I’ve learned a lot about minor league baseball this season, but the most interesting might be something I just discovered about ten minutes ago: major league teams and their minor league affiliates are like the characters on Friends* – sooner or later, they all end up dating one another.
*Yeah, Friends. My pop culture references are so timely. The backup example was Beverly Hills 90210.
Almost immediately after the season ended, what I’m assuming is a yearly affiliate shift began to occur. And the more I read, the more I began to understand the tectonic nature of these relationships. For example…
- Last Thursday, the Cleveland Indians announced that they had signed a four-year player development agreement with the International League’s Columbus Clippers . The Clippers were Washington’s AAA affiliate for the past two seasons.
- Two days later, the Nationals signed a two-year deal the Syracuse Chiefs, also of the International League. (Washington also extended existing deals with Class A Hagerstown and Class A Short-Season Vermont; both extensions are for two years.)
- Two days after THAT, the New York Mets signed on with Buffalo, the International League team that had been cut loose as Cleveland’s affiliate.
- In order to make the move to Buffalo, the Mets pulled out of New Orleans, clearing the way for division rival Florida to slide in for a two-year deal with the Zephyrs.
- Florida’s shift to New Orleans meant that the organization pulled out of Albuquerque, where nearly 600,000 fans passed through the gates last season. Taking their place? The Los Angeles Dodgers organization, which returns its AAA affiliate to the place it called home for nearly three decades.
- At the AA level, Los Angeles is returning the favor, moving from Jacksonville to Chattanooga, which allows Florida to take over the Suns franchise. The Dodgers’ shift displaces the Reds, who were the previous tenants in Chattanooga.
Those are the major crazy, circular moves that have been announced over the past week or so. MiLB.com has also reported on a number of other affiliate changes:
- The Carolina League’s Salem Avalanche left the Houston Astros to sign a two-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. Boston will pull its Class A affiliate out of Lancaster, CA. The Red Sox will be replaced, coincidentally, by the Astros, which signed a two-year deal with Lancaster. Apparently, the circle never ends.
- The Milwaukee Brewers lost their Midwest League entry in West Virginia to the Pirates, but replaced the Power with the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. They also extended existing PDCs with AA Huntsville and Rookie League Helena.
- The Timber Rattlers were previously affiliated with the Seattle Mariners. Seattle will stay in the Midwest League, moving to Clinton. Clinton was affilatied with Texas last season and became available after the Rangers moved on to North Carolina.
This is making my head hurt, and these aren’t even all the changes that were made. I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but I just sort of stopped caring about decent sentence structure there after awhile; there are only so many ways you can say “shift” or “move”. One thing is clear to me, however: we gots some work to do on our “MiLB Teams” page.