"The Mariners are committed to a strong minor league system," said Mariners Director of Player Development Andy McKay. "That commitment, coupled with our desire to remain in the California League and the great opportunity to be affiliated with the Nuts and the city and fans of Modesto, has led us to this partnership. We are looking forward to many, many years of success here in Modesto."
The Mariners seven minor league affiliates wrapped up the 2016 season combining for a 451-314 (.590) record, the best overall winning percentage of any organization this season. All seven teams finished the season .500 or better, and all seven Mariners minor league affiliates qualified for the post-season, with AA Jackson claiming the Southern League title and rookie Arizona earning the AZL championship. The Mariners Cal League affiliate finished 76-64 and claimed the second half Northern Division title before being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
"I think this is a great day for the Nuts, the City of Modesto and all baseball fans in the Stanislaus County area," said Michael Savit, Managing Partner of HWS Baseball IV, LLC, which has owned and managed the team since 2005. "The Mariners are a great organization, and the commitment they are making to the franchise says a great deal about Modesto and its baseball future. We couldn't be happier about partnering with the Mariners."
HWS Baseball will continue to manage the Modesto franchises day-to-day operations. The partnership is the second of its kind in the California League. The San Francisco Giants are the majority owners of the San Jose Giants franchise.
The Mariners have had a team in the California League for all but one season since 1978. Modesto becomes the ninth team Seattle has been affiliated with, joining Stockton (1978), San Jose (1979-80), Bakersfield (1982-83 & 2015-16), Salinas (1984-87), San Bernardino/Inland Empire (1988-92 & 2001-2006), Riverside (1993-95), Lancaster (1996-2000) and High Desert (2007-2014).
The 2017 season begins on Thursday, April 6th when the Nuts travel to Lake Elsinore to begin the franchise's first season as a Mariners affiliate. The home opener at John Thurman Field is scheduled for Thursday, April 13th against the Lancaster JetHawks.