The MiLB and MLB are close to an agreement to cut down to 120 minor league teams across the league. What does this mean for the Minnesota Twins?
Baseball America reported today that the Minor League Baseball organization (MiLB) is coming close to an agreement with Major League Baseball to contract down to just 120 minor league teams across baseball (four minor league teams per major league team).
Each MLB team had a system that looked like this for 2019 (we used the Minnesota Twins as the example):
- Major League Baseball: Minnesota Twins
- AAA: Rochester Red Wings
- AA: Pensacola Blue Wahoos
- A: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels
- Low-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels
- Domestic Rookie League: Elizabethton Twins, Gulf Coast (GCL) Twins
- Foreign Rookie League: DSL Twins
In addition to this, the teams also have several short season teams that play in the New York–Penn League, Northwest League, Appalachian League, or Pioneer League, as these levels are designed to help get college players signed and right into games.
The Rookie league teams are owned by the Twins specifically, while all other full-season and short-season teams are their own entity, most owned by smaller groups and individuals.
Commissioner Rob Manfred put forth a proposal that would cut all of those short seasons leagues and contract the minors into a smaller system. The new minor league systems would have teams in AAA, AA, High-A, and Low-A, with one domestic rookie team and one foreign rookie team.
For the Twins, this would mean the end for the Elizabethton Twins, a short-season Rookie team Appalachian League, leaving the GCL Twins as the franchise’s only Rookie league team.
The main reason the MiLB is agreeing to this deal is baseball’s suspension due to COVID-19. This deal pushed by the Manfred and the MLB saves a lot of money for major and minor league baseball. It puts the squeeze on some minor league groups, but it provides some security for both the majors and minors, something both groups are desperate for.
On a slightly different note, the St. Paul Saints will be added to the minor leagues, bringing legitimate prospects to Minnesota’s other baseball team. The Minnesota Twins deal with the Red Wings, Blue Wahoos, Kernels all expire after 2020, so there is a possibility the Twins move their minor leaguers home, a great deal for the Twins.