An Affiliate Marriage, The Last Two Standing

How and why did the Cincinnati Reds Single A team end up in Bakersfield?   It seems strange that a team that has kept its Single A team in the east coast Carolina League to all of a sudden move west.  The Cincinnati Reds affiliates that are lower and higher than the Single A level are all on the eastern part of the United States.   With a team in California, the Reds will incur major flight costs when players are traveling between teams.  The move seemed strange and since I like minor league baseball and since I have worked in Bakersfield, I took a look at this situation.

First, let me give you some simple background information. Major League baseball organizations sign a Player Development Contract (PDC) with a minor league baseball organization in a particular city.  These contracts are one of three types; 2 year contract, 4 year contract or a permanent contract which will only be in effect when the major league club owns the minor league club.   PDCs give the major league club a minor league location to place their players at a given level.  PDCs also guarantee that all minor league organizations have an affiliation with a major league franchise.  This seems fair.

During the life of these 2 or 4 year contracts, there are reasons why either side can be happy or unhappy with the other side.  The major league club may not be happy with playing conditions in the minor league city or because of some incidents that may have occurred with their players and the cities front office staff members.  The minor league club may not be happy with the support received from the major league club or even the players sent to their city.  Sometimes, the two parties get together because they have to and neither is happy.  This is what happened with the Reds and Bakersfield, so I expect this relationship to be a short one.  There is a rule that all cities that started with a team, must end with a team.  So, if all other PDCs are signed and there is one organization and one city left, they become married.  Welcome to a two year marriage.

Last year, the Texas Rangers had a team in Bakersfield of the California League and the Reds had a team in Lynchburg of the Carolina League. If you remember, in 2010 the Rangers were sold to a group led by new managing partner and CEO Chuck Greenberg.  In addition to the Rangers, Greenberg is also the managing partner and president of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League.   At the end of the 2010 season, the player contract the Myrtle Beach had with the Braves also expired.  So, since the same guy owns both teams, logic dictates that the two teams sign an agreement.  They did.  After that happened, the owners of the Lynchburg organization quickly called the Braves as they were the only Single A team left on the east coast and a marriage was made.

There were three teams left and three cities.  Bakersfield, Rancho Cucamonga and Inland Empire were the cities left along with the organizations of Dodgers, Angels and Reds.  The Dodgers and Angels quickly signed with the others former Single A home, leaving one city and one organization.  The Cincinnati Reds and the city of Bakersfield were then partners.

Both sides are trying to make the best of the situation.  The Reds have publicly said that they were pleased to be in Bakersfield and the Blaze personnel are very happy that they still have a major league club affiliated with them.  The future is never decided, but I can almost guarantee that we will be speaking of a new Single A affiliate for the Cincinnati Reds in 2013.

Tags: ,