Yankees Eye Scranton
Teams are about to find out who's available on the affiliation market, and it looks like one of the big prizes has already been claimed.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, which started this season with the bad news that it would be losing its longtime Phillies affiliation, will come out smelling like a rose by grabbing the Yankees as its new major league partner.
Major and minor league teams have notified their central offices and each other of their intentions to seek new affiliates, and teams will get the list of who's available today. They can start signing new deals tomorrow.
But local media in Scranton are already reporting that the Red Barons already have a deal in place. The Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre quoted one New York source saying: "The Yankees are definitely coming to Scranton."
While there's no official word on that yet, the Columbus Clippers are preparing for life without the Yankees, who have been their affiliate since 1979.
"We are excited about the prospects of Huntington Park and the future of professional baseball in Columbus," team president and general manager Ken Schnacke said. "The Yankees have been a great partner, and while the door is open for them to return, we are committed to partnering with any major league organization that shares our excitement for professional baseball in Columbus."
Triple-A could see several interesting changes this offseason, with longtime affiliations potentially ending in Scranton, Columbus and Norfolk as well. The Phillies had been with Scranton since 1989, while the Mets have been in Norfolk since 1969.
A potential new affiliate for Norfolk would be the nearby Washington Nationals, who will be leaving New Orleans after two seasons there.
The Phillies will sign an affiliation agreement with Ottawa, which will play one more season in Canada before moving to a new ballpark in Allentown, Pa., for the 2008 season.