After the Houston Astros said goodbye to Greeneville and the Appalachian League after the 2017 season, three clubs have shown interest in replacing the Texas-based team in the Appalachian League.
The Philadelphia Phillies, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Cleveland Indians have made clear they are willing to replace the Astros in Greeneville. It is a triumph for the Appalachian League that several clubs have shown interest to fill the void, especially when you know that there are some clubs who doubt the added value of the lower minor leagues.
Yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds tweeted they had landed a deal with the Appalachian League. But according to Scott Niswonger, who has been working on behalf of the college to get another team in place, the announcement was premature, since no agreement has been signed yet. “We’re fairly certain that we will reach an agreement, and we certainly want the Reds here. I think the community wants them here. But at this point, we do not have a definitive agreement with them. We certainly can’t post it until we have a signed agreement, so that’s been our reluctance to say anything.”
The above quote indicates that both parties are close singing a deal, which would give Cincinnati a team at a fourth rookie level next to two DSL teams (Reds and Rojos), a AZL team, a GCL team and an Advanced Rookie team (Billings Mustangs).
According to Jeff Graupe, the Cincinnati Reds’ senior director of player development, the Reds were looking at adding another rookie level affiliate in the United States. The Reds thought Greeneville was a perfect fit. “It’s a great town, a great ballpark. It really just had a lot of what we were looking for”, Graupe stated. Fun part is that the ballpark shown in the Tweet isn’t Greeneville’s Pioneer Park.