This is great news for the Vancouver Canadians.
The Toronto Blue Jays have announced that Vancouver will remain one of their minor league affiliates going forward, ending months of uncertainty about the Canadians’ future.
The Canadians will become the Jays’ High-A affiliate, which is two steps higher than the Class A Short Season league they’ve participated in since 2000. The Blue Jays needed to cut ties with the Lansing Lugnuts, their High-A affiliate since 2005, to make it work with Vancouver.
“The Blue Jays share a close affinity with the Vancouver Canadians and baseball fans in western Canada,” the Blue Jays said in a media release. “As this country’s only Major League Baseball team, the club takes great pride in maintaining a west coast presence, introducing future Blue Jays players to Canadian fans, and helping grow the game nationally.”
Class A Short Season leagues, like the one Vancouver played in, are expected to be casualties of Major League Baseball’s reduction of minor league affiliates.
The end result for local baseball fans is the best of both worlds though. The Canadians will keep their ties to Canada’s lone MLB franchise, while a better brand of baseball will be played at Nat Bailey Stadium going forward.
Canadians President Andy Dunn tells Daily Hive that the team will play out of the “High-A Northwest League,” with further details still to come.
The move will surely result in more games being played in Vancouver each season. Previously, the Canadians played a 76-game season from June to September. The Blue Jays’ previous High-A affiliate in Lansing played a 140-game schedule in the Midwest League stretching from April to September.