Sunday, September 24, 2006

Affiliate shuffle

"Bubba" mentioned the Cubs signing a player-development contract with the Tennessee Smokies in a comment and asked about the other openings in the Southern League. It seemed logical to start a new thread about that.

www.ballparkwatch.com is a great place to track the affiliate shuffle -- and any off-the-field baseball news. They list three Class AA openings (San Antonio, Mobile and West Tenn) and three major-league teams needing affiliates (Mariners, Padres and Diamondbacks).

San Antonio had the Mariners and wants to look around. San Antonio will get first choice among the three suitors. Mobile will get the second pick and West Tenn will get whatever team is left.

There are two other affiliates where the signings are only a formality: Bowie and the Orioles, Reading and the Phillies.

The Devil Rays won't be back in Michigan. With Southwest Michigan becoming the Great Lakes Loons in Midland, Mich., the new franchise is flirting with the Dodgers, according to the site. The Rays could stay in the Midwest League (Clinton, Iowa??) but would prefer a South Atlantic League entry. Savannah and Columbus, Ga., are open. Savannah would be a better situation for the Rays.

The Dodgers will probably move their spring training to Arizona in two years and may sell their Vero Beach franchise in the high-Class A Florida State League to the Devil Rays. The Rays will move the franchise to their new complex in Port Charlotte that opens in 2009. If that happens, I'd expect the Rays to stay in Visalia for the next two years.

The affiliate dance will end this week. After that, Minor League Baseball starts matching up stragglers.

7 comments:

Bubba said...

Thanks for the info.

Bubba said...

UPDATE - Final Low Class A affiliations settled - Ballpark Digest.
Though they've not been formally announced, the affiliations for Low Class A have been finalized. The big news: the Los Angeles Dodgers are indeed joining up with the Great Lakes Loons (Low Class A; Midwest League), though some in the Loons front office were pushing for an affiliation with the Texas Rangers. Rebuffed in Midland, the Rangers are returning to the Clinton Lumberkings (Low Class A; Midwest League). The spot with the Columbus Catfish (Low Class A; Sally League) vacated by the Dodgers is being filled with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays; with a Class AA team in Montgomery and a future High Class A team in Port Charlotte, it's a good geographic move for both sides. After some hemming and hawing from West Virginia Power (Low Class A; Sally League) officials, the Milwaukee Brewers will indeed be returning to Appalachian Power Park. Finally, the New York Mets will be the parent of the Savannah Sand Gnats (Low Class A; Sally League). More on our Affiliates 2006 page, the most up-to-date affiliate resource on the Web

Stacy Long said...

Like I said, that's a great site, right??

With the Rays in Columbus, that means an easy drive for a Biscuits fan wanting a sneak peek of upcoming talent.

It also means the Tampa Bay brass can see two teams on one trip.

Bubba said...

How about three teams.

Ballpark Digest
AA
Padres to San Antonio
D-Backs to Mobile
Mariners to West Tenn.

High A
D-Rays to Vero Beach

Stacy Long said...

Dadgumit, bubba. You beat me to it. =)

I'm surprised the D-Jaxx were able to land a team before the BayBears. At least we'll have one new farm system to track.

The Rays haven't announced Columbus yet, but ballparkwatch has it set.

I'd say Tampa Bay did very well in its choices, despite Columbus not being a great market.

Two years ago, they lost Charleston, S.C., and had to move to Southwest Michigan. They also dropped Bakersfield with the intent of finding an East Coast team, preferably in the Florida State League. Instead, they ended up back in California at Visalia.

This time, they're out of Cali and have a good geographic fit with Columbus.

My regular note on promotions from California won't work anymore. I think one player in three years didn't lose something on the trip.

brent said...

Bubba and Stacy -- thanks for keeping all of us up to date on these franchise shifts. Stacy, maybe you could write an article sometime on how this all happens, i.e., who makes the choice as to who will be whose affiliate. Is it the major league team, or does the minor league team pickem?

Stacy Long said...

I liken it to playing musical chairs, but everyone gets a chair (and some chairs are better than others).

Sometimes, a major-league team wants a new affiliation. Sometimes, the minor-league team wants a new parent.