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Twins drop Rochester as AAA affiliate, Pensacola also may be gone

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#21 4twinsJA

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 01:21 PM

I don't have any inside information, but could see at least AAA moving geographically closer to parent teams. Then playing games in 3 divisions/leagues-east, central, and west. Similar to what MLB did last year. Big changes coming to MiLB.

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#22 nowheresville

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 04:57 PM

 

Then again, maybe names don't matter -- I'm looking at you, Memphis of the Pacific Coast League.

 

Has any site made a map or list of these rumors and what deals have been committed to for 2021? 

 

Names don't matter, but AAA is an airplane league, where AA is a bus league so geographic proximity matters below AAA. FWIW, It sounds like Memphis, Nashville, Des Moines, (St. Paul?) will no longer be in the PCL starting next year. Either a 3rd league will be created for central teams, or they'll move to the IL and leave only 8 teams who are actually in the west in the PCL. 

 

It's certainly possible that Rochester could get demoted, but it would seem at least somewhat less likely. With Buffalo and Syracuse both still AAA. 

 

There hasn't been any large scale announcement of who is going where - especially in regards to realignment - and general announcements of league changes, like Midwest going HIgh-A while Florida State becomes Low A. 

 

The only team specific announcements/rumors I've seen are:

Yankees leaving Trenton and Charleston for Somerset (previous indie now AA) and Hudson Valley (previously SS-A, now High-A).

Oakland leaving Beloit for Vancouver (previous SS, now High-A). 

Miami leaving Wichita for Jacksonville (previous AA, now AAA) and moving AA to Pensacola. 

Minnesota leaving Rochester for St. Paul or Wichita. 

 

MLB was apparently not happy with how those were being made public and has told teams to keep quiet until they make a larger official announcement that is supposed to come any day now. 

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#23 DocBauer

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 06:33 PM

I think we all need to let go any misgivings about the loss of certain milb franchises and the "homey" feelings of the "good old days" we might have grown up with. I am NOT being callous, simply, a realist for what is taking place. As I stated in another thread, I can appreciate what MLB is doing and reserve judgement until we see how it all plays out.

*Side Note: I am excited about situations such as the Appalachian League becoming a college showcase league with the support of MLB. (Shout out to Ash for providing a great link). I am hopeful other cities will find their niche.

From a purely logical standpoint, a lot of what is happening makes sense. Travel, promotions, scouting and even building a fan base that makes more sense regionally can benefit both ML teams and their affiliates.

Nowheresville has a recently posted a blog on TD that indicates 10yr contracts will be the way of things for teams and affiliates. This makes tremendous sense for both parties, and could even put the ML franchise on the hook for such things as facility improvements. And I think that would be a good thing.

I like the idea of Ft Myers being low A and in the vicinity of the Twins primary ST/milb facility. I'm sure Cactus ML teams would look to do the same. It actually makes a ton of sense!

Once upon a time, the American Association used to be the 3rd milb AAA league. If MLB wants to continue to have a milb championship, with all of their logistical re-alignment, they will have to consider keeping just the PLC and IL, OR, expanding to 4 leagues, possibly with crossover games, and keep things even more regional with their AAA championship.

And speaking of the American Association...now an independent league...you have to wonder about the future of independent leagues. Especially with the Appy League becoming said college showcase league. St Paul becoming the Twins AAA team makes tons of sense for both parties, especially if the Twins help pay at least part of the $20M price tag. I think they'd be silly not to! How does the St Paul ownership lose anything? Fans won't come out any longer to see baseball simply because they don't like the Twins? Please! Milb baseball is grounded in a cheaper form of family fun and baseball with promotions, fun, giveaways, etc. The level of baseball would only improve, as would interest in seeing potential ML players. (Any sudden rise in cost for a day at the ballpark is a different story). But the independent American Association could be about ready to sucum.

And that brings me to an idea easily dismissed by others a few months ago I think should be re-investigated. The Lincoln Nebraska Salt Dogs of the same AA have been a viable franchise with success. They share Hawk's Field at Haymarket Park with the Husker baseball team. It's a beautiful brick-style park that seats 4,500 with an additional 4,000 berm and OF grass fans. There is room for expansion. The stadium has been home for not only the Huskers and the Salt Dogs, but countless concerts and special events, including college baseball regionals. Nebraska as a whole, Omaha and Lincoln, have become a centralized location for college, independent and Olympic sports over the past few decades. And if you don't know that, you aren't paying enough attention, or at least aren't from the area. LOL!

