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MLB Proposal Would Eliminate 42 Minor League Teams

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    That would be nice, getting the AA team in Brooklyn

    Stadium sizes are similar (both around 7K seating), which I found surprising as I remember Binghemton feeling larger (not Shea large, but larger than Brooklyn). Granted, I was 8 or 9 last time I was there and I was in Brooklyn a couple years back.

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  • saxon
    apparently new ownership decided to keep Binghamton and let Columbia or wherever the other A ball team was go in it's place...not sure if Binghamton will still be AA or whether it will fall to A ball with Brooklyn taking over AA...

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  • yogi8
    The Commissioner bites back! In response to some of the independent minor league teams under threat of being dropped and their rush to involve their congressmen.

    Manfred at the winter meeting threatened to restructure the entire MiLB within the MLB, effectively eliminating all independent teams who seem to be the shallow pocket owners that cannot maintain their property. Even if the ownership in this case were willing to upgrade, the franchise would still need to be taken over by a ML team.

    The reduction of 42 teams would still provide each ML team to field 6 levels of MiLB Rook, -A, A, A+, AA, AAA. It would reduce the number of players within the system to 150, a reduction of 1000 players across the 30 teams.

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  • Drucifer
    MLB Looks to Cut Minor League Teams;
    Could Impact Staten Island Yankees

    by Joe Mauceri
    20 Nov 2019, 10:58 PM ET

    ST. GEORGE, Staten Island — For so many players in the majors, their first taste of professional baseball comes with a single-A affiliate in the minors on teams like the Brooklyn Cyclones or the Staten Island Yankees.

    Big leaguers Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano got their starts on Staten Island.

    “It’s a nice night out, with a great view and it’s a nice event,” said fan Rob Schneider who lives near the stadium in St. George.

    Right now there are 160 minor league teams across the country, but MLB wants to get rid of a quarter of those teams.

    “I really don’t see the big deal,” said Larry Henderson of St. George. “If they go away they go away.”

    MLB says they want to cut teams to improve facilities, reduce travel, and increase pay for minor leaguers. Under the proposal the New York-Penn League, home to the Single-A Yankees and Cyclones would shutdown. The Mets, who own the Cyclones, would elevate Brooklyn to double-A ball and get rid of Binghamton, their current double-A affiliate.

    However the Staten Island Yankees could be one of the 42 teams left out of a new deal between Major and Minor League Baseball. The team balked at the idea in a statement.

    “As MLB has stated publicly, their main concerns are around facility standards, club travel, and proximity to an MLB affiliate. Your SI Yanks currently meet MLB’s facility standards, has good travel within the New York-Penn League and resides in the same city as their MLB affiliate,” a team spokesperson said.

    Now lawmakers around the country are stepping up to the plate for their minor league clubs. More than 100 members of congress, including Max Rose of Staten Island, sent a letter to Major League Baseball asking them to reconsider the move.

    “We want you to fully understand the impact this could have not only on the communities we represent, but also on the long-term support that Congress has always afforded our national pastime on a wide variety of legislative initiatives,” Rose said in the letter.

    The impact goes far beyond baseball. People who live in the area say they don’t want to see the stadium just sitting empty because it would become an eyesore, and of dozens of full-time and hundreds of part-time jobs would be lost.

    “You don’t want to see that ever,” said Schneider. “Yes I do know a few people that work here.”

    But the final strike for the Staten Island Yankees could be apathy from the fans. Attendance at minor league games topped 40 million for the 15 consecutive year, but, thanks in part to nearby construction on a mall and a failed ferris wheel, The Staten Island Yankees drew just over 65,000 fans to their games last season, the lowest attendance in team history.

    “I see graduations, concerts, movies, all kinds of different things going on at the stadium more than I see the baseball team play,” said Henderson.

    Negotiations are ongoing but the current agreement expires at the end of the 2020 season,


    Members of Congress Criticize Minor League Baseball Reductions
    by Jim Camden
    20 Nov 2019 879-7461

    Members of Congress asked Major League Baseball this week to step back from plans to shrink the minor league system and eliminate some teams, including some in the Northwest League.

