Blue Jays retain Vancouver Canadians as minor league affiliate

Alek Manoah, pictured above, with the Vancouver Canadians. (Mark Steffens/CP)

TORONTO — The Vancouver Canadians will remain a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate once MLB completes a restructure of its minor leagues, an industry source told Sportsnet.

The Canadians, the lone minor-league affiliate located in Canada, were one of four teams to receive formal invitations to remain Blue Jays affiliates. They’ll become a full-season team at the high-A level starting in 2021. Meanwhile, the Lansing Lugnuts and Bluefield Blue Jays will lose their Blue Jays affiliations as the minor leagues are compressed to a total of 120 teams, or four per big-league club.

“The club wishes to thank Lansing and Bluefield, as well as those teams’ staff and fans, for their commitment to Blue Jays player development through the years,” the team said in a statement.

The Dunedin Blue Jays, the club’s longtime high-A affiliate, will now host the club’s low-A players, while New Hampshire and Buffalo will remain the Blue Jays’ double-A and triple-A affiliates, respectively.

It’s somewhat rare to see teams in the East divisions affiliated with West Coast clubs, but this is an unusual case as Canada’s lone MLB team has a fan base that stretches from coast to coast. Now, Vancouver will see even more baseball as the high-A season begins in April instead of after the amateur draft.

“The Blue Jays share a close affinity with the Vancouver Canadians and baseball fans in western Canada,” the team’s statement read. “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.”

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