Like Burger King setting up shop across from McDonald’s, the Mets followed the Yankees in announcing their 2021 affiliates. And while it’s oh-so-tempting to make fun of the Mets doing Mets things (e.g. omitting key details as to the levels and leagues), the truth is probably that MLB is still in the process of
The Columbia Fireflies joined the Charleston Riverdogs on the sidelines, as the St. Lucie Mets (not coincidentally, owned by the Mets) will be their Low-A affiliate in the Florida State League. What’s not clear is which team will be the new High-A affiliate.
The Binghamton Rumble Ponies, who were on the initial “hit list,” have apparently been spared losing affiliation, but it’s not clear whether they’ll stick in AA or become the new High-A affiliate.
That’s because the Brooklyn Cyclones (also not coincidentally, owned by the Mets) have long been rumored to take the AA slot.
As noted in the comments, the S.F. Giants are reportedly being told—note the italics—they will be losing their affiliates in the Sally League (Augusta) and the Eastern League (Richmond).
Why the italics? Because, according to Ballpark Digest, it’s MLB assigning Player Development Licenses to MiLB teams for MLB teams and not MiLB teams negotiating with MLB teams for affiliation.
This is bigger than Oprah because it means the MiLB teams have zero leverage, whereas before they could play one team off the other every couple of years or so and have a fallback, thanks to both a limited number of teams becoming available and a set number of teams with affiliation.
Apparently, not every MLB team is happy with these assignments. Some west coast MLB teams would rather have their High-A teams on the East Coast or the Midwest than play in the far-flung Northwest League, for example.
Finally, the predicted return of the Nats’ AAA affiliation to the East Coast took one step closer with the separation of Rochester from the Twins.
Presuming that the ‘burgs (Harris and Fredericks) remain at the same level, though perhaps not the same league, the real unknown remains the new home of the Nats’ Low-A team. I’m personally rooting for Frederick because it’s drivable, it’s a decent facility, and if the Sally League still has a northern component, it’d be right off the beaten path.
But now I have to concede that Richmond may be possible, too. Though I still do not understand the obsession some Nats fans have, given it requires braving traffic on I-95 from the DC area and the facility is, to quote more than one reviewer “like a chunk out of old Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta.”