    Abandoning the clubs “would devastate our communities, their bond purchasers and other stakeholders,” a bipartisan group of House members wrote to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. It noted that Congress has taken numerous actions in the last century to “protect, preserve and sustain” professional baseball and suggested the league strongly reconsider its plans.

    The Spokane Indians have not been mentioned as a team that would be eliminated, although two teams they play in the Northwest League, the Tri-City Dust Devils and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, have. Minor league teams in Idaho Falls, Missoula and Billings are also mentioned for possible elimination in the most recent list.

    Inland Northwest House members didn’t sign the letter, but a spokesman for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said she supports the message even though the Indians aren’t on the chopping block.

    “She agrees with her colleagues and would encourage MLB to rethink this,” said Jared Powell, communications director for McMorris Rodgers.

    Minor league teams provide people outside of the Major League cities with an opportunity to see live baseball, Powell added.

    Rep. Dan Newhouse, whose district includes the Tri-City Dust Devils, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter or the possible elimination of the team.

    Lawmakers Urge MLB to Reverse Course on Eliminating Certain Minor League Teams
    by Nexstar Media Group
    21 Nov 2019, 9:35 AM ET

    WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Nearly 100 members of Congress are urging Major League Baseball to reverse course on a plan to eliminate numerous Minor League Baseball clubs.

    The MLB said they are considering eliminating more than 40 of the 160 affiliated teams.

    One team on the proposed chopping block is Binghamton, New York’s Rumble Ponies — the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets.

    Rumble Ponies Owner John Hughes is calling the move “an assault on America’s pastime.”

    “The current plan demolishes community pride, eliminates jobs from players and teams,” he said.

    Lawmakers are now hitting back at the MLB’s proposal.

    “We would hate to see a loss of that team,” Rep Anthony Brindisi, D-New York, said of the Rumble Ponies.

    Brindisi said he’s ready to do whatever’s necessary to protect the Rumble Ponies.

    “This is a great community draw for us in the Binghamton area – it’s a family entertainment product that’s put onto the field every night,” Brindisi said.

    Brindisi has joined nearly 100 lawmakers that are calling on the MLB to reverse course.

    “There are members that represent these areas across the country that are under threat by the MLB from taking away their teams,” he said.

    MLB said many of the minor league teams do not meet their standards — adding that they want their prospective athletes playing in better facilities and want to reduce their travel burden.

    In a letter to lawmakers, the MLB said they also believe “the compensation of Minor league players should be significantly improved” and see their plan of reducing teams as a way to do that.

    For now, they are urging lawmakers to support the negotiation progress.

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  • yogi8
    Earlier this week the list of teams that MLB has under consideration for elimination was leaked. According to Manfred, he shared in confidence the list with MiLB President and CEO Pat O'Conner who dropped the dime to the NY Times.

    The teams targets range from Rookie Ball to AA and the Mets appear twice; Rookie Kingsport, Tenn. of the Appalachian League and the AA Rumble Ponies.
    Beside the Mets AA team the Tigers Erie PA. team (Seawolves) of the Eastern League and the DBacks Generals - Jackson Tenn. and the Reds Lookout of Chattanooga, Tenn. both of the Southern League completed the list of AA teams.

    Reminder; this is slated for 2021.
    Last edited by yogi8; 22-Nov-2019, 04:15 PM. Reason: Spacing for easier reading

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    That kind of scratch would cover just about any set of OT circumstance that could occur... even crazy California labor laws.

    Problem is, if you don't reduce the number of teams each affiliate has, then 4M won't cover it. You're more likely looking at 6 teams, with 35 man rosters, or 210 players. Also factoring in that A and AAA aren't going to be the same, that results in closer to a 10-12M cost. When you are a team limited by a 100M payroll, does a 10M hit affect your ability to compete?

    Crunching the numbers, even in the most stringent of labor law states (ahem Cali) a AAA player with 6 hours of game time 6x a week with an average of 10 hours of travel per week would be covered by a 30K salary over the 7 month work period. There is definitely room between what Yogi is offering and what they are receiving to be covered without dismantling the system. Whether that room make it unprofitable is a question that I altogether cannot answer.

