MLB Plan to Reduce Minor Leagues Moves Ahead

By Ron Wynn

Even though there’s no MLB currently happening, the big leagues are moving ahead with plans to trim 40 minor league teams. At first it was thought there was no way this could happen, but now reports of meetings in the last couple of weeks between officials of MLB and those in MLiB (Minor League Baseball) indicate that the plan will move forward.There will be a new working agreement and the 120 remaining teams will be affiliated in a new version of joint minor leagues.

According to a report in Baseball America, the current Player Development Contract is being changed to give Major League teams more control over their choice of affiliations. There are also plans to shorten travel and make the current minor league associations more geographically aligned. The eventual goal is for every MLB team to have four full-season affiliates and one Rookie level team, but that would only be for spring training purposes.This also lines up with the recent revisions to the MLB draft that eliminated large numbers of rounds. 

The Nashville Sounds, currently the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, are not among the 40 teams slated to be eliminated.  But the state would lose minor league franchises in Chattanooga and Jackson. There would be 11 teams completely eliminated not only in Tennessee, but Iowa, Florida, Maryland, Washington, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia. Another 19 teams would be stripped of any connections to Major League Baseball. MLB is also reportedly considering creating independent non-affiliated independent leagues to replace both the old independent teams and the rookie leagues that are also being eliminated.

But while the talks are continuing, as of now no final decision or agreement has been reached.