Future of a Mariners minor league affiliate is now uncertain

Jul 10, 2024, 1:20 PM

Seattle Mariners Jonny Farmelo...

Jonny Farmelo of the Seattle Mariners hits a home run in a 2024 spring training game. (John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners have had one of the most talent-rich rosters in the minor leagues this season at their Single-A affiliate, the Modesto (Calif.) Nuts. But it may also be that team’s last.

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The Mariners and the City of Modesto announced Wednesday that the Nuts will not play at John Thurman Field past this year as the two sides could not reach a mutual agreement on a long-term lease extension. There is presently no indication where the team will call home in 2025.

“We’re disappointed we were unable to agree upon an extension,” Nuts general manager Veronica Hernandez said a statement. “I know we and the city worked very hard to find common ground and unfortunately were unable to accomplish our goal.”

Modesto mayor Sue Zwahlen stated: “Negotiations can be very challenging, and we worked diligently over the last year with the Modesto Nuts to explore various solutions.”

The Nuts have been a Mariners affiliate since 2017, with the MLB organization coming in as partial owners of the team in October 2016, then fully acquiring the Nuts in November 2020.

John Thurman Field was built in the central California valley city in 1955. It was originally named Del Webb Stadium and underwent renovations in 1997.

“Modesto has welcomed our players and staff with open arms, and we’ve very much enjoyed our experience playing in John Thurman Field in front of the terrific fans of the greater Modesto area,” Hernandez said. “Our hope and plan is to conclude the 2024 season the same way we finished 2023: By hoisting a Cal League Championship Banner.”

The Nuts franchise has a long history, previously having been known as the Modesto Reds (1946-61, 1966-74), Colts (1962-64) and A’s (1974-2004). The team was an affiliate of nine other MLB organizations before the Mariners entered the picture, including the Oakland A’s from 1975-2004 and Colorado Rockies from 2005-16.

The Nuts roster this year has featured a number of top Mariners prospects, including Colt Emerson, Lazaro Montes and Jonny Farmelo. Modesto won the first half of the California League North Division with a 41-23 record, and is off to a 7-9 start in the second half of the season.

Seattle’s other minor league affiliates are the High-A Everett AquaSox, Double-A Arkansas Travelers and Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

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