castellanos.
The two organizations last renewed in August of 2011 with a four-year deal which kept the relationship through the end of the 2018 season.
Whitecaps Vice President Jim Jarecki said that the Whitecaps relationship with the Tigers has been outstanding since its 1997 start.
"They've given us great players and teams over the years, four of which have won the Midwest League championship," Jarecki said. "But, just as important, they have understood and have been supportive of our community efforts here in West Michigan. We are extremely excited to be extending our Player Development Contract to 2020 and working with the front office of the Detroit Tigers. This extension assures Tigers fans of seeing the best future talent of the Tigers."