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The Toronto Blue Jays and New Hampshire Fisher Cats have agreed to extend its Player Development Contract through the 2016 season. That makes it three affiliates that have deals in place for 2016 after Buffalo and Vancouver signed two-year extensions.

The Fisher Cats have won two Eastern League titles since becoming a Blue Jays affiliate in 2004.

The Jays may have been holding out hope that Ottawa would become their Double-A destination but the city refused a bid by Mandalay Baseball for a 20-year lease and $40 million in upgrades to Ottawa Stadium. Instead, the city has opted for less expensive upgrades to the stadium for an independent team in the Can-Am League that is expected to begin play in 2015. Ottawa did have a team in that league in 2008 known as the Rapidz but went bankrupt and did not return for a second season.

The only two teams the Jays have yet to extend their minor league deals with are the Lansing Lugnuts and the Bluefield Blue Jays. Those agreements expire after next season.

Are you happy the Jays are still with the FIsher Cats even if they're located in the heart of "you know where" country? Are you disappointed that the Jays will not have a second Canadian affiliate to join Vancouver? The ballpark in Manchester is nice but I am disappointed there will not be an affiliated team in the Nation's Capital any time soon. Bauxite Nation, the floor is yours!
Blue Jays & Fisher Cats Sign Two-Year Extension | 11 comments | Create New Account
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Original Ryan - Thursday, October 31 2013 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#280188) #
As a Maritimer, I'm happy as it's a shorter drive to Manchester than it is to Ottawa. I usually get down to Manchester once a year. From the perspective of the Blue Jays, by all accounts the relationship with the Fisher Cats has been a great one, and travel-wise it's easy to call-up a guy when needed.

I was always skeptical about the Ottawa talk. If the viability of a AA team in Ottawa hinged on landing the Blue Jays as the parent club, there may not be enough interest in baseball generally in the city to make the team successful financially once the novelty wore off. Further, Ottawa didn't fit into the Eastern League's geographic footprint particularly well, so it would've meant some long bus rides whenever the team was on the road.
cybercavalier - Thursday, October 31 2013 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#280196) #
Re OR:

Recalling, a previous post more than a year ago touched on the subject of MLB affiliated Canadian baseball franchises. My opinion is that for cities vying for MiLB franchises, is independent league baseball an option?
So far, three leagues serve cities in or near Canada: the Frontier League, the Can-Am League and the American Association (AA, no pun intended as the article "the" precedes the abbreviation; do I take away the fun on word play ?). Beginning 2012, the 12 teams including Winnipeg in the AA and the 6 teams including Quebec and Trois-Rivières in the Can-Am League feature regular season interleague plays and therefore put Canadian teams playing against each other. The Can-Am league won approval from Ottawa City counsel on lease for playing in the Ottawa Baseball Stadium so the league is looking forward to three teams each in Canada and the US. Based on geographic footprint and proximities, baseball team in the Prairies shall join the AA: if Winnipeg team can sustain travel to Texas, Calgary and Edmonton teams shall also can. So far the AA has 4 teams each in 3 divisions, an realignment can be 7 teams in 2 divisions, with the division winners and runners-up play postseason baseball. 

What is the equivalent MiLB level of game play in these two leagues ? According to internet information, the Can-Am is Single A level, the AA is between Single-A and Double-A. A page on Baseball Canada shows, outside of the Jays organization, 9 Canadians with the Cubs, 10 with the Brewers, and 19 and 8 respectively with the Quebec and Trois-Rivières Can-Am franchises. For counting on Rogers' commitment on developing baseball in Canada, could Rogers push for at least one franchise from Alberta to play in the AA, and meanwhile, more influx of baseball talents including management and scouting etc. into the three Canadian Can-Am and AA franchises. In other words, the Jays could reap the rewards of baseball players and hopefully more Canadian ballplayers to join the FisherCats without first going to Dunedin or Lansing. Or the three Canadian franchises more selectively pick Canadian ballplayers if the skills level of players going to those leagues are the same.

