The San Diego Padres today announced they have extended their player development contract with Single-A Fort Wayne of the Midwest League for two years through the 2016 season. Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller made the announcement.
"The Midwest League is an important level for our player development, where players become first acclimated to a full season of professional baseball," said Preller. "We are fortunate to have such a strong, long-term relationship with Fort Wayne."
A Padres affiliate since 1999, the TinCaps have posted a 1,105-1,116 (.498) regular season record over that span. The 16-year partnership with Fort Wayne is the second-longest minor league affiliation in franchise history, and will match the longest at the end of the extension in 2016 (Triple-A Las Vegas, 1983-2000). The partnership has been highlighted by a Midwest League Championship in 2009, as well as six consecutive trips to the Midwest League playoffs since the 2009 season, the longest active streak in the 16-team league.
The 2014 season was the first year at the helm for current Manager Michael Collins, who took over for Jose Valentin after he accepted the role as the Padres first base coach. This season, the TinCaps recently finished the regular season with an overall 63-76 (.453) record, but managed to clinch a Second Half Wild Card berth to keep their postseason streak alive. Parkview Field, the club's downtown ballpark which opened prior to the 2009 season, saw 411,028 fans come through its gates in 2014, a new franchise record.
"The Padres have the best affiliate in the Midwest League, hands down," said Padres Vice President, Player Development Randy Smith. "The best fans, a tremendous ballpark at Parkview Field with the best playing surface, along with great ownership and leadership from Jason Freier and Mike Nutter. We are excited to continue our relationship with Fort Wayne."
Of the players currently on the Padres active roster, nine went through Fort Wayne during their minor league careers, including Jedd Gyorko, Will Venable, Tommy Medica, Rymer Liriano, Cory Spangenberg, Dale Thayer, Leonel Campos, Kevin Quackenbush and Frank Garces.