The Rochester Red Wings and Minnesota Twins have extended their player development contract through the 2018 season.
Red Wings President/CEO/COO Naomi Silver:
"The Twins have been an outstanding partner to the Red Wings. With a Major League affiliation, a Minor League club hopes for three important things: a competitive team, having future Major Leaguers and top draft picks being a part of that team, and a Big League team that values the importance of the Minor League system. The Twins have been great to us in each of these areas. They've regularly fielded winning teams here and we've seen a lot of great players come through Rochester. Every month someone from the Twins top management comes to town to see their players and to consult with field personnel and our front office. They rely on their Minor League system to develop young players, and we are the ones who benefit from that. We consider ourselves lucky that the Minnesota Twins respect and appreciate our organization and want to continue this affiliation."
Red Wings Chairman of the Board, Gary Larder:
"We do not take our choice of an affiliate lightly. Having worked with the Minnesota Twins for 14 years, we know first-hand how they work as partners with their minor league teams, and that is so very, very important."
Rochester has been over .500 in eight of the 13 seasons entering 2016 and have made the International League playoffs twice since becoming affiliated with Minnesota. The Red Wings fell in a winner-take-all game five in the Governors' Cup Finals vs. Toledo in 2006 and lost in the first round vs. Pawtucket in 2013. Four teams have been under .500, including three straight from 2009-11, and one team finished 72-72 during the Twins-era.
Twins Interim General Manager Rob Antony:
"It's been a tremendous partnership that we've had with Rochester. The biggest things you look for in an affiliate are A. you want good ownership, Rochester has that, B. you want good facilities, Rochester has that, and C. you want a good fan base and the fans in Rochester have been very supportive of this club. The stability is great and when we landed in Rochester we knew very quickly that this was a relationship that was going to work. And they're the same type of people we are. When things are working there's no reason to look elsewhere for something better. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. We have put competitive teams on the field for the club and fans. On their end of it, they've been terrific partners and addressed some of the things that we have needed in the way of some improvements that have helped us so that we can develop our players the way we want and need to."
Twins Director of Minor League Operations Brad Steil:
"We are thrilled to continue our long-standing affiliation with the Red Wings. Rochester is home to great baseball fans and we are very appreciative of all the support they have given to our players over the years.We have had a tremendous partnership with the Red Wings front office and we are looking forward to working together for many years to come."
The Red Wings are the only IL team to be five or more games over .500 each of the last four seasons as Rochester has been 10 games over in each year during that stretch, including 2016. Across all full-season leagues in the minors, the only other franchises 10 games over .500 each of the last four seasons, including 2016, are Single-A Visalia (California League), Single-A Lancaster (California League) and Single-A Myrtle Beach (California League). Indianapolis is the only other IL team to be over .500 each season since 2013. Rochester has the second-most wins in the league (300) behind only Columbus (305) since 2013 through IL action on Thursday.
Chris Colabello is the lone International League Most Valuable Player during the Twins-era, winning the award in 2013. Kevin Slowey was honored as the IL Most Valuable Pitcher in 2007, the lone recipient of the league award since 2003. A Red Wing has earned IL Rookie of the Year four times: Colabello in 2013, Randy Ruiz in 2008, Francisco Liriano in 2005 and Jason Kubel in 2004.
Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are former Wings to earn an MVP award in the Majors during affiliation with Minnesota, though Mauer's first and only appearance with Rochester came on a rehab assignment in 2004. Morneau won American League MVP in 2006 while Mauer earned the award in 2009. Former Red Wing R.A. Dickey is the lone Cy Young recipient since 2003, taking home National League honors in 2012 with the New York Mets.
Minnesota's Triple-A team has been in five different cities, including Rochester, since 1978. The top Twins farm club was previously in Toledo (1978-86), Portland (1987-93), Salt Lake (1994-2000) and Edmonton (2001-02) before affiliating with the Red Wings in 2003.