Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Affiliation Shuffle is about to begin.

Baseball America has recently published one article and one table about the affiliation negotiation window that opens in about a fortnight.  Additionally, the Astros have announced that they have recently re-upped with Tri-City for another two years.

Essentially, the Astros affiliates at AA (Corpus Christi), Lo-A (Quad Cities) and Tri-City will remain unchanged.  So too will Greeneville, which is owned by the Astros (as are most clubs in the Appalachian League).

However, the Hi-A Lancaster JetHawks (California League) has its player-development contract expire this year, along with seven others (out of ten) in the league.  So it is possible that Lancaster will not be the home of the Astros next year, and that the Hi-A affiliate is instead located in Bakersfield, Adelanto (High Desert), San Bernadino (Inland Empire), Lake Elsinore, Modesto or Rancho Cucamonga.  Lancaster has resigned for another term with the Astros - thanks to a loyal, eagle-eyed reader for pointing this out.  I thought I had read this a few days ago, but then convinced myself that it was not Lancaster who resigned, but Tri-City.  However, the below paragraph remains true.

Purely on a name-only basis, Rancho Cucamonga wins, hands down.

But the real action will be in the Pacific Coast League, where the Astros currently have a player development contract with the Oklahoma City RedHawks.  It appears that:

  • a Dodgers minority owner (Peter Guber) is apparently close to purchasing the RedHawks, and they will most likely become the new Dodgers affiliate, replacing Albuquerque.
  • The A's will likely move out of Sacramento, probably to Nashville, ending the Brewer's affiliation with Nashville.  Sacramento will sign a player development contract with the Giants.
  • The Giants will leave Fresno to move to Sacramento.  Fresno is apparently an affiliate with some problems with ownership, attendance, and finances.
  • The Astros and Brewers will probably both vie for an association with Albuquerque, with the unsuccessful suitor heading to Fresno.  
  • It appears that the Mets will probably stay in Las Vegas, the Padres will stay in El Paso, and Colorado will stay at Colorado Springs, but there is a lot of use of the word "probably" in that summation, and one of those franchises making a different decision is could result in a lot of movement elsewhere.
  • I have seen a number of comments indicating that Round Rock will not be able to break its contract with the Rangers, so that seems unlikely.  Their PDC expires in 2016 (according to Baseball America, but 2018 according to other sources - and thanks for pointing that out as well.
Interesting times ahead.  I am guessing that wherever the Astros go, they will do so for only two years.  That will give them enough time to pursue the purchase of a new franchise with the aim of moving them closer to Houston, or will allow the PDC to expire at the same time as Round Rock's contract with the Rangers expires.