The Lansing Lugnuts and their parent club, the Toronto Blue Jays, announced a two-year extension of their player development contract, which now runs through the end of the 2016 season.
The two teams have been affiliated since the 2005 season. The Lugnuts, a 19-year-old franchise, previously were affiliated with the Kansas City Royals (1996-98) and the Chicago Cubs (1999-2004). They won Midwest League titles in 1997 and 2003, and most recently played in the MWL championship series in 2011.
Although it wasn’t announced until today, the Blue Jays had automatically renewed their PDC with the Lugnuts after the MWL postseason ended.
There are only two Midwest League teams that don’t have a PDC in place: the Beloit Snappers and the Kane County Cougars. Each will be affiliated with either the Arizona Diamondbacks (affiliated with the South Bend Silver Hawks the past 18 seasons) or the Oakland Athletics (affiliated with the Snappers the past two seasons), with a decision probable by the end of the week.
Here’s the rest of the Midwest League affiliation picture: Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays), Burlington Bees (Los Angeles Angels), Cedar Rapids Kernels (Minnesota Twins), Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners), Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds), Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres), Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers), Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians), Peoria Chiefs (St. Louis Cardinals), Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros), South Bend Silver Hawks (Chicago Cubs), West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers).
South Bend has a press conference scheduled for Thursday morning, at which time the team is expected to announce its nickname will be changed from the Silver Hawks to the Cubs. (Read related posts here and here.)
Norris may make 1st MLB start Thursday
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons reportedly is considering former Lansing Lugnuts LHP Daniel Norris for a spot start Thursday against the Seattle Mariners. If he gets the nod, Norris will be making his first major-league start that day.
Norris pitched in 23 games (22 starts) for the 2013 Lugnuts, going 1-7 with a 4.20 ERA, 99 strikeouts and 44 walks in 85.2 IP. He rapidly rose through the Blue Jays organization this year, going a combined 12-2 with a 2.53 ERA, 163 strikeouts and 43 walks in 124.2 IP in High-A, Double-A and Triple-A before getting a September call-up to the big-league team.
He has made four relief appearances for the Blue Jays.
Top Blue Jays prospect Daniel Norris pitched for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2013. (Photo by Scott Mapes/Lansing Lugnuts)