That said, the re-organization is so extensive there’s no guarantee that Harrisburg will stay in AA or that F’burg will stay in High A.
The post-MiLB world has been the discussion in the comments, and I began to compose a rather lengthy reply to the comment above from Pilchard when I realized this would be better suited to this week’s post.
I’m expecting a radical restructuring as well. I’m not even sure if the classifications or leagues will stay in place, though it wouldn’t break my heart if they dropped the Hi-A/Low-A in favor of something else – perhaps Class A and B, which would logically turn the complex leagues (GCL, AZL) to Class C. If nothing else, it would stop the lazy lumping of “Class A” ball by MLB beat writers who couldn’t name five payers not on the BA or MLB Top 30 lists.
If it weren’t for the merchandising opportunities, they’d probably change all the names to the parent club, too, but I think MLB recognizes the chance to make a buck. In fact, we should probably expect more rebranding, especially anytime/anywhere there’s a copyright/trademark dispute. I could be wrong about that, but it would seem to me that minor-league owners would also own those copyrights – especially when some properties earn more nationally than locally (e.g. Montgomery Biscuits, Carolina Mudcats).
I don’t even think we can point to any of the 25 PDCs that were supposed to be in place through 2022, as it seems to me that the PBA ending effectively renders them moot. About the only thing I’m sure of is that MLB-owned/invested teams (26 above short-season ball) will be given preference, which we’ve already seen because none of them are among “the 42.”
Lastly, I do think the restructuring of AAA is long overdue. Sixteen teams across three time zones isn’t asinine, it’s asi-ten. Sure, they mitigated that by weighting the schedules, but creating three ten-team leagues or even just splitting the PCL in two simply makes more sense.
Fresno was a shotgun marriage, but not the first one – Las Vegas had been the red-headed stepchild for years, enough that the Mets bought out Syracuse to ensure it would never happen again. In fact, most purchases of teams in the last 10-12 years have been to avoid a forced affiliation, creating the “Carolina League effect” in which teams would buy their way in to avoid having a team in Bakersfield and High Desert.
Reportedly, negotiations are still ongoing but I do not expect any news anytime soon. This is obviously detrimental to the minor-league owners, who have already lost one season and cannot plan for next season, even if that’s reliant on the childish hope that everything will all be better by the spring. Reminder: The grownups have been telling us “winter is coming” and the scientists have been even more blunt.
Finally, while it’s not my cup of tea, the 2021 draft order has been settled, and the Nats will be picking 11th. This is good news, I guess, given that Washington probably would’ve finished much higher in a full season.
Until there’s more news or next week…