With an agreement announced Wednesday, the Orioles will keep their player development relationship with five minor league affiliates in Norfolk, Bowie, Frederick, Delmarva and Aberdeen through 2020.
The Orioles have kept that stable of five affiliates consistent since they began their relationship with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides in 2007.
The Double-A Bowie Baysox became an affiliate in 1993, the High-A Frederick Keys in 1989 and the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds in 1997. Short-A Aberdeen joined in 2002, and eventually became the Orioles’ only short-season team when the organization separated from its Rookie-level Bluefield affiliate in 2010.
"We look forward to continuing our association with each of these clubs and are very pleased with the strong working relationship we have built over the years," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said in a statement. "It's mutually beneficial to have all of our affiliates located in the Mid-Atlantic region, allowing our fans an opportunity to see the Orioles stars of the future in their own backyard before they join the major league club. Each organization has proven to be an outstanding fit for the Orioles and will continue to help us build a championship club and expand the development of our players."
The Orioles have found plenty of baseball benefit to their affiliates all being so close, with players liberally picked from Bowie and Norfolk for the major league roster and able to get to Baltimore quickly.
Extending the player development contracts through 2020 also puts the nearby Washington Nationals in a bind, as the New York Mets purchased their Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse next season and are believed to be looking for an alternative to the team the Mets will leave behind in Las Vegas.
The agreement announced Wednesday keeps the Orioles' hold on the local affiliates they so value, at least for this cycle.