It's time for the bi-annual affilation shuffle. The Reds AAA, Low A, and Rookie League teams are extended through 2012. But the Reds AA and High A teams have not signed new agreements.
Only 11 teams are left. It's hard to believe Reds would be interested in going to Texas League, or that the 5 west coast teams wouldn't willingly fill up the 3 available Texas League slots.
Apparently Carolina feels they want to let the Reds affiliation expire so they can at least explore other teams. The Reds have done a poor job of putting a competitive product there. Could they want the Marlins back? You would think the Marlins would love their affiliation in Jacksonville, which has a new ballpark, leads the Southern League in attendance yearly, and is a 5 hour drive from Miami, and a 4 hour drive from their Minor League operations. And you would think the Jax Suns would be thrilled to have a Florida team.
But why hasn't it happened yet? Could it be that Jax would rather have Tampa's AA team? Tampa is a 3 hour drive, making them a more "local" Florida team. And if you're Tampa, Jax is much closer than Montgomery for both the home club and the Minor League Operation (Port Charlotte).
TEAM MAJOR LEAGUE AFFILIATE PDC EXPIRATION
Erie SeaWolves Tigers 2010
Harrisburg Senators Nationals 2010
Richmond Flying Squirrels Giants 2010
Carolina Mudcats Reds 2010
Huntsville Stars Brewers 2010
Jacksonville Suns Marlins 2010
Montgomery Biscuits Rays 2010
West Tenn Diamond Jaxx Mariners 2010
Arkansas Travelers Angels 2010
San Åntonio Missions Padres 2010
Tulsa Drillers Rockies 2010
This Minor League site
seems to think that Jax, Montgomery and Huntsville will stay with current clubs, that Richmond will choose between SF and Washington, Erie will stay with Tigers.
If he is right than the AA Reds will be one of:
The Reds in their 1 year stint with Lynchburg have put a bad product on the field, and neither the Reds or Lynchburg chose each other, they simply had a shotgun marriage when the Pirates bought the Sarasota Reds. So I suspect Lynchburg will look around.
Normally you would suspect that the west coast teams would fill up all the California League slots, but there is a little more intrigue than normal. One of the new owners of the Rangers owns the Myrtle Beach team, so they will probably go there.
That means a Cal League franchise open and no West Coast team to fill it. Kansas City is the closest team and Delaware is still closer than California.
So the least desirable team could end up stuck in Bakersfield, and you can make a case that the Reds are the least desirable team. They've been bad at High A, and their Low A team stinks.
But the California League is in turmoil. They wanted to ship 2 teams to the Carolina League a year or so but they couldn't work it out. 1 team (High Desert) is for sale and the owner can't find a buyer, and Bakersfield's stadium no longer meets Minor League Baseball's standards.
Bakersfield Blaze Rangers 2010
High Desert Mavericks Mariners 2010
Inland Empire 66ers Dodgers 2010
Modesto Nuts Rockies 2010
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Angels 2010
Kinston Indians Indians 2010
Lynchburg Hillcats Reds 2010
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Braves 2010
Wilmington Blue Rocks Royals 2010
Florida State League
If you assume that all the West Coast teams except Bakersfield fill up with West Coast franchises, and that Myrtle Beach goes to Rangers, Kinston stays with Indians (longest running agreement in Carolina League), then the Braves, Royals and Reds will be fighting for Wilmington and Lynchburg. You'd have to assume a minor league owner would rather have the Braves.
So.... Reds need to take action quickly or they become the Bakersfield Blaze, playing in a stadium that does not meet minor league standards.