As the BlueClaws and Phillies work their way through the eighth season of their affiliation, news came down that there will be at least a ninth and tenth season for the two teams. Lakewood became the latest club to sign a two-year player development contract (PDC) with the Phillies, meaning that the BlueClaws will be home to Phillies prospects at least through the 2010 season.
"Having a home for our players in a top-notch facility, just an hour away from Philadelphia is the perfect scenario for the Phillies," said Steve Noworyta, Phillies Director of Minor Leagues. "We have been very pleased with the first eight years of this partnership and are looking forward to many more."
Earlier this season, the Phillies extended PDCs with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Reading Phillies and Williamsport CrossCutters. While the Clearwater Threshers haven't extended their agreement, it's unlikely that they would not return since the Phillies hold their spring training in Clearwater and the facilities there are considered to be among the best in the Grapefruit League and in the Florida State League.
Most organizations will see a bit of a scramble to align their affiliations after the season when most PDCs expire. Generally, a team signs a two-year agreement with an affiliate, which is the minimum under MLB regulations. Teams are allowed to sign for longer periods of time. With the Phillies and BlueClaws extending their relationship, there are still nine South Atlantic League teams that could change affiliations after the season; Asheville (Colorado), August (San Francisco), Charleston (New York Yankees), Columbus (Tampa Bay), Hagerstown (Washington), Hickory (Pittsburgh), Lexington (Houston), Savannah (New York Mets), and West Virginia (Milwaukee) are all up for renewal.