- Dec 4, 2009
Major League Baseball has proposed a radical restructuring of the lower level of the minor leagues that could eliminate or change the nature and affiliations of as many as 40 teams across the country.
One plan that has been discussed, according to two people familiar with the negotiations who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, would convert some teams from the lower-level minor leagues — short-season, rookie ball and lower Class A — into a so-called Dream League of undrafted players looking to break into professional baseball. Teams in that league would be co-owned and operated by M.L.B. and Minor League Baseball — a departure from the current system, in which the vast majority of teams are independently owned and operated.
The president of Minor League Baseball, Pat O’Conner, recently sent a letter to member teams, which was obtained by The New York Times, warning of significant impending changes and advising teams not to make any financial commitments, new lease agreements or schedules beyond 2020.
For some minor league teams, the proposal could mean losing their affiliation with M.L.B. clubs. The most vulnerable teams are those in the Appalachian League, Northwest League and New York-Penn League. Other short-season teams, like the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ short-season team in the New York-Penn League, could be converted to full-season teams, perhaps even in higher levels like Class AA.
But M.L.B. is committed to a significant change because officials feel that about one-fourth of the minor league teams are not operating at a high-enough standard for modern athletes. M.L.B. wants to increase player compensation — they have been sued over that issue — and upgrade facilities at several minor league ballparks with substandard training rooms and nutrition.
Major League Baseball officials have proposed a restructuring of several lower leagues, which could sever some teams’ ties with M.L.B. clubs.
He also follows up in a tweet and says that they may also cut the MLB draft to 20 rounds and increased compensation for MILB players
Edit: baseball America has a lot more information on this proposal
If the proposal, or some version of it, is adopted, it will lead to the most dramatic restructuring of the minor leagues in more than half a century.