Friday, October 19, 2007

Minor League Musical Chairs

There’s some chatter coming from Syracuse (specifically, the Post-Standard’s Matt Michael) that they’ve had enough of their affiliation with the Blue Jays, and their tradition of losing AAA teams. Moreover, they are salivating at the possibility of hooking up with the Mets for the 2009 season.

The Jays’ two-year deal with Syracuse expires after next season, and there will be a brief window in September when MLB teams and minor league cities can renegotiate their affiliation agreements. While many clubs have maintained their affiliations for decades, there has been a significantly higher degree of turnover in these agreements as of late. In 2007 alone, the Phillies, Yankees, and Mets all severed ties with their longtime AAA cities (Scranton, Columbus and Norfolk, respectively).

According the Post-Standard’s report, cities in play for 2009 may include Columbus (Washington), Buffalo (Cleveland), New Orleans (Mets), Rochester (Minnesota), Indianapolis (Pittsburgh), and Syracuse.

Obviously, the best fit out of those cities for the Jays would be Buffalo, but given the long-term success that the Bisons have had in that market, they might not want to hitch their wagons to a franchise which has produced 22 losing AAA seasons over their 30 year history.

If the music stops and the Jays are stuck with New Orleans in 2009, it would be nothing short of disastrous. A move to the Pacific Coast League would leave Jays prospects without exposure to their chief rivals’ prospects, and the expense and inconvenience of shipping players back and forth between New Hampshire, New Orleans and Toronto would be significant.

Then again, there is a AAA-level ballpark in a city with dozens of flights between it and Toronto that may well be vacant in 2009. Right Carl?


Unknown said...

Rochester could work as well no? Might get that cursed 'Breeze' ferry back up again (did I just say that?). Imagine being able to watch a AAA afternoon game, and still have time to make it back to town for the ML game.

Tao of Stieb said...