MLB wipes out more than a century of Minor League history

With Minor League clubs accepting the invitations by MLB clubs in the past few days, MLB has announced the complete restructuring of Minor League Baseball. With this move, more than a century of history is deleted at once.

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If the cutting of 40 teams from Minor League Baseball wasn’t bad enough, established leagues like the Pacific Coast League and the Texas League simply will cease to exist. There will be four levels of minor league ball: AAA, AA, High A and Low A or A- like MLB will call it.

The various levels will be divided as follows:

AAA East

AAA East Midwest division
Columbus Clippers
Indianapolis Indians
Iowa Cubs
Louisville Bats
St. Paul Saints
Toledo Mud Hens

AAA East Northeast division
Buffalo Bisons
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Rochester Red Wings
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
Syracuse Mets
Worcester Red Sox

AAA East Southeast division
Charlotte Knights
Durham Bulls
Gwinnett Stripers
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
Memphis Redbirds
Nashville Sounds
Norfolk Tides

AAA West

AAA West East division
Albuquerque Isotopes
El Paso Chihuahuas
Oklahoma City Dodgers
Round Rock Express
Sugar Land Skeeters

AAA West West division
Las Vegas Aviators
Reno Aces
Sacramento River
Salt Lake Bees
Tacoma Rainiers

AA Central

AA Central North division
Arkansas Travelers
Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Springfield Cardinals
Tulsa Drillers
Wichita Wind Surge

AA Central South division
Amarillo Sod Poodles
Corpus Christi Hooks
Frisco RoughRiders
Midland RockHounds
San Antonio Missions

AA Northeast

AA Northeast Northeast division
Binghamton Rumble Ponies
Hartford Yard Goats
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Portland Sea Dogs
Reading Fightin’ Phils
Somerset Patriots

AA Northeast Southwest division
Akron RubberDucks
Altoona Curve
Bowie BaySox
Erie SeaWolves
Harrisburg Senators
Richmond Flying Squirrels

AA South

AA South North division
Birmingham Barons
Chattanooga Lookouts
Rocket City Trash Pandas
Tennessee Smokies

AA South South division
Biloxi Shuckers
Mississippi Braves
Montgomery Biscuits
Pensacola Blue Wahoos

High A Central

High A Central East division
Dayton Dragons
Fort Wayne TinCaps
Great Lakes Loons
Lake Country Captains
Lansing Lugnuts
West Michigan Whitecaps

High A Cental West division
Beloit Snappers
Cedar Rapids Kernels
Peoria Chiefs
Quad Cities River Bandits
South Bend Cubs
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

High A East

High A East North division
Jersey Shore BlueClaws
Aberdeen IronBirds
Brooklyn Cyclones
Hudson Valley Renegades
Wilmington Blue Rocks

High A East South division

Asheville Tourists
Bowling Green Hot Rods
Greensboro Grasshoppers
Greenville Drive
Hickory Crawdads
Rome Braves
Winston-Salem Dash

High A West
Eugene Emeralds
Everett AquaSox
Hillsboro Hops
Tri-City Dust Devils
Spokane Indians
Vancouver Canadians

Low A East

Low A East Central division
Carolina Mudcats
Down East Wood Ducks
Fayetteville Woodpeckers
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers

Low A East North division
Delmarva Shorebirds
Fredericksburg Nationals
Lynchburg Hillcats
Salem Red Sox

Low A East South division
Augusta GreenJackets
Charleston RiverDogs
Columbia Fireflies
Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Low A Southeast

Low A Southeat East division
Daytona Tortugas
Jupiter Hammerheads
Palm Beach Cardinals
St. Lucie Mets

Low A Southeast West division
Bradenton Marauders
Clearwater Threshers
Dunedin Blue Jays
Fort Myers Mighty Mussels
Lakeland Flying Tigers
Tampa Tarpons

Low A West

Low A West North division
Fresno Grizzlies
Modesto Nuts
San Jose Giants
Stockton Ports

Low A West South Division
Inland Empire 66ers
Lake Elsinore Storm
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Visalia Rawhide

With the 120 remaining clubs now being part of Minor League Baseball, they are still depending on the mercy of MLB. The PDL (Player Development League) licenses, will last 10-12 years. After that time span, Minor League Clubs still have to comply to the quirk of MLB. So it can easily be that a club like the Somerset Patriots, who joined organized baseball will be kicked out in ten years.

The only positive thing about this reorganization is the pay raise Minor League players get. The pay raise ranges from 38-72% for the 2021 season. But we all know that the MLB owners easliy could have paid this raise without cutting two levels of Minor League Baseball. The cutting of 40 teams and 1050 players will save each MLB club about $700,000 per year. Peanuts for this billion dollar business.

But it all started with “How can we save money by not paying the lowest levels of Minor League Baseball?” When the owners figured that out, they sought “reasons” like poor facilities, travel time and beter geographical alignment (this reason alone is laughable) to justify this move.

MLB owners are showing they are in power. They are doing so by wiping out more than a century of Minor League history and renaming the leagues at all levels. Another reason to loathe MLB.

[EDIT] All over the internet you can read how proud MiLB clubs are to have accepted the ten-year license with their parent club. Do they have a choice? Can they say they don’t like the way 40 clubs were cut? Can they say they don’t like the fact that 100+ years of MiLB history is erased? No they can’t. If they do, they may lose their PDL license in ten years. MLB’s rule is based on fear.

It is clear that MiLB has lost its independence.


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