The Commissioner is at it again. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred cannot stop tinkering with the game. Personally, I feel he is making changes just to make changes. This time, Manfred has proposed that MLB cut 42 minor league teams and eliminate Rookie ball as we know it after the 2020 season.
This proposal would eliminate the Lexington Legends, Idaho Falls Chukars, and Burlington Royals.
Manfred’s main point is that he wants better facilities and less travel for minor leaguers. Apparently the concerns of many minor league players have been heard. They don’t make enough money, have awful conditions to deal with, and spend too much time on the bus covering long trips to the next location of a ball game. Manfred’s answer is just to eliminate 25 percent of the teams and spread the newly found extra money around. Now facilities can be better, travel can be shorter, and players can make a few more dollars for their pockets.
Teams will be limited to 150-players in their organizations. Currently, there is no limit. This will create more parity but it will also leave more players scratching to get into the professional ranks without a job. The draft will be cut down as well.
The Royals will keep Omaha, NWA, and Wilmington. They will have to find a replacement for Lexington while Idaho Falls and Burlington will just go away or possibly play in the MLB Dream League. The teams will still operate an Arizona League team at the spring training facility. Those teams will become the rookie ball teams.
The Legends owner Sue Martinelli Shea was quoted in the Times Free Press as saying, “My hope and prayer is that minor league baseball will reconsider this.”
I’ve reached out to the Royals for comment. When they get back to me I’ll let you know their viewpoint. Meanwhile, several communities around the nation have responded to Manfred’s contraction proposal with less than cordial feelings.
Here is the Daytona Tortugas response.
