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Twins Join Cities as Saints Become Affiliate

Ted Schwerzler



As has been the expectation now for week, the St. Paul Saints will officially join the Minnesota Twins organization in 2021 per reports from the Star Tribune. Previously playing in the American Association as an Independent Baseball team, they’ll now assume the role of the Twins Triple-A affiliate.


For years there has been talk about the convenience having an affiliate just down I-94 would provide the Twins. Then during the pandemic shortened season, CHS Field acted as the alternate site for the Major League club. With Major League Baseball throwing around its weight and controlling baseball across the country, a massive reshuffling has taken place. Gone are roughly 40 minor league clubs as 120 total affiliates is the new number. Regional restructuring has taken place, and new draft feeder leagues have emerged.


Impacting the Twins is a new partner at the highest minor league level. Having been affiliated with the Rochester Red Wings since 2003, the Minnesota Twins will now turn a new chapter in their developmental history. The Saints were founded in 1993 and were originally part of the Northern League prior to joining the American Association.


As it’s the Saints joining the Twins organization, they’ll inherit talent from within. Minnesota will now send Triple-A destined prospects to St. Paul rather than Rochester. This means that the players previously under contract with the Saints will be displaced throughout Independent Baseball. Per reporter Chelsea Ladd, there have been talks the American Association will hold a draft of sorts to find those players new teams.


Also, of note is the Twins swapping their Double-A affiliate. After just one season working with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Twins will now join forces with the Wichita Wind Surge. The Wind Surge were originally scheduled to operate as the Miami Marlins Triple-A affiliate, with 2020 being their first season. Obviously with the pandemic that never happened. It’s not great news for Wichita, who will drop a level in with the affiliation, but Minnesota inherits a closer Double-A club and one that is opening a brand-new ballpark and facilities.



Certainly, Major League Baseball expanding its reach across Major League, Minor League, and now even amateur baseball is a suboptimal development. Having such a monopoly over the sport, ownership groups continue to line their pockets while paydays for future generations of talent can continue to be stifled. However, if you’re simply a Twins fan, having the ability to watch future franchise pieces just 13 miles from Target Field, and a driveable journey to Wichita as a possibility, isn’t the worst silver lining.


For years, the St. Paul Saints possibility has been kicked around, and now in the first year it will happen top prospects like Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Jordan Balazovic, and Jhoan Duran should all be featured for a time in St. Paul. We may have to wait through the waning stages of a pandemic to see them in person, but a new era of baseball in Twins Territory has been ushered in.


For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz


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I can see the convenience, but I hope St Paul is happy.  With a AAA affiliation the local team cannot control its own roster.


The roster should certainly have a more impactful draw to it. The Saints are a great experience, but I can't say I've ever cared about the result or followed the team. Now you have an otherwise interested fanbase built in.

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Hard to see this as anything but a win-win for both Twins and Saints.

Probably depends on how much St. Paul had to pay of the $20M affiliate fee considering they were already self sufficient, but I'd agree.

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Will be fun. But sad as I wonder what happens to all the teams in the American Association from Fargo to Winnipeg to Sioux Falls and more.


Plus how the staffing of Saints land ends up happening. Sad to see Tsamis end a long career as the Saints manager. The joy is the Saints still get to be a fun place and make money, and probably keep selling out...and the Twins will be paying the salaries of the roster and coaching staff. Sure, revenue splits will happen, but the potential is there for better ad revenues. Be interesting to see how the television contract and radio airtime will play out. 


The Twins now have four wonderful ways to see the minor league teams. Cedar Rapids Kernels. Wichita, can be combined into a trip to Kansas City, and the Saints. Wichita will actually benefit from hardcore road trips by Twins fans, as often that is the best place to see top-flight prospects. And Ft. Myers as Low-A will be great for working the other 50 guys in instructional camp onto the roster and games during the minor league season.


The Big plus for the Twins is transportation costs for rehab, as well as the ability to  have players workout of Target Field. Not that the Saints don't have top-flight facilities now.


But can you ask for anything better than to have your taxi-squad 15 miles away?


Now, how and where will the Triple-A players live. Jammed into apartments downtown St. Paul?


Wish I still lived next to the Saints Stadium!

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