Seattle Mariners

Tacoma will be Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate for at least four more seasons

Rhubarb gives a high-five to a young fan as he dances on the dugout during the Tacoma Rainiers’ game against the Las Vegas 51s at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Wash., on Thursday, June 28, 2018.
Rhubarb gives a high-five to a young fan as he dances on the dugout during the Tacoma Rainiers’ game against the Las Vegas 51s at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Wash., on Thursday, June 28, 2018. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

The Tacoma Rainiers are still the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate after a four-year contract agreement was announced Thursday morning.

Could you image the Rainiers housing prospects for some other major league team? Sure, those prospects would be ranked higher than those with the Mariners, who are widely considered to have the least overall depth and top-end prospect talent of any organization, but Seattle and Tacoma are intertwined when it comes to baseball.

So the Rainiers, who have been the Mariners’ top farm affiliate since 1995, will remain part of the Mariners’ organization through the 2022 season.

“The relationship between the Mariners and the Rainiers has been a staple of baseball in the Pacific Northwest,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a press release. “While we are two franchises, we remain one baseball family and couldn’t be more thankful for our terrific partners in Tacoma. We fully believe this is simply the next chapter in what will soon be a quarter century of tradition.”

The announcement came two days after Rainiers manager Pat Listach said he was informed by the Mariners that he will not return to the organization, ending his time in Tacoma after four seasons.

The Mariners had yet to name a replacement for Listach.

The Rainiers went 66-73 this past season, finishing third in the Pacific Coast League Northern Division. Some of the current Mariners to have played for the Rainiers at some point include Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager, James Paxton, Mike Zunino and, this year, Robinson Cano while he was on a rehab assignment.

“This has always been a great relationship,” Rainiers owner Mikal Thomsen said. “Our fans in Tacoma and I are all Mariners fans, so it is a natural thing to follow players on both teams from the fan standpoint. On the business side, the Mariners – to a person and as an organization – have been great to work with, and we look forward to maintaining this affiliation far into the future.”

Since 1960, Tacoma previously has been affiliated with the Oakland Athletics for 14 seasons after brief periods with the Indians (1979-80), Yankees (1978), Twins (1972-77), Cubs (1966-71) and Giants (1960-65).

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677; Twitter: @TJCotterill

 

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