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  • yogi8
    Mixed feelings about the possible intrusion by the government(s) to consider the addition of MiBL players to minimum wage laws. Certainly players need to be paid a wage at some level that can provide for the player year round....A ball? 50 K per season that would cover 100 players per season who are currently earning an average of 10-12 K per season plus per diem for food.

    The added cost would be 4 M to the organization or what they might spend on a BP arm that will ring up 5 BS and a 5.00 ERA.

    The alternative could mean locked Locker Rooms, so players didn't punch the clock too early or moving Rookie ball and A - A+ to the DR/ Venezuela/Mexico or cutting players who might be slow developing prematurely.

    50 K per year isn't great money, but would put the MLB over the minimum wage law as well as being pro-active.

    I'm reminded of stories about the Brooklyn Dodgers and players like Gil Hodges, Duke Snyder who in Brooklyn year round and loaded trucks in the off season. Part time jobs are available still to day. I would think that pro ball players would be attractive to manual entry level positions in big box stores, kitchen work and loading trucks like HOF Duke Synder.

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  • West Coast Mets Fan
    I read somewhere some time ago that MLB has some concern over salary and travel due to the rise of the minimum wage to $15/hr in many states. When you factor in the hours at the park and travel time they are not even close to minimum wage. MLB doesn't want Congress to step in and fix it for them.

    This is an excerpt from an article about Paul Sewald (good read by the way) and how he almost quit;

    [QUOTE][According to The Athletic, the average salary for minor leaguers whose contracts are handled by MLB, ranged from around $6,000 in Single A to around $9,350 in Double A to almost $15,000 in Triple A in 2018. Players are only compensated for the months of the season.


    Paul also points out how it is difficult to supplement those salaries with jobs during the off-season because players find it hard to find employers willing to accommodate the time off necessary when the season begins.

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  • yogi8
    Every once in a while I might get a position right....strongly stress might. lol

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  • mjjm367
    commented on 's reply
    Agreed. Nicely stated.

    didn't really come into this thread with a horse in this race, but I must say, well argued Yogi.

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  • yogi8
    My take was not as severe as Brian's.

    First the intent of MLB is to improve the salary, stadiums and travel of MiLB. MLB has agreed to a need of 150 player spots (75%) of what exists. MLB also wants more stability of affiliation, next season 10 of the 14 team in the International League (AAA) will need to agree to new 2 or 4 year contracts with the affiliate. FYI the Mets own Syracuse and are set, as are the Yankees, Boston and Braves.

    This whole concept will part of the new PBA (Professional Baseball Agreement) which will take place for the 2021 season. The changes would also effort putting MILB clubs in the same geological area as the primary team ie. The IL would expand to 20 teams while the 16 team PCL would become 10.

    Essentially MLB views some of these MILB facilities as eyesores, slums, dumps etc. They also are recognizing the living, working and traveling conditions as wanting.

    When I first followed baseball, the ML was bordered by the Atl. Ocean and Mississippi River...There were 16 teams in 10 cities and 8 states. Today we have added another country, there are 30 teams in 27 cities, 20 states and 1 province all bordered by oceans.

    Even 65 years after relocation and 60 years of expansion a lot of this country doesn't have live baseball because they cannot support it with attendance. Why should a minor league city be exempted? A team needs more than lip service loyalty, it needs financial support. Why should young ballplayers have to develop in conditions that fall below those of any college and most high schools...they shouldn't.

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  • Brian Stark
    Don't know, but to the point of the post/article, MLB is absolutely short sighted and asinine. They are cutting out the very fabric of the game, the small town teams that build up the goodwill and loyalty to the game.

    Typical take the money today and don't think about tomorrow thinking.

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  • saxon
    hey dumb question but...It used to be that when I would post a link to an article, it would show a preview of the article, and not just a link...any idea what happened to that feature?

