ANAHEIM -- The Angels have invited the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A), Rocket City Trash Pandas (Double-A), Tri-City Dust Devils (Class A Advanced) and Inland Empire 66ers (Class A) to be the organization’s Minor League affiliates, the club announced on Wednesday.
The biggest change is the addition of Tri-City as the Class A Advanced affiliate. That affiliate was previously the 66ers, but the California League has been changed from Class A Advanced to Class A. The club's previous Class A affiliate was the Burlington Bees, who did not receive an invitation to join the Minors in 2021.
“We are proud to continue our relationship with Salt Lake, Rocket City and Inland Empire and are excited to welcome the Tri-City franchise to the Angels family,” said general manager Perry Minasian. “I would like to thank the ownership groups and staffs of each of these great franchises for their help in establishing these long-term partnerships. We would also like to express our gratitude to the residents of Salt Lake City, Madison, Pasco and San Bernardino for welcoming Angels Baseball into your communities.”
The Angels are keeping their longtime relationship with Salt Lake, the organization's Triple-A affiliate since 2001, which will continue to compete in the Pacific Coast League.
“The Salt Lake Bees are excited to be invited by the Los Angeles Angels to continue as their Triple-A affiliate," Bees president/GM Marc Amicone said. "For the past 20 years, the Angels have been our partners in fielding competitive teams with great players and coaches while enhancing our community with fun, family experiences at the ballpark. It’s an honor to be considered one of the best places to play Minor League Baseball at its highest level, with a beautiful stadium, great team operations and outstanding support from our fans. We are hopeful to have a finalized agreement with Major League Baseball soon so we can continue to bring professional baseball to Smith’s Ballpark and Salt Lake City in 2021.”
At the Double-A level, the Trash Pandas were set to debut in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the Minor League season. The club is located in Madison, Ala., and played as the Mobile BayBears from 2017-19. The Angels have an agreement with Rocket City through 2030.
“When we started talks to purchase the Mobile BayBears and move them to Rocket City, one of the most attractive aspects of the deal was their affiliation with the Angels, an organization I have admired as long as I’ve been in baseball," Rocket City president Ralph Nelson said. "We were excited to extend that relationship after the 2018 season and equally thrilled to know it will now last even longer. The Angels have one of the elite player-development systems in our game, and the Trash Pandas are proud to be members of the family.”
The Tri-City Dust Devils were previously a Northwest League affiliate of the Padres. They play their home games at Gesa Stadium in Pasco, Wash. Their principal owner is Hall of Famer George Brett.
“We are thrilled to receive the invitation to join the Angels family as their high-A affiliate," Tri-City vice president/GM Derrel Ebert said. "The Dust Devils and the Tri-City community are excited to welcome the Los Angeles Angels staff and players that will come through Gesa Stadium and look forward to building a long-lasting partnership.”
Inland Empire is shifting from Class A Advanced to Class A but has been affiliated with the club since 2011. The team plays at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino, roughly 45 miles from Angel Stadium. One benefit is that it allows the club’s injured Major Leaguers to play in rehab games without having to travel.
“Over the last 10 seasons, the 66ers organization has been a proud partner of the Los Angeles Angels," said Inland Empire GM Joe Hudson. "We are excited to continue this partnership and to provide professional baseball to the Inland Empire community in 2021 and beyond.”