Re: Is 2012 the last year we're stuck with Bakersfield?
One of the many reasons why winning IS important in the minor leagues. The teams that win usually get the best developmental situations. Not always...and there are exceptions due to other factors, but when the Reds sit down with potential high-A owners after the 2012 season, the owner is going to want assurances that the team will be competitive.
Nothing against Bakersfield, but geographically, it does not fit well for the Reds. You have an injury to your Double-A catcher on a Monday night, you need to be able to get another catcher in there in time for the Tuesday game. That is one of many factors that go into fitting with an affiliate.
Reds will be trying to hold onto their affiliation in Pensacola and looking for a Carolina League club, I would expect, after the 2012 season.
If Dayton and Billings go out and win again in 2012, it would make it a lot easier to sell to Steve Bryant in Carolina, but based on what he saw this season in Zebulon, they may be starting out behind the eight ball.