Squirrels, Giants extend development contract

The Richmond Flying Squirrels have announced an extension of their player development contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Under the new two-year agreement, the Flying Squirrels will remain the Eastern League Double-A affiliate of the Giants through the 2014 season. Giants’ Vice President of Baseball Operations Bobby Evans and Flying Squirrels’ Vice President & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell announced the extension during a special pregame ceremony prior to Saturday’s game.

“Our ownership group and the Giants are completing a decade of a partnership that has been characterized by loyalty through lean times in Connecticut and great success in Richmond.” said Flying Squirrels’ President and Managing General Partner Lou DiBella.  “We look forward to this partnership continuing for years to come because there is no reason to break up a great thing.”

The Giants will continue to supply the players that will make up the Flying Squirrels’ roster for the next two seasons.  The extension of the PDC will continue a relationship between the Eastern League franchise and the Giants that began in 2003. At the time, the franchise was known as the Norwich Navigators and the affiliation continued through the franchise’s rebranding as the Connecticut Defenders and eventual relocation to Richmond. DiBella assumed the role of President and Managing General Partner of the franchise in 2005.

“The Flying Squirrels front office is one of the absolute best in the business,” said Evans. “They work as hard as anybody in baseball to create an incredible atmosphere for our staff and players both at the ballpark and in the community.  It is a privilege to be associated with the City of Richmond and this great fan base.”

The Giants have one of the most successful developmental systems in baseball.  They were named the Topps 2011 Organization of the Year.  It marked the second time in the last three years that the Giants have been so honored.  The Organization of the Year award dates back to 1966 and highlights the Major League team that has shown outstanding performance, depth and talent throughout their Major and Minor League teams.  The Giants were also recognized by Baseball America as Organization of the Year following their World Series title in 2010.

Eight players have appeared for the Flying Squirrels over the course of their first two-plus seasons and gone on to appear for San Francisco.  Darren Ford was the first to do so in 2010, followed by Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Conor Gillaspie, Eric Surkamp, Justin Christian, Dan Otero and Charlie Culberson.  Additionally, Henry Sosa ascended to the Major Leagues with Houston in 2011 and Alex Hinshaw returned to the big leagues with San Diego this season.

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