The Eugene Emeralds will continue the longest major-league affiliation in their history with the San Diego Padres.
The Ems and Padres finalized a two-year agreement Tuesday to keep Eugene as San Diegoâs short-season Class A club through the 2014 season. Eugene has been affiliated with the Padres since 2001.
The 12 year-relationship is already the longest in the clubâs 58-year history, surpassing the 11 years Eugene spent with Kansas City from 1984-94.
Eugeneâs previous deal with the Padres was for four years, but general manager Allan Benavides said the two sides agreed to go two years since San Diego is under new ownership. The OâMalley group â" led by former Dodgers owner Peter OâMalley, his sons Kevin and Brian, his nephews Peter and Tom Seidler, pro golfer Phil Mickelson and businessman Ron Fowler â" bought the team last month.
âWith the new ownership group, we are excited, but we donât know what is going to happen,â Benavides said. âThe front office has not changed, but will it? I donât know, but if you look historically when new ownership comes in there are changes. I hope not because I really like those guys.â
Benavides said he has enjoyed working with San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes and vice president of player development Randy Smith.
Benavides said he and Emeraldsâ owner Dave Elmore told Smith that the team is eager to end its 32-year championship drought.
Eugene has had the best overall record in the Northwest League during the past two years, but lost in the first round of the 2011 playoffs and then missed the postseason this year. Eugeneâs last league title was a co-championship in 1980 and its last outright title was in 1975.
âDave and I feel that we need to win,â Benavides said. âIt is fun to watch the last few games of the season when you have good teams and maybe make the playoffs, that was awesome. We preach about family entertainment, but winning matters. It is something we canât control, but Randy does a good job in the draft and we have had some good teams.â