Some have argued with me a milb franchise couldn't exist 45 miles away from Omaha and the Royals AAA team. But I'm talking AA, not AAA, in a city that has supported the Salt Dogs in the AA. A city that is sports crazy, in a state that is sports crazy without a single "true" professional franchise. Unless there is some crazy way MLB would be treated differently by the NCAA vs the AA, this could be a tremendous fit for everyone.

Now, Wichita is an interesting idea and alternative! As I recall, they have been mostly or exclusively a AA franchise previously. They sit in an odd nomansland geographically between multiple ML franchises. But they fit just as well with the Twins as anyone. Were I the Twins FO/ownership, I'd be VERY interested in them as my new AA affiliate. Especially with a brand new park, as reported.

I'm not sure Twins ownership can lose here if they are just willing to invest a bit. Florida takes care of low A, EST, ST, and whatever rookie indoctrination they establish. St Paul is your AAA franchise. Wichita or Lincoln is your AA with Cedar Rapids your high A.

Where is the downside?
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#24 Nine of twelve

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 07:48 AM

 

I'm not sure Twins ownership can lose here if they are just willing to invest a bit. Florida takes care of low A, EST, ST, and whatever rookie indoctrination they establish. St Paul is your AAA franchise. Wichita or Lincoln is your AA with Cedar Rapids your high A.

Where is the downside?

Look at the geographic distribution of the three AA leagues. Wichita could maybe join the Texas league but that would happen only if one of the other franchises is eliminated, and in that unlikely event there are several cities farther south that make more sense. Lincoln is a non-starter. And even if MiLB is realigned to make Wichita available I'm sure the Royals would be all over it.

There just isn't going to be a AA team close to Minnesota. Staying in the Southern League, as close to Ft. Myers as possible, is probably the best the Twins can hope for.

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#25 twinfan

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 08:48 AM

Wherever they play, I hope they stay in the IL as I always go to see Rochester play when they come to town. My questions about St Paul would be a) Does the rule about not having a minor league team within X number of miles come into play? and B) Would a St Paul AAA team take attendance away from the Twins as they would be much cheaper? And as for selling merchandise, almost anywhere outside of Minnesota there would be more Yankee, Dodger, etc stuff sold than Twins stuff. Sorry but that's just the facts ma'am.


#26 Rosterman

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 12:37 PM

 

Look at the geographic distribution of the three AA leagues. Wichita could maybe join the Texas league but that would happen only if one of the other franchises is eliminated, and in that unlikely event there are several cities farther south that make more sense. Lincoln is a non-starter. And even if MiLB is realigned to make Wichita available I'm sure the Royals would be all over it.

There just isn't going to be a AA team close to Minnesota. Staying in the Southern League, as close to Ft. Myers as possible, is probably the best the Twins can hope for.

Which is why I'm sad to see Pensacola change hands. Low-A and AA teams near each other would work fine. The Twins would still have High-A (Cedar Rapids) and AAA (St. Paul) to shuffle some players in an emergency. Plus players could rehab and play in St. Paul, while still working with Twins staff.

 

I wonder how many players will be in Ft. Myers. There will be NO short-season ball anymore, as I understand (no Elizabethton or even GCL ball, right?). So will the Twins have up to 75 players in the Ft. Myers complex (which also has housing). That would make a max of, saay, 150 players in the system.

 

I am very curious to see how the MLB indy-ball leagues will be operating. And if minor league players had concerns about the lack of pay before, how will pay differ in the new indy leagues. Let alone the "summer camp" collegiate woodball league. Places where players either have to have a second income of sorts, or really good housing prospects for the time they are in play.

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#27 Joey Self

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 05:25 PM

As Homer Simpson would say: D-oh!

I told my wife when the Twins put the AA team in Pensacola that we should retire there and see if we could get jobs as ushers so we could get into the game free and be able to see much of the action. 

I was kidding.A little.We're still at least 4 years from retirement, and probably more than that.And moving to Florida isn't her idea of a good place to live year round.  

But if the Blue Wahoos aren't associated with the Twins, that attraction would disappear for me.  

 

JcS

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#28 jamisea

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 08:21 AM

IMHO from a Pensacola perspective, we would be sad to see the Twins leave. We love the Twins and their organization from the players up are all FIRST CLASS.

From my understanding, MLB wants their affiliates realigned in order to get geographically closer to farm teams. So I chuckle about Miami. Geographically, If I need to drive to Miami from Pensacola: 11 hours. If I need to fly there, there are few direct flights.

