Could a new direction in Minor League Baseball affect how the Marlins lower-class teams play in the future?
If Major League Baseball has its way, the minor league system for all 30 teams, including the Miami Marlins, will see changes in the near future.
"According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, “Major League Baseball has proposed a radical restructuring of the lower level of the minor leagues that could eliminate or change the nature and affiliations of as many as 40 teams across the country.”"
For the Marlins, it could directly impact the Batavia Muckdogs, the Clinton LumberKings, and the Jupiter Hammerheads. The Marlins have worked over the past two seasons to restructure their minor league system under the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter to acquire young talent through trades, free agency, and the MLB Draft to solidify the organization’s future.
The plan has worked as Miami had one of the worst feeder systems prior to the sale of the Marlins in 2017 and now has one of the five best in baseball.
The Marlins have their Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida and the Triple-A affiliate has moved from New Orleans and will begin play in Wichita next season. No word yet on what the new affiliate’s mascot will be.
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"“We are in discussions with the owners of the Minor League teams to reorganize elements of the system with the goal of improving the working conditions of minor league players,” M.L.B. said in a statement, “including upgrading the facilities to Major League standards, increasing player compensation, reducing travel time between affiliates for road games, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, increasing the number of off days, and providing better geographical affiliations between the M.L.B. Clubs and affiliates.”"
The Marlins added more top prospects to their minor league system at the MLB Trade Deadline, which Lewin Diaz, Jazz Chisholm, and Jesus Sanchez all came over in trades. Miami made acquiring young, talent pitching a priority once the deal to buy the team from Jeffrey Loria was completed. Because of the wealth of arms at all four stops along the minor league system, Miami has a chance to use its riches to bring in a big bat or two this offseason.
"Per Waldstein, “Pat O’Conner, the president and chief executive of Minor League Baseball, recently sent a letter to member teams, which was obtained by The New York Times, warning of significant impending changes and advising teams not to make any financial commitments, new lease agreements or schedules beyond 2020. He also sent a letter to M.L.B. outlining his opposition.”"
As of now, the existing agreement between Major League Baseball and the 160 existing minor league teams expires on Sept. 15, 2020. It has been explained, through the Times piece that MLB is forcing the minor league teams to choose a direction of the plan offered or could be faced with paying more costs for baseball in the future.
Based on the new plan being offered, as many as 1,400 players could be affected by the new terms of the agreement.