01/16/08 6:33 PM ET
Tigers extend relationship with Erie
SeaWolves reach two contract extensions in one day
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
The Erie SeaWolves reached contract extensions with both the Tigers organization and with the Erie County Convention Center Authority, which operates its home park. The deals ensure that not only will the SeaWolves remain Detroit's Double-A affiliate for at least three more seasons, but they'll remain in Erie for that same stretch.
"We are very pleased to be entering into this extension with the SeaWolves," Tigers Minor League operations director Dan Lunetta said in a statement. "Over the years, we have developed an outstanding working relationship with the Erie team management and that is vital to any successful affiliate relationship. We are also delighted with the continued improvements at Jerry Uht Park, especially with the replacement of the playing surface."
The stability of the Erie franchise has been a success story over the last few years after its future in the Northwest Pennsylvania was uncertain a few years ago. With contributions from then-top prospects Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin and Jair Jurrjens, among others, the SeaWolves captured the Eastern League's Southern Division title last year with an 83-59 record before falling in the first round of the playoffs.
All six Tigers prospects traded to Florida in last month's trade for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis had played in Erie at some point. Jurrjens, who was sent to Atlanta in the Edgar Renteria trade last summer, and Miller both went directly from Erie into the Tigers rotation last summer. Meanwhile, Jerry Uht Park has undergone several improvements over the past few years, from expanding seats to adding a picnic area to improving facilities.
The extension of the working arrangement brings Erie in line with Detroit's other Minor League affiliates at Triple-A Toledo, low Class A West Michigan and short-season Class A Oneonta. The Tigers own their high Class A franchise at Lakeland. Detroit hasn't changed affiliates at any level since shifting their Double-A franchise to Erie in 2001.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.