42 MiLB clubs targeted for removal amid ongoing MLB talks

Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner

A list of Minor League Baseball teams that could be eliminated as part of ongoing negotiations between the affiliated minors and Major League Baseball has been identified and was published over the weekend by the New York Times.

The list of 42 clubs potentially slated to lose their affiliation with MLB represented the latest flashpoint in the league’s bid to radically reshape the nature of the minors and player development. 

MLB, seeking to improve the overall state of minor league facilities and reduce player travel, is aiming to reduce the number of affiliated MiLB teams by a quarter, broadly reorganize clubs by geography, and rework how individual MLB and MiLB teams reach affiliation agreements with each other. But such shifts would eliminate millions of dollars of franchise value held by minor league team owners, and diminish the entry points many fans have to develop a connection with baseball. 

The minor league clubs on the list targeted to lose their MLB affiliation would become independent operations and placed in a so-called “Dream League” for undrafted prospects. But without the direct MLB tie, MiLB and individual team owners say it is quite possible many of those clubs would cease to operate.

“There is a very different feel to the talks this time,” said Pat O’Conner, MiLB president, to SportBusiness last month. “This feels more like a labor negotiation than the continuation of a partnership. We’re not afraid of change, and we’re not stuck in the past. We’re open to reform. But the severity of some of this coming in all at once could certainly be tough.”

The 42 clubs potentially slated for removal, as reported by the Times:

Auburn (New York) Doubledays 

Batavia (New York) Muckdogs

Billings (Montana) Mustangs

Binghamton (New York) Rumble Ponies

Bluefield (West Virginia) Blue Jays

Bristol (Virginia) Pirates

Burlington (Iowa) Bees

Burlington (North Carolina) Royals

Chattanooga (Tennessee) Lookouts

Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings

Norwich (Connecticut) Tigers

Danville (Virginia) Braves

Daytona (Florida) Tortugas

Elizabethton (Tennessee) Twins

Erie (Pennsylvania) SeaWolves

(Kissimmee) Florida Fire Frogs

Frederick (Maryland) Keys

Grand Junction (Colorado) Rockies

Great Falls (Montana) Voyagers

Greeneville (Tennessee) Reds

Hagerstown (Maryland) Suns

Idaho Falls (Idaho) Chukars

Jackson (Tennessee) Generals

Johnson City (Tennessee) Cardinals

Kingsport (Tennessee) Mets

Lancaster (California) Jethawks

Lexington (Kentucky) Legends

Lowell (Massachusetts) Spinners

Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers

Missoula (Montana) PaddleHeads

Ogden (Utah) Raptors

Orem (Utah) Owlz

Princeton (West Virginia) Rays

Quad Cities (Iowa) River Bandits

Rocky Mountain (Colorado) Vibes

Salem-Keizer (Oregon) Volcanoes

State College (Pennsylvania) Spikes

Staten Island (New York) Yankees

Tri-City (Washington) Dust Devils

(Burlington) Vermont Lake Monsters

(Charleston) West Virginia Power

Williamsport (Pennsylvania) Crosscutters