The closest MLB teams to Pensacola are Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Houston and by 3 miles—the Texas Rangers.

 

The rumor mill is def. working OT in Pensacola though. I have head the Mariners and D-Backs are also interested—neither of which make any geographical sense....

 


#29 nowheresville

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 11:38 AM

 

Wichita could maybe join the Texas league but that would happen only if one of the other franchises is eliminated, and in that unlikely event there are several cities farther south that make more sense. Lincoln is a non-starter. 

 

Wichita's joining the Texas League would be alongside San Antonio also being demoted from AAA, growing the Texas League by 2 teams. The two AA teams being eliminated would both seem to come from the Southern League - with Jacksonville being promoted to AAA and then another team being contracted. Chattanooga was on the original contraction list, so that would be my guess. Wichita used to be in the Texas League, prior to it's franchise moving to NW Arkansas, so it's a pretty comfortable fit.

 

Lincoln is a non-starter from a Geography perspective, but it has nothing to do with Omaha having a team. It's just too much of an outlier to be anything other than a AAA team, because AA and below travel by bus. It's the same problem that keeps Duluth, Rochester (MN), Fargo or any other Minnesota city from joining affiliated minor league ball. 

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#30 nowheresville

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 12:07 PM

 

From my understanding, MLB wants their affiliates realigned in order to get geographically closer to farm teams. So I chuckle about Miami. Geographically, If I need to drive to Miami from Pensacola: 11 hours. If I need to fly there, there are few direct flights.

The closest MLB teams to Pensacola are Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Houston

 

Here's what you have to remember though, Geography is relative. Atlanta is the closest city for almost every city in the Southern League, and obviously not every team can be a Braves affiliate. With the 3 AA Leagues being the Eastern, Southern, and Texas League, there's no close team for a lot of teams - including almost any team on the west coast. Pensacola probably is the closest or at least just about the closest AA team to Miami. 

 

But there's also reducing geography between levels. For both the Twins and Marlins, they previously had low A in Iowa, High A and Double A back down in Florida, and then AAA hundreds of miles away (In Rochester and Wichita respectively). The Marlins will probably now have teams going from Jupiter, to somewhere in the Carolinas, to Pensacola, to Jacksonville. Teams like the White Sox and Dodgers had already been doing that. The White Sox have all their Minor League teams in the Southeast, it's not close to Chicago, but its not expected to change. The Dodgers have had their AA and AAA teams both in Oklahoma, it's not close to California but also not expected to change.


#31 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 08:19 AM

Rochester makes a ton of sense for the Yankees anyways, since it seems like that's Yankee's country... maybe the Mets as well... 

 

I think personally I'm more sad that the number of minor league teams is dropping. I'm not sure that this is a good thing for the product on the field. 


#32 nowheresville

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 09:39 AM

 

Rochester makes a ton of sense for the Yankees anyways, since it seems like that's Yankee's country... maybe the Mets as well... 

 

The Yankees have already announced they are staying in Scranton/WB. I think the Yankees own a piece of that team, and they did a major rebuild of the ballpark a couple years ago.

 

The Mets own the AAA team in Syracuse outright - they bought it after having their team stuck out in Vegas for a number of years. 

 

I'd put my money on the Nationals ending up in Rochester. They're the one east coast team that doesn't have a fairly natural fit already in place at AAA. Otherwise, maybe I could see Pittsburgh, and some kind of swap where the Nationals end up in Nashville, and the Brewers end up in Indianapolis, but that seems like more of a long shot.


#33 Nine of twelve

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 07:30 PM

 

Wichita's joining the Texas League would be alongside San Antonio also being demoted from AAA, growing the Texas League by 2 teams. The two AA teams being eliminated would both seem to come from the Southern League - with Jacksonville being promoted to AAA and then another team being contracted. Chattanooga was on the original contraction list, so that would be my guess. Wichita used to be in the Texas League, prior to it's franchise moving to NW Arkansas, so it's a pretty comfortable fit.

 

Lincoln is a non-starter from a Geography perspective, but it has nothing to do with Omaha having a team. It's just too much of an outlier to be anything other than a AAA team, because AA and below travel by bus. It's the same problem that keeps Duluth, Rochester (MN), Fargo or any other Minnesota city from joining affiliated minor league ball. 

I look at a map and I see several cities that look like much better geographic fits than Wichita: Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Beaumont, Waco, Austin, Abilene, Lubbock. I know nothing about stadiums or other local conditions in any of these places but given bus travel I would think the feasibility of any of these cities is superior to Wichita.


