After the Houston Astros announced they would drop their AAA affiliate Round Rock Express in favour of the then independent Sugar Land Skeeters, the question arose who would fill the void the Astros left.
Several sources are saying that the Texas Rangers are close to hammer out a deal with the AAA Pacific Coast League team.
This would not be a strange move. First of all, Round Rock is much closer to Arlington than Nashville, where the local Sounds are the AAA farm team of the Rangers. Second, the Round Rock Express and the Texas Rangers have been affiliated before. From 2011 through 2018, the teams had a PDC. Third, the Express is owned by Hall of Famer and former Texas Ranger, Nolan Ryan. So there is a link in that field as well.
But if the Rangers will move their AAA team to Round Rock, they will leave a void in Nashville. But that one could be filled by the Milwaukee Brewers as they are without an AAA team since their top farm location is moved back to the AA Texas League.
With two teams moving down to AA (San Antonio and Wichita (replaced by the Marlins with Jacksonville)), one team likely moving to Low A (Fresno), two teams replaced by indy teams (but these teams have a new affiliation or are close to sign a new deal), the AAA landscape is actually set. Only the Milwaukee Brewers are without a top farm team right now. The remaining clubs, not (partially) owned by an MLB club are expected to sign new deals with their current parent club. Some of them even have a deal that is running through 2022.
So if all AAA teams are signed to a new PDC, the AAA landscape will look like this.
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp*
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
St. Paul Saints**
Toledo Mud Hens
Worcester Red Sox
Pacific Coast Lague:
El Paso Chihuahuas
Las Vegas Aviators
Memphis Red Birds
Oklahoma City Dodgers
Round Rock Express
Salt Lake Bees
Sugar Land Skeeters
* Because of its location, Jacksonville will likely be a part of the International League.
** Perhaps the St. Paul Saints will move to the Pacific Coast League because of the geography. In that case likely Nashville will be moved to the International League.
If the Fresno Grizzlies will manage to lure an MLB team into signing an AAA PDC with the club, the aforementioned overview of clubs will be subject to change.
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