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  • saxon
    started a topic MLB Proposal Would Eliminate 42 Minor League Teams

    MLB Proposal Would Eliminate 42 Minor League Teams

    MLB Proposal Would Eliminate 42 Minor League Teams

    by J.J. Cooper
    18 Oct 2019

    Editor's Note: This story initially reported that the proposal would move the MLB draft back to August. Further reporting has found that while the draft in the proposal would move to after the College World Series, it would not be moved as late as August. We regret the error. Also, the number of roster spots for minor leagues would be limited to between 150 and 200 players. The story initially said teams would be limited to 150 players.

    The Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) between Major League Baseball and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. But if a new MLB proposal were to become reality, more than three dozen cities with affiliated minor league teams will lose those teams a year from now and thousands of minor league players will be out of work as well.

    The MLB proposal is just one idea at the start of what will likely be a lengthy negotiation, but the two sides are further apart than they have been in any PBA negotiation since 1990. At the core of the negotiations, MLB is looking to dramatically improve Minor League Baseball’s stadium facilities as well as take control over how the minor leagues are organized as far as affiliations and the geography of leagues. Those areas have been under the control of MiLB for the past 100-plus years and would lead to a dramatic restructuring of how MiLB is governed and operates.

    MLB has offered a proposal that, if adopted, would reduce Minor League Baseball from 160 teams—not counting the complex league teams that are wholly MLB-owned—to 120 beginning in 2021.

    The proposal is described as a preliminary offering subject to alteration. But 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. Under the proposal, not only would more than 25 percent of MiLB teams be eliminated, but the remaining leagues would also be dramatically reworked with some leagues getting much smaller, others getting bigger, and teams switching classification levels all around the country.

    Baseball America has been reporting on the negotiations of the new PBA for more than a year. That has involved multiple discussions and interviews with owners and officials from MLB and MiLB. Because of the sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations, almost everyone requested anonymity. The ownership group of Baseball America includes owners of Minor League Baseball teams, but the reporting on this story has been done independently.

    “We are engaged with Major League Baseball on a successor agreement to the PBA. It’s early in the negotiations, and that’s the most I can say,” MiLB president Pat O’Conner said.

    “We’re at the very initial stages of the negotiations where each side is presenting to others the issues and concerns they have with the existing PBA," MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem said.

    "From the perspective of MLB clubs, our principal goals are upgrading the minor league facilities that we believe have inadequate standards for potential MLB players, improving the working conditions for MiLB players, including their compensation, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, providing better geographic affiliations between major league clubs and their affiliates, as well as better geographic lineups of leagues to reduce player travel."

    Before the 2021 minor league season begins, Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball must agree to a new PBA and both sides must ratify it.

    Since 1903, there has always been an agreement between MLB and MiLB. There was a contentious PBA negotiation in 1990, which ended with MLB receiving a ticket tax from MiLB teams, eliminated payments from MLB to MiLB for player transactions and implemented requirements for significant facility improvements. But before that and since then, new PBA agreements and renewals have generally been uncontentious affairs with relatively few adjustments.

    This PBA negotiation has already turned contentious. MiLB has long said that it sees the need for improved facility standards—something that has not been significantly changed since the 1990 PBA—but in general, MiLB is quite happy with the current arrangement.

    MLB is not happy with the current structure. In the view of some MLB owners and front office officials, the current system, where MLB teams and MiLB clubs negotiate every two years to sign two-year Player Development Contracts, leaves MLB clubs in undesirable situations from facilities and geographical standpoints. In a number of cases over the past decade, MLB owners have ended up purchasing MiLB teams to avoid ending up in what are viewed as some of the worst stadiums around minor league baseball.

    In MLB’s viewpoint, roughly a quarter of all current MiLB clubs far fall below the level of facilities they view as needed for their minor league players. MLB has essentially put the onus on MiLB to find a way to guarantee those stadiums will all reach what MLB deems as acceptable standards in the near future. If MiLB cannot, then MLB has a proposal to simply reduce the number of affiliated minor league teams going forward to the 75 percent of MiLB clubs that MLB deems capable of meeting their facility needs. MLB would work with MiLB and others to ensure the remaining 25 percent of clubs have baseball teams of some sort, but they would no longer be affiliated MiLB clubs.

