Radical Changes to Minor League System Being Contemplated

Discussion in 'Baseball' started by garnetpalmetto, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. garnetpalmetto Administrator

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    I just read this article in Baseball America and it's something - the most radical change to Minor League ball since the last major reclassification occured in 1962. It's a lot to take in, but as MLB and MiLB are in the process of negotiating an extension to the Professional Baseball Agremeent (PBA), the document that controls the relationship between MLB and MiLB teams, MLB has floated a series of proposals to accomplish a few goals, namely to enhance the playing experience for MiLB players, to shorten travel times, and to provide better geographic affiliations between MLB clubs and their affiliates. The proposal includes the following, the fine details of which aren't all clear:

    • 42 MiLB teams would be eliminated - short season leagues other than the complex-rookie leagues would be eliminated. That means the Appalachian League, New York-Penn League, Northwest League, and Pioneer League would cease to exist in their current forms. The Northwest League, however, would be made into a full season league.
    • The Low-A, High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A classification would stay the same.
    • Leagues would change in size with new Leagues being created in the name of making leagues more geographically compact. For instance, the low-A South Atlantic League would shrink from a 14-team league to a 6-team league with a new Mid-Atlantic League absorbing some of its teams. The 14-team Pacific Coast League would shrink to 10-teams while the 16-team International League would grow to a 20-team league.
    • At the outset, some teams would change classifications with some teams moving from A to AAA (the mention of this immediately made me think of the Dayton Dragons) while some would move down from AAA to A. To facilitate this, a valuation system would be created where the Triple-A class is valued at $20M, Double-A at $15M, Advanced A at $10M, Low A at $8M, and Short Season/Rookie at $6M. A team moving from Low A to Triple-A, for instance, would have to pay $12M to move up while a team moving from Triple-A to Double-A would receive $5M in compensation.
    • Not all current full season teams would survive and some Short Season/Rookie teams would move up to take their places. An invitation to the Atlantic League's Sugar Land Skeeters and the American Association's St. Paul Saints to become affiliated teams would be made.
    • The 42 markets left without affiliated teams would be put in a new quasi-independent Dream League, a joint MLB-MiLB venture where players who go undrafted in the MLB Draft (which would be moved to August and shortened to 20-25 rounds) would be given the option to play. That said it's unlikely teams in the Pioneer or Appalachian League would be able to have the financial backing to play in the League so they would be encouraged to form collegiate wooden-bat leagues (like the Cape Cod League or the Coastal Plain League) operated under the auspices of MLB.
    • MLB teams would be limited to fielding 5 minor league teams and would be limited to 150 players on a minor league contract.
    • The 2-year PDC system that currently exists would be replaced by longer franchise agreements designed to give the MLB clubs more certainty, but would eliminate some of the leverage MiLB teams hold in the process.
    • This extension of the PBA would only be for 5-years rather than 7-years as has been the case in the past
    Something has to be hammered out before the beginning of the 2021 season as that's when the current PBA expires, but this definitely looks like the most contentious and radical change proposed to the PBA in quite some time.

     
  2. SSF Registered User

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    Not a fan of these proposed changes, if a team wants 8 affiliates I dont see why they cant have them. Not every MLB team should have 5 affiliates. The Dream League scenario seems pretty onerous to operate.
     
  3. Fenway Administrator

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    “We are in discussions with the owners of the Minor League teams to reorganize elements of the system with the goal of improving the working conditions of minor league players,” M.L.B. said in a statement, “including upgrading the facilities to Major League standards, increasing player compensation, reducing travel time between affiliates for road games, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, increasing the number of off days, and providing better geographical affiliations between the M.L.B. Clubs and affiliates.”

    M.L.B. Said to Be Pushing for Overhaul of Minor Leagues
     
  4. Unholy Diver Registered User

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    The level swapping could be a bit hairy, you can have a AAA team playing in a tiny ballpark or vice versa with an A ball team in a large park, sounds like a recipe for teams going broke
     
  5. Preds Partisan Gunga galunga

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    Generally opposed to this plan. My first thought is every city or county owned facility, or any city or county that gave tax breaks to a private stadium will be filing a lawsuit if they are negatively impacted by switching levels or losing a team.
     
