The San Diego Padres today announced they have signed a new player development contract with Short-Season A Tri-City of the Northwest League for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller made the announcement.
"Tri-City has a long history as a Short-Season A affiliate, helping players establish their professional footing and prepare for the next step in their careers," said Preller. "The Padres are excited to return to the Tri-Cities and we look forward to building a great relationship with the Dust Devils' ownership, management and fans."
The Dust Devils, who play their home games in Pasco, Wash., have been the Short-Season A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies since their inception in 2001. Prior to the Tri-Cities, the club had previously called Portland (1995-2000) and Bend, Ore. (1979-1994) home and has had affiliations with Colorado (1992-2014), California (1988-89) and Philadelphia (1979-86). The 2015 season will mark the return of Padres baseball to the Tri-Cities, as San Diego previously headquartered their short-season operations there from 1970-72 with the Tri-City Padres.
During the Padres' original three-year stint in the Tri-Cities, the club produced 15 future Major Leaguers, including 1976 Cy Young Award winner and Padres Hall of Famer Randy Jones, who made his professional debut with the Short-Season A club during the 1972 season.
Tri-City's ownership group is fronted by 21-year Major League veteran George Brett. Brett, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, was a teammate of Padres manager Bud Black from 1982-88 with the Kansas City Royals, including the 1985 club that won the World Series.
The Padres had been affiliated with Short-Season A Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League since 2001.
"While we appreciate the great relationship we've had with Eugene, we are excited and look forward to a long relationship with Tri-City," said Padres Vice President/Player Development Randy Smith.
The Dust Devils play their home games at Gesa Stadium. The facility, which has a capacity of 3,700, was originally built in 1995 and was renovated in 2007.