FYI, the Houston Astros signed two Mexcian ballplayers from the Mexican League mid 2013 MIL season, identified as a Triple-A level league. Both the slugging first baseman and young center fielder struggled in their limited PAs in Triple-A and Double-A.

O, for the sake of word play, the Trois-Rivières' roster features a Canadian David Cooper.
Lugnut Fan - Thursday, October 31 2013 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#280199) #
One thing that you may have forgotten, even though they are not a professional league, Thunder Bay also has a team that  plays in the Northwoods League which is a college prospect league.
cybercavalier - Thursday, October 31 2013 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#280201) #
An erratum on number, the Can-Am League features 5 teams and looks forward to 6 with Ottawa in 2015.
cybercavalier - Thursday, October 31 2013 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#280203) #
A Baseball American chat transcript features quite a few quality info on indy leagues. My tokens after reading them are that:
1) Prospecting an excelling indy player to play right away or get a callup into the MLB is skeptical but to suggest a success in Double A is realistic. So the level of play in these leagues has to be below Double A.
2) Based on the few player examples, the realistic ceiling of an excelling indy player is a long minor league career; higher than that is bonus. However, that observation does not mean giving up the indy league as a pool of players. Daniel Nava as an exception, Reynaldo Rodriguez spent another 4 seasons after indy ball before seeing a chance of a cup of coffee in MLB 2014.
3) If indy players are sent to single A and double A, these transactions are relevant to what information is floating on the internet: Can-Am is a single A league below the single-A double-A in-between American Association.
4) Independent Leagues works well in Amercain Midwet and Northwest; outside of those areas would be difficult for new indy leagues based on recent downturn of US economy and proving to beat histories of previous failed indy leagues.
5) Connection for players, among managers are crucial for scouting and locating opportunities in the indy leagues.
So if Rogers and the Jays are to take advantage of the indy leagues in where MiLB franchises are not reachable locally, such as in Alberta and Saskatchewan, an Alberta team (say Edmonton) can join the American Association and/or the Jays establish connection with the management of existing 3 Canadian indy franchises and the soon coming 4th in Ottawa. Regular player transaction can be left to the indy leagues management but the Jays (and Baseball Canada ?) help ease the professional connection of Canadian ball players who have went undrafted.

The more time consuming effort is influx of managerial, scouting resources to those leagues, especially on the lookout for Canadian interest.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 31 2013 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#280209) #
Drew Hutchison had his 4th fine start in the AFL today.  This time, he went 5 scoreless innings allowing 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3.  Derrick Chung had 3 hits; Andy Burns contributed also and Marcus Stroman pitched a neat and tidy cleanup inning late.
Mike Green - Monday, November 04 2013 @ 11:56 AM EST (#280322) #
I just received an e-mail from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats with the subject line: "see the FUTURE World Champs in 2014".  I am as excited about Aaron Sanchez as the next person, but I thought that it might be a tad promotional...It turns out that the e-mail is all about the Fisher Cats ticket package for the visits of the Portland Sea Dogs, the Red Sox affiliate, and points out how Xander Bogarts, Brandon Workman, along with Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury earlier on, played for Portland. Manchester is, of course, about an hour from Boston.

Personally, I think that the Red Sox ought to move their double A affiliate to Hamilton.  Fair's fair.

Mike Green - Friday, November 22 2013 @ 05:24 PM EST (#280825) #
Here is an interesting scouting take on Marcus Stroman.
bpoz - Saturday, November 23 2013 @ 10:57 AM EST (#280831) #
Not sure of the name. Pedro Hernandez, recent Ace with the Red Sox was small. Does he have any any other similarities to Stroman? Pedro had to earn his respect by performance. Old story.
Blue Jays & Fisher Cats Sign Two-Year Extension | 11 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.