Fisher Cats, Blue Jays extend affiliation for two years
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Tuesday announced a two-year extension of their player-development contract with Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays. The extension of the PDC agreement means the Fisher Cats will remain the Blue Jays' Double-A affiliate through 2016, extending the relationship between Toronto and New Hampshire to 13 consecutive seasons.
"This is always an easy and enjoyable process when we extend our relationship with the Blue Jays," Fisher Cats owner Art Solomon said in a team release. "Toronto is a first-class organization and has consistently provided our fans with first-rate prospects and high-character players who embrace their time in our ballpark and community. We look forward to the next three seasons and the prospects of additional Eastern League titles to come."
The Fisher Cats have been affiliated with Toronto throughout their time in New Hampshire, which began with the 2004 season. During the first 10 years of the partnership, Blue Jays prospects won a pair of Eastern League championships, and 67 former New Hampshire players made their major-league debuts. In 2013, five players advanced to the majors for the first time, including Blue Jays second baseman and 2012 Fisher Cats MVP Ryan Goins.
"Our relationship with the Fisher Cats has been fruitful and beneficial since day one," Charlie Wilson, Toronto's director of minor-league operations, said in the release. "When our players are in New Hampshire, we know that they get to enjoy one of the best facilities in the minor leagues while playing in front of a dedicated fan base. But we also know that the Fisher Cats share our goal of integrating our players into the greater fabric of the community."
Perhaps no Fisher Cats player has better embodied that community involvement than 2013 shortstop and Nashua resident Kevin Nolan. The first Granite State native to play for the Fisher Cats, Nolan earned the 2013 Blue Jays Community Service Award for his off-field work throughout his home state. His on-field work earned him a berth on the 2013 Eastern League All-Star Team.
The Fisher Cats affiliate relationship with the Blue Jays is the second longest in the Jays' minor-league organization, trailing only Advanced Class-A Dunedin, which is owned by Toronto.
Opening Day at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium is April 4, 2013, against the Reading Phillies.