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  6. Fenway Administrator

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    Brooklyn could easily take Binghamton's slot - everybody else in the NYP could be out.

    Big loser could be Rhode Island


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Centrum Hockey Registered User

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    Hartford should really be the affiliated with an east coast team like NYY. I can imagine DD Park has better facility's than Trenton has at this point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  8. BigMac1212 Sleep is for scrubs

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    I remembered an article back in the day (Sorry, I couldn't find the said article on the Wayback Machine) that proposed to radically realign the High A and Low A Leagues, with Low A adding a league (from 2 to 3). I would love to see a modern approach to that.

    I'm a bit iffy on this proposal, but it would take my annual expansion idea in a new direction. #blushes

    Edit 1: I first saw the current proposal on Ballpark Digest.
     
  9. Centrum Hockey Registered User

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  10. BigMac1212 Sleep is for scrubs

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  11. CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    Yankees already did that, Centrum, using @Fenway's list Connecticut Tigers was the city they were in, Norwich, as the Navigators, SF took the affiliation LATER, Boston was in Trenton until New Haven (now New Hampshire) AND Portland were added, that's why the Yankees took Trenton when it became available..... Hartford only exists now because affiliated MiLB likely wasn't going to have a presence in CT after New Britain ceded its rights BY NOT FIGHTING THE RELOCATION to Hartford, much like Pawtucket isn't fighting once the decision was made to leave there for Worcester, change happens, 5 decades is a long time for a relationship and remember, not always was Boston's affiliates closer than they are now.... Minneapolis and Louisville are 2 that are referenced in the annals of Sox affiliates
     
  12. KaseMeOutside Based

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    The conditions for minor league players is appalling, if they can cut some teams and improve things for them they should
     
  13. Fenway Administrator

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    Madden talks about a new Class A league but I cant find any info on it

    Rob Manfred’s plan to destroy minor league baseball

    Putting the minor league owners aside, what is especially cruel — and some suggest self-defeating insofar as growing and cultivating the game is concerned — are the cities and communities themselves being stripped of their teams. In the Class AA Southern League, they are eliminating Chattanooga, which has had a minor league franchise since the 1800s. Bristol, Tenn., in the hit-list Appalachian League, has had a minor league franchise almost as long. (You don’t think the Tennessee lawmakers won’t be rising up when the reality of these longstanding minor league teams being eliminated sets in?)

    Three New York-Penn League teams are being saved in the plan by being upgraded to full season leagues, including Hudson Valley being moved to a new-formed Class-A league and Brooklyn, the Mets affiliate, which will be moved to the Double-A Eastern League, replacing Binghamton. That club is being put out of business despite the fact that the owner, John Hughes, has raised a considerable amount of private equity to upgrade NYSEG Stadium. And, by the way, Binghamton will be the host venue for next year’s Eastern League All-Star Game! Another NY-Penn League team being contracted is in Williamsport, Pa. Remember, MLB is saying a primary reason for contraction is because of so many ballparks not being up to major league standards — and yet it was OK for the Cubs and Pirates to play a regular season game in Williamsport last summer. Next summer, on its way out the door, Williamsport is scheduled to host another regular season game between the Red Sox and Orioles.
    [​IMG]

    Williamsport was good enough to host the Cubs last season, but the Pennsylvania town is slated to lose its minor league team. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
    According to minor league calculations, over 2,000 years of combined minor league baseball history is about to be extinguished with these contractions. And as we said, so many of these teams are grass roots baseball towns where most of baseball’s biggest stars passed through (and developed a forever fan base) on their way to the majors. An official from one of the teams in the Pioneer League, where most of the teams are in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, put it to me this way: “This is the only way people in these towns can see baseball. They can’t afford to drive 1,000 miles to Seattle. And you’re talking about young fans. You take their teams away and baseball has lost them forever.” (So much for MLB’s “Play Ball” initiative in which they bring former major leaguers into these minor league parks to hold clinics etc., to “grow the game”.)
     
