Before the world went to hell thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak that has torpedoed the year 2020, one of the big storylines from the offseason that had a bunch of them was the possible reduction of minor league teams and the subsequent drama between MiLB and MLB over each other’s position. MLB maintained that there were too many teams especially when you factored in how poor many of the facilities these teams used. Conversely, MiLB has maintained that the franchises that MLB had been targeting could upgrade their facilities and are integral parts of not only player development, but also in the communities that they occupy.
Given everything that is going in the world, we haven’t heard much more news on this front which was understandable. At least, that was the case until now.
Sources tell BA, MiLB is expected tomorrow in its meeting with MLB to signal its willingness to agree to a plan that would have 120 affiliated teams going forward.https://t.co/7raiJraEQz— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) April 21, 2020
It is worth mentioning that while MLB had specifically identified as ones that they thought would need to be contracted in earlier talks with MiLB, we don’t know for sure if that list is what is going to be agreed to by MiLB even though the numbers are close here. In earlier talks, two Braves affiliates were on the chopping block. The Danville Braves are one of the Braves’ rookie ball affiliates and the lower levels of the minors including short-season and rookie ball were the heaviest hit amongst MLB’s proposed cuts and the Fire Frogs have done themselves no favors when they lost their stadium deal and had to pivot to using the Braves’ spring training facility for the 2020 season. There have also long been complaints from, well, basically everyone about the treatment of players, fans, and other personnel by the Fire Frogs and since the Frogs are the only affiliate that the Braves have that they do not own, it was always among the more likely losses for the Braves to incur in these talks.
Once we get confirmation on the teams that will actually be cut, we can get a better sense of how this will impact the Braves and the minor leagues going forward.
UPDATE - MiLB issued a statement in regards to this and other reports and states that they “are largely inaccurate.”