    MLB also wants to completely rework the PDC process to ensure MLB clubs can have MiLB affiliates that meet their desires geographically. To do so, they want to eliminate the current two-year PDC process and replace it with much longer-lasting MLB-MiLB franchise agreements. Doing so would give the MLB clubs much more certainty, but it would also eliminate the negotiating leverage MiLB teams currently have every two years.

    And MLB wants MiLB to share in the increased costs that are going to come with increased player pay. In MLB's view, there may be several ways to reach these goals, but their initial proposal is one path to those goals.

    At the root of the disagreement is a preliminary proposal MLB has offered to reduce its number of Player Development Contracts (the affiliation agreement by which MLB teams provide players and staff to MiLB teams) from 160 to 120. That reduction would completely eliminate the four, non-complex Rookie-level and short-season classifications from the minor leagues.

    The proposal also completely reorganizes the full-season minor leagues. While there would still be Triple-A, Double-A, high Class A and low Class A, those four levels would be completely reworked to make the leagues much more geographically compact. In Triple-A, the Pacific Coast League would shift from 16 teams to 10. The International League would grow to 20 teams. The 14-team low Class A South Atlantic League would be turned into a six-team league with a new Mid-Atlantic league springing up.

    The short-season Northwest League would move to full-season ball.

    Under MLB’s proposal, some teams would be asked to move from Class A to Triple-A. Others would be asked to move from Triple-A to Class A, and there would be other less dramatic moves as well.

    The proposal lays out valuations for the different levels. Triple-A is valued at $20 million. Double-A is valued at $15 million. High Class A is valued at $10 million. Low Class A is valued at $8 million, and short-season/Rookie-level teams are valued at $6 million. A team moving up from low Class A to Triple-A would be asked to pay $12 million to move up. A team asked to move from Triple-A to high Class A would receive $10 million in compensation for the move down to a lower level.

    That is likely a significant point of contention in the negotiations because those valuations bear little resemblance to the prices teams are currently going for on the open market. While MiLB team valuations used to be largely tied to their classification level, that is not really true on the open market. A low-attendance, low-revenue Florida State League club in high Class A has a sale price significantly lower than that of a high-revenue low Class A club.

    Not all current full-season teams would survive in this proposal. Some short-season clubs would be asked to move up to take the place of excised full-season affiliates. The proposal even suggests a pair of independent league clubs—in St. Paul, Minn., and Sugar Land, Texas—would be brought into affiliated ball.

    What would happen to the 42 current teams who are left without PDCs in the proposal? MLB suggests setting up what it calls the Dream League.

    As part of its overhaul, MLB would move the draft back to August and would reduce it to 20-25 rounds. Those players who go undrafted would have the option of playing in the Dream League (or going to independent leagues). The Dream League would be a joint MLB-MiLB venture, but in essence, it would be a quasi-independent league where the clubs would field teams of undrafted players.

    MLB teams would be limited in the proposal to fielding five minor league clubs in the United States. That’s four full-season teams plus one complex-based Rookie affiliate. In addition to their 40-man roster players, each MLB team club would be limited to 150-200 players under minor league contracts on MiLB rosters. The proposal does not address roster limits for international players playing in the Dominican Summer League.

    Under the proposal, some teams would have to shed as many as 100 players from their current MiLB rosters. The Yankees currently field eight U.S. minor league affiliates, which means they can currently have as many as 285 players under contract. Under this proposal, they would have to drop as many as 135 players to meet the new restrictions. Right now, there are no restrictions on how many teams—and, therefore, how many players—a team can field. Under this proposal, all MLB teams would be limited to the same number of teams and players.

    Moving the draft later would likely have significant effects. Since there would be no short-season and non-complex Rookie-level teams, drafted players would likely not play official games during their draft year. Instead, they would probably play in scrimmages and instructional league-type games in August and September. The next spring, college players would likely head to low Class A in their first full pro seasons, while high school draftees would join international signees in the complex leagues.

