The Tigers announced that they'll be continuing their partnership with their two upper level farm teams for the next couple seasons, as early this week, the club announced the renewal of the Player Development Contracts with the Erie SeaWolves of the Eastern League for Double-A, and the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League for Triple-A.
The club has been partnered with the Toledo Mud Hens continuously since 1987, in addition to three other stints of affiliation between the two dating back to the 1930's.
“We are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with the Toledo Mud Hens," said Dave Littlefield, Tigers' Vice President of Player Development. "Toledo runs a first class operation and continues to play an integral role in preparing our players for the Major Leagues. Our organizational goal is to field a competitive and winning team in Toledo and we certainly would like to reward Mud Hens fans with a championship to celebrate."
On the SeaWolves, the Tigers first partnered with the Erie club in 2001, having just completed its 16th season of partnership after the Tigers moved the Double-A club north from Jacksonville. This relationship has been a bit more tumultuous than Toledo, as the SeaWolves have struggled in recent years, and haven't had a plethora of impact talent for an extended period of time to help them compete for the league championship.
"We appreciate the relationship we have with the SeaWolves and are delighted to extend this agreement," Dave Littlefield, Tigers' Vice President of Player Development said. "While we are in the business of developing impact type players, winning is an important part of the process, and the goal is to see the Erie club win the Eastern League Championship."
The club's other full season teams, the Lakeland Flying Tigers (High-A) and West Michigan Whitecaps (Low-A) are already inked. The Whitecaps signed a renewal in 2015 that runs through 2020, and the Flying Tigers, playing at the spring home of the big league club, are owned by the organization and have a perpetual PDC in place with that. The Tigers are also affiliated to the Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League through 2018.