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  14. garnetpalmetto Administrator

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    Did you read my OP, Fenway? Or the Baseball America article it referenced? The new A-level league would be focused around the Mid-Atlantic and would be formed from teams currently in the SAL and NYPL from the looks of it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
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  15. Fenway Administrator

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    :pb:
     
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  16. Fenway Administrator

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  17. Fenway Administrator

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  18. garnetpalmetto Administrator

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    For those that can't get past the paywall, here's the list (which has been bandied on a couple other sites)

    Double A
    :
    Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Eastern)
    Chattanooga Lookouts (Southern)
    Erie SeaWolves (Eastern)
    Jackson Generals (Southern)

    High A:

    Daytona Tortuga (Florida State)
    Florida Fire Frogs (Florida State)
    Frederick Keys (Carolina)
    Lancaster Jethawks (California)

    Low A:
    Burlington Bees (Midwest)
    Clinton LumberKings (Midwest)
    Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic)
    Lexington Legends (South Atlantic)
    Quad Cities River Bandits (Midwest)
    West Virginia Power (South Atlantic)

    Short Season A:
    Auburn Doubledays (New York-Penn)
    Batavia Muckdogs (New York-Penn)
    Connecticut Tigers (New York-Penn)
    Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn)
    Mahoning Valley Scrappers (New York-Penn)
    Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Northwest)
    State College Spikes (New York-Penn)
    Staten Island Yankees (New York-Penn)
    Tri-City Dust Devils (Northwest)
    Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn)
    Williamsport Crosscutters (New York-Penn)

    Rookie:
    Billings Mustangs (Pioneer)
    Bluefield Blue Jays (Appalachian)
    Bristol Pirates (Appalachian)
    Burlington Royals (Appalachian)
    Danville Braves (Appalachian)
    Elizabethton Twins (Appalachian)
    Grand Junction Rockies (Pioneer)
    Great Falls Voyagers (Pioneer)
    Greeneville Reds (Appalachian)
    Idaho Falls Chukars (Pioneer)
    Johnson City Cardinals (Appalachian)
    Kingsport Mets (Appalachian)
    Missoula PaddleHeads (Pioneer)
    Ogden Raptors (Pioneer)
    Orem Owlz (Pioneer)
    Princeton Rays (Appalachian)
    Rocky Mountain Vibes (Pioneer)

    I'm not surprised to see Hagerstown on the list due to their lingering facilities issues (I feel like they've been talking about replacing Municipal Stadium for 15 years now), but I am surprised to see Richmond *not* on the list for the same reason. Chattanooga's a little bit of a surprise because they have a pretty stable and well regarded owner (Hardball Capital, which also owns the Columbia Fireflies and Fort Wayne Tincaps). Florida is currently looking for a home after Kissimmee bought out their lease on Osceola County Stadium, so not surprised to see them on the list either.
     
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  19. Roman Fell #JYPNation

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    Yeah Hagerstown and Frederick, the two local teams around here, could be affected. Potomac already moved to Fredericksburg.
     
  20. Centrum Hockey Registered User

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    There is a few missing spots links in AA Do you think Dayton or one of the Michigan teams from the Midwest league will replace Erie.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  21. garnetpalmetto Administrator

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    I wouldn't be surprised to see Dayton jump to Triple-A under the MLB proposal - they regularly draw better than many teams already in Triple-A (looking at you Sacramento, Durham, El Paso, Iowa, Toledo, Louisville, Rochester, Salt Lake, Oklahoma City, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Fresno, Norfolk, Pawtucket, Tacoma, Omaha, Memphis, Syracuse, San Antonio, Reno, Gwinnett, and New Orleans). I'm not sure offhand where you get the 4 new Double-A teams. I'd assume New Orleans would be one of them, but beyond that, I'm not sure who'd get tabbed - it'd depend on what their plans are for Double-A geography.
     
  22. Centrum Hockey Registered User

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    Rochester would fit into Toronto's system as an AA team not sure who the fisher cats could logically end up with if that happened other than a potential reborn expos team.
     
  23. CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    Pawtucket ends after the current season, Worcester goes on that list
     
  24. Preds Partisan Gunga galunga

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    Honest question now that everyone has had a month to think about it, anybody like this plan?
     
  25. SSF Registered User

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    I still dont like it
     

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