The Tri-City ValleyCats that joined the independent Frontier League last week, are suing the Houston Astros and MLB for more than $15 million because of the decision by the two to exclude the Short-Season A team from the shrunken 120-team Minor League Baseball system in 2021.
As part of the New York-Penn League, the ValleyCats were not invited to join the farm system of any MLB team after the latter shrunk the number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120.
The decision to sue the two parties was announced by ValleyCats chairman Doug Gladstone. The team is seeking damages based on the diminished value of what had been a National Association Minor League Baseball franchise and specifically, breach of financial obligations and illegal interference.
Fun fact is that the legal firms the ValleyCats are using are the same as the Staten Island Yankees are using in their case vs the New York Yankees and MLB: Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and Berg & Androphy.
According to ballparkdigest.com, the defendants (MLB in this case) has published a list in 2019 that named the teams that would remain affiliated. And guess what? The ValleyCats were on that list. The team relied on that list and made several improvements to their ballpark, which they would never have done if they had known MLB would kick them out of affiliated ball. MLB decided in the final hour to scratch Tri-City from the aforementioned list.