The Tampa Bay Rays will not have a new top minor-league affiliate any time soon.
The Rays and Durham Bulls Monday announced that the teams had worked out an extension of the Player Development Contract between the franchises that will run through the end of the 2018 season.
"We're thrilled to once again extend our affiliation with the Tampa Bay Rays," Bulls General Manager Mike Birling said in a statement. "We've been fortunate the Rays have been able to keep our long-time coaching staff intact to lead a seemingly endless crop of prospects year after year, which has translated into dominance on the field."
Durham has won three division titles and the 2013 Governor's Cup since the latest extension between the two sides was signed in 2009.
"The Tampa Bay Rays are proud to continue to be the Major League affiliate of the Durham Bulls, Minor League Baseball's best Triple-A affiliate," Rays Director of Minor League Operations Mitch Lukevics said. "The Bulls have been great partners, and we're excited to continue that relationship for the next four years."
The Bulls have been the only Triple-A affiliate Tampa Bay has ever had, joining the system in 1998.