#34 DocBauer

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 02:13 AM

Look at the geographic distribution of the three AA leagues. Wichita could maybe join the Texas league but that would happen only if one of the other franchises is eliminated, and in that unlikely event there are several cities farther south that make more sense. Lincoln is a non-starter. And even if MiLB is realigned to make Wichita available I'm sure the Royals would be all over it.
There just isn't going to be a AA team close to Minnesota. Staying in the Southern League, as close to Ft. Myers as possible, is probably the best the Twins can hope for.


Curious...why is Lincoln a non starter? Especially if the AA begins to have issues of collapsing.
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#35 nowheresville

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 08:32 AM

 

I look at a map and I see several cities that look like much better geographic fits than Wichita: Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Beaumont, Waco, Austin, Abilene, Lubbock. I know nothing about stadiums or other local conditions in any of these places but given bus travel I would think the feasibility of any of these cities is superior to Wichita.

 

Wichita already has an MILB franchise and a brand new stadium. It's also larger than any city you've listed except Austin, which already has a AAA Team, the Round Rock Express. Would any of those places fit into the Texas League footprint, sure, but fitting into the footprint isn't the only factor.

 

Curious...why is Lincoln a non starter? Especially if the AA begins to have issues of collapsing.

 

I really have no idea what you mean by "AA begins to have issues of collapsing." but Lincoln is not in the footprint of the Texas League and doesn't really work from the perspective of geography. Wichita was previously a Texas League city and would be in a division with Tulsa, Springfield MO, Springdale AR, and Little Rock. That's a range from 180 miles to 450 miles for its longest trip. Lincoln on the other hand would be almost 400 miles to its closest division rival and more than 600 miles for its longest trip, and that's just in the division. I suppose it's not impossible, but it's a major strike against it.

 

 

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#36 nowheresville

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 08:42 AM

BTW, It is official, per the @RocRedWings twitter announcement, Rochester will become the National's new AAA affiliate.


#37 DocBauer

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 09:32 AM

Wichita already has an MILB franchise and a brand new stadium. It's also larger than any city you've listed except Austin, which already has a AAA Team, the Round Rock Express. Would any of those places fit into the Texas League footprint, sure, but fitting into the footprint isn't the only factor.
 

 
I really have no idea what you mean by "AA begins to have issues of collapsing." but Lincoln is not in the footprint of the Texas League and doesn't really work from the perspective of geography. Wichita was previously a Texas League city and would be in a division with Tulsa, Springfield MO, Springdale AR, and Little Rock. That's a range from 180 miles to 450 miles for its longest trip. Lincoln on the other hand would be almost 400 miles to its closest division rival and more than 600 miles for its longest trip, and that's just in the division. I suppose it's not impossible, but it's a major strike against it.


FWIW, "AA collapsing" is in reference to the American Association. Much speculation they are facing some tough roads ahead staying solvent, especially if St Paul were to leave.

As to Lincoln, I guess I'm just starting to rezlize AA milb just doesn't really exist in the Midwest. Bad memory or lack of effort to look at franchises and grab a map I suppose.
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#38 Rosterman

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 10:32 AM

What will the new revenue stream be for a minor league franchise? Does MLB control the sale of a lot of merchandise? So does the franchise really only get ticket sales and concessions, plus have to pay a fee to be a franchise? Is payroll ALL filled by the major league team. Who pays front office and field staff? Who pays taxes?

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#39 nowheresville

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 10:32 AM

 

FWIW, "AA collapsing" is in reference to the American Association. Much speculation they are facing some tough roads ahead staying solvent, especially if St Paul were to leave.

Ahh, that "AA" - makes more sense. It will be interesting to see how indy ball shakes out with all of this, on one hand 40 fewer milb cities with existing facilities and 1,000 fewer roster milb roster spots puts the potential there for growth, but the financials are always shaky. 

 

I'm also curious how the college wood-bat leagues are going to get through all of this. Obviously the Northwoods league has been growing like crazy, and you've got midwest league teams like Clinton and Burlington likely to be contracted that will be looking for a home. But if the Appy league also does become another college summer league, and you've got the NY-Penn league looking at it too, at what point does the pool of available amateur players become unsustainable. 

 

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#40 Tovar12

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 08:07 AM

Love the idea of St. Paul becoming our AAA affiliate.That way when Sano strikes out 25 straight times and gets sent down, I can go see him in St. Paul while paying less for tickets, food and beer! :o