    The draft currently is held at the end of most states' high school baseball seasons and the final month of the college baseball season. If the draft moved to to July, it could reshape the summer showcase circuit, because high school seniors would have more time post-graduation to try to impress scouts, as well as rework summer college wood bat leagues.

    MLB’s proposal would create a seismic shift for Minor League Baseball. Since it is early in negotiations, it is not clear if this proposal is a dramatic opening salvo aimed at reducing MLB’s share of expenses associated with supporting MiLB or a clear attempt to dramatically reduce the scope of the affiliated minor leagues. MLB could always walk back its demands to land smaller concessions from MiLB in a final deal.

    Regardless, if MLB’s proposal or any similar move is adopted, it would be the most dramatic rework of the minor leagues since they were reorganized in 1962.

    MLB teams are responsible for paying for the salaries and benefits of players and coaches on all affiliated minor league teams, while minor league teams pay for the minor league staff, travel and other expenses. In the case of a short-season or Rookie-level club, players’ and coaches’ salaries—and the worker’s compensation insurance that comes with it—can be a significant share of a team’s total expenses.

    Many people contacted said they expect MLB to raise salaries for minor league players in the near future, with the expectation that minimum salaries will be raised by 50 percent and the reduction in total affiliates (and players) will help pay for those increases. MLB is also currently involved in a class-action lawsuit filed by minor league players who contend they should have been paid for their time in spring training and extended spring training.

    Owners of the eliminated minor league teams would expect to be compensated. It’s also likely a number of municipalities would look at taking legal measures to recoup any money they spent to upgrade facilities in recent years for affiliated clubs that would be taken away under the proposal.

    The proposal would likely create a group of haves (the remaining 120 teams with PDCs) and have-nots (the 42 teams left out of the new PBA), but it would likely have negative impacts for all affiliated minor league clubs because it would likely decrease valuations for all minor league teams.

    Values for affiliated clubs are dramatically higher than independent minor league clubs, even in cases where the independent club’s market and revenue is comparable. The reason is largely tied to the guarantee of a PDC. While the number of independent (and summer college league teams) are theoretically infinite, there are a limited number of PDCs that tie teams to MLB teams. And for the past 30 years, that number has never gone down.

    Teams have frequently swapped affiliates, but as long as a team has a PDC, it is guaranteed to have an affiliation with an MLB club.

    MLB’s proposal for the new PBA is limited to five years, down from the seven that PBAs have traditionally been in the past. That proposal also could be a sign of future intentions. If MLB reduced the minor leagues by 42 teams in this negotiation, there is no guarantee it wouldn’t look to reduce the number further in the next round of PBA negotiations. With no guarantee a team will always have an MLB affiliate, the value of even the most successful MiLB teams will likely be reduced to price in that uncertainty.

    The full details of how the Dream League or leagues would work are not yet clear. In the proposal, league teams would be responsible for paying players and the coaching staff as well as the training staff, but there is also an awareness on MLB’s side that some sort of subsidies would be needed.

    MLB would potentially assist in helping teams identify players, but it appears teams would be responsible for acquiring their own players. The expectation is these players would be paid very modest salaries for the chance to catch the attention of MLB scouts. MLB clubs would then have the option to purchase the contracts of Dream League players in-season for $5,000 per acquisition.

    A rough estimate is that going from affiliated baseball to the proposed Dream League would add $300,000 to $400,000 in costs to club for in salaries, worker’s compensation and staffing.

    Because the markets for most Appalachian and Pioneer league clubs are unlikely to be able to support the increased costs of the Dream League, teams in those leagues would instead be encouraged to form summer wood bat amateur teams under the auspices and organization of MLB. By doing so, MLB could assure cities that while they may no longer have MLB-affiliated teams, they still would have baseball tied to the MLB/MiLB umbrella.

    The two sides have taken October off from negotiations during the MLB playoffs, but they are expected to meet again in November. This could set up an interesting dynamic at the Winter Meetings, this year held in San Diego, which is normally a celebration that major league and minor league owners can partake in together.
    This year figures to be contentious more than celebratory.