Is Major League Baseball’s minor league system headed for a major shakeup? Last month Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reported that the MLB has a proposal on the table that would eliminate the major league affiliations of more than 25 percent of minor league clubs as part of a restructuring of the minor league system. The Professional Baseball Agreement between Major League Baseball and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. Negotiations for a new PBA are ongoing and the proposal by the MLB is thought to be a preliminary offering but would introduce radical changes that would leave thousands of minor league players out of work. Major League Baseball says that the reorganization described in its proposal is necessary in order to make the minor leagues more efficient and to improve conditions and facilities.
On Sunday, the New York Times published a list of 42 teams that would lose their major league affiliation as part of the proposal. For the Atlanta Braves, the Appalachian League’s Danville Braves and Florida State League’s Florida Fire Frogs would be on the chopping block. The list also interestingly includes the Chattanooga Lookouts whose history dates back to 1885 per the story in the Times. Those teams loosing their affiliation would be part of what the MLB calls the Dream League which would be be essentially an independent league.
It is still early in negotiations and it may take some significant time for all of this to play out. However, at this juncture, it appears some significant changes are coming for minor league baseball as we know it.
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