The Boston Red Sox announced on Friday that they had secured an extension of their Player Development Contract with the Portland Sea Dogs that will run through the 2014 season. The Sea Dogs have been a Red Sox affiliate since 2003. The PDC was set to expire after the 2012 season.
Moving quickly to maintain the continuity of their system, Boston ensured they would not face a situation like they did following the 2006 season. The front office had allowed their two year PDC with Wilmington of the Carolina League to expire without renewing the deal. THe Kansas City Royals quickly struck a deal with Wilmington and the Red Sox were left searching for an Advanced A team. The result was a two-year agreement with Lancaster in the California League.
Boston's pitching prospects who may have spent some time in Delaware the preceding year were then subjected to the most extreme hitters park in the minors in the most extreme hitters league in the minors. Current Red Sox set up man Daniel Bard had a horrendous debut in Lancaster and was demoted to A ball to work out his troubles. Such stories are why PDCs are good to renew earlier in the process.
Just up Interstate 95 from Boston, Portland enjoys close geographical and cultural ties to Boston. The relationship allows the Red Sox front office to keep close watch on their developing and rehabbing players. The Red Sox organization has three affiliates in New England, tripling the benefit. The club has also scheduled Futures games at Fenway Park to highlight the farm teams on the big stage of a major league ballpark. The games are regular season contests with some split of gate receipts that help support the minor league organizations. The Royals will hold a similar game this season, though it will be an exhibition game. The Royals AA affiliate Northwest Arkansas Naturals will take on their AAA club, the Omaha Storm Chasers following the home opener at Kauffman Stadium.
Boston has three additional PDCs due to expire in 2012. Their AAA affiliate in Pawtucket, RI, is expected to maintain their longstanding relationship with Boston. Pawtucket has been a Boston affiliate since 1970, when the PawSox were a AA Eastern League team. In addition their PDCs with Greenville (SC) of the South Atlantic League and Lowell (MA) of the New York-Penn League are up in 2012. Lowell enjoys even closer ties with Boston than Portland and Pawtucket. Their Advanced A affiliate, Salem is owned by the parent company of the Red Sox, New England Sports Ventures, and thus is perpetually affiliated with the big club.
Click here to read the press release from the Red Sox.
RED SOX EXTEND PLAYER DEVELOPMENT CONTRACT
WITH PORTLAND SEA DOGSÂ THROUGH 2014
Ryan Kalish Honored atÂ 18th Annual Sea Dogs Hot Stove Dinner Tonight
BOSTON, MA â The Boston Red Sox and Portland (ME) Sea Dogs today announced the extension of their Player Development Contract (PDC) for an additional two years. The extension keeps the Red Sox Eastern League Double-A affiliate in Portland through the 2014 season.
Red Sox Director of Player Development Mike Hazen and Sea Dogs President Charlie Eshbach made the announcement.
âWe are delighted to extend our relationship with the Portland Sea Dogs for an additional two seasons,â said Hazen. âWe are extremely fortunate to work with some of the best people in minor league baseball in Portland. The Burke family, Charlie Eshbach, and the entire Sea Dogs organization always go above and beyond to provide support to our players and staff.Â With the Sea Dogs, our minor leaguers experience the ideal environment to succeed and grow.â
The Red Sox originally entered into an agreement with the Sea Dogs following the 2002 season when Portland changed affiliations from the Florida Marlins. At that time, a likeness of Fenway Parkâs Green Monster was erected at Hadlock Field andÂ the skyboxes were renamed in honor of former Red Sox legendary hitters.The PDC was last extended with a four-year extension through 2012 in July 2007.
âWe are thrilled with the extension of the PDC with the Boston Red Sox,â said Eshbach. âThe caliber of the people we work with is for us the most important part of the affiliation. Working with the Red Sox ownership, Mike Hazen, the coaching staffs, and the entire Red Sox organization has been a wonderful experience. We are grateful that our fans will continue to see exceptional talent in Portland as the players develop their skills on their way to Fenway Park.â
The Sea Dogs have advanced to postseason play four times in eight seasons since becoming an affiliate of the Red Sox, including their first Eastern League Championship in 2006. Sea Dogs alumni currently with the Red Sox include Daniel Bard, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie,Â Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis.
Portland is one of Bostonâs six minor league affiliates, joining Triple-A Pawtucket (International League), Single-A Salem (Carolina League), Single-A Greenville (South Atlantic League), Short-A Lowell (New York-Penn League) and Rookie Gulf Coast Red Sox (Gulf Coast League).
Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish is scheduled as the featured guest at the 18th Annual Portland Sea Dogs Hot Stove Dinner tonight at the Marriott Hotel at Sable Oaks in South Portland, ME.Â Kalish, who played for the Sea Dogs in 2009 and 2010, was awarded the Harry Agganis Red Sox Rookie of the Year Award by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America after hitting .252 with four home runs and 24 RBI over 53 games in his Major League debut with the Red Sox in 2010.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
Follow Joe Tetreault on Twitter
Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter
Follow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook