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Minor League Baseball will change as we know it

MiLB agreement with MLB expires after this season

Sacramento River Cats v Salt Lake Bees Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images

The working agreement between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball expires at the end of this season, and the last year or so has indicated that major changes are coming to the very structure of the minors.

Details of the reported paring of affiliated teams from roughly 160 to 120 are pending, but Baseball America has been at the forefront of that news for months.

On Thursday, ESPN reported about the changing structural relationship between MLB and MiLB:

The minor league system as it has existed for decades will effectively end when the current agreement between MLB and MiLB expires Sept. 30. MiLB’s offices in St. Petersburg, Florida, will be shuttered, an MLB source told ESPN, and the minors will be run out of MLB’s headquarters in New York City.

Minor League Baseball executives and owners have tried for 11 months to find some sort of leverage with MLB, whether through direct talks or public and congressional pressure, before realizing they really have none, according to more than a dozen major and minor league officials, team owners and others interviewed by ESPN.

“I don’t think there’s anything that could be said on behalf of Minor League Baseball that could make this change not occur,” said Mahlon Luttrell, president and general manager of the Bristol Pirates in Virginia. “And we’ve come to realize that.”

With no actual minor league season in 2020 because of the pandemic, and now several lower-level teams about to lose major league affiliation, this has been a crushing year for several minor league teams and their communities.

Links & notes

Mike Trout talked Thursday about the Angels’ disappointing 2020 season. Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register has more. “To see where we’re at now, it’s definitely frustrating, because we got a great team,” Trout said.

J.P. Hoornstra at the Orange County Register wrote about how expanded rosters this season have led to increased reliever usage.

The Angels changed the start time for their Friday, September 19 game against the Rangers, from 4:10 p.m. to 6:10 p.m. PT. That’s the final home series of the year for the Angels.

Rangers broadcaster Dave Raymond talked with David Laurila at FanGraphs about teams and players in both western divisions. His pick for most disappointing team out west was the Angels:

“How are they not a better team? How do they keep finding ways to lose? I mean, it’s amazing to me. I would think that Angels fans would have to be terribly disappointed. You can’t spend more money. You can’t get together a greater group of talented hitters. I just can’t figure it out. There’s something weird about the Angels. They’ve got to be the most disappointing team in the two divisions.”