Rumor Roundup: Nov 12
I’m writing this on the morning of November 12, with the faint hope that there won’t be a deluge of rumors by the end of the day. Despite the flurry of activity kicked off by the Yankee leak over the weekend, I think there’s a good chance that things quiet down for a bit. J.J. Cooper tweeted that “multiple sources tell me that MLB has sent a message to all 30 teams asking them to stop leaking/releasing the information on their MiLB affiliates for 2021.”
I’m not surprised to hear that, but at the same time, guys like Cooper and Kevin Reichard already know a lot of the details due to their connections within minor league baseball. MLB didn’t send a memo out to 120 minor league teams, but you imagine that most are content to sit on the news until their new bosses give the go-ahead. But there will be more leaks, and a deeper dig shows that some pieces are already coming into place. Let’s take a look at those, as well as some other news and notes around the minors.
It’s been a little frustrating to see regional newspapers wildly speculate about the future of their local minor league club. In many cases, the writer has only a cursory understanding of how the minor league system really works, and they haven’t been following this story closely. One is example is in Rochester, where this article says, in reference to the Twins dropping the Red Wings: “but these types of changes happen every offseason, with parent clubs seeking to align themselves with a top farm club that’s geographically closer.” Gah! The article then goes on to identify possible new parent clubs for the Red Wings, systematically narrowing it down to the Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, and White Sox. And this is after carefully ruling out Toronto and Cleveland. I mean…deep breath…if you are reading this and you are a Red Wings fan, please ignore this article. Although the Pirates are an interesting dark horse candidate, Rochester will be with either the Nationals or Brewers.
Another piece, this one from the Hartford Courant, says that we should “look for Rockies to remain Hartford Yard Goats’ parent club.” Then you actually read the article and realize that there is no basis for this claim, other than the fact that Hartford is currently with Colorado. I mean, the writer’s not wrong, but there is no sense of certainly in today’s minors. His reasoning is based on the idea that since the Yankees and Mets now have their Double-A teams set, they won’t be looking to claim Hartford: “So neither the Yankees, nor Mets nor Red Sox, who are set in Worcester for Triple A and Portland, Maine for Double A, will be moving an upper-level affiliate to Hartford, despite its proximity to those major league franchises.” OK. For starters, does he have official word that the Red Sox are “set” in Portland? Hadlock Field is going on thirty years old. There’s certainly a chance that the Red Sox would prefer the newer facilities in Hartford. Like the writer, I think inertia leads to the most likely outcome. But what if the Rockies randomly make a play for a team like San Antonio, and the Yard Goats end up with Arizona or some other relatively untethered team. It’s certainly possible.
Similarly, there is wide speculation that the Giants and the Richmond Flying Squirrels may be severing ties, but there’s no clear signal that this is likely. An article out of Richmond makes the case that anything is possible with the Flying Squirrels, including a move to Triple-A. If you’ve been following the PBA coverage here at MLG, you may know my feelings on that specific topic, but this newspaper article is simply speculation couched in on-the-beat inside scoops like “Lou DiBella, the Flying Squirrels president and managing general partner, declined comment when contacted Sunday.” Gotcha. Triple-A it is, I guess.
Let’s cleanse the palate with some rumors and hints that seem to have some validity. While J.J. Cooper has been very careful about dropping details, Kevin Reichard has been a little more forthcoming. On the subject of the Flying Squirrels, he says that they are “likely” to lose the Giants as a parent club, although I’m not sure if he’s basing that on speculative reports from regional papers in San Francisco and/or Richmond. I feel about 50/50 on Richmond, but if they lose the Giants, the most likely other suitors are Arizona and maybe Washington–but the Nats have seemed pretty content in Harrisburg. Or maybe it will be Triple-A after all. Who knows?
In that same Reichard article, he does clearly state that the Giants will be losing the Augusta GreenJackets, for the precise reason that Augusta will be at the same level as the Cal League. That’s a clue! It’s not a huge surprise, but that implies that the GreenJackets will be staying in the Low-A Sally League. Interestingly, the Giants are supposedly miffed that MLB is taking Augusta away from them. They were definitely one of the west coast clubs that has been rumored (going back to the spring) to not be interested in the Northwest League.
While I don’t have a habit of tracking Reichard on Twitter, he did reply to someone asking about the Twins’ Double-A affiliate. Reichard replied, for all eyes to see, “Twins are likely to end up in sweet situation in Wichita.” I’m glad he said “likely”–gotta hedge bets these days–but I think we can safely say that Minnesota is now the front-runner for the Wind Surge. Not a bad consolation for Minny, who are losing Pensacola.
Here’s another Reichard reply: “Some Myrtle Beach fans, for instance, are hyperventilating about losing the Cubs even though they are not losing the Cubs as a parent.” The wording is a little weird, but I think he’s saying that Myrtle Beach will remain with Chicago. If we assume (and I do) that the Cubs are also sticking with South Bend, that would imply that the Pelicans are moving to the Sally League. And if that happens, we can probably scrap the notion that the Charleston RiverDogs (or even the Columbia Fireflies) are going to the Carolina League. Was this a waste of time?
But wait–this article from a regional newspaper in Charleston says: “Changes might include the RiverDogs moving up to a high-level Class A classification.” I don’t know what to believe anymore. Let’s all take a deep breath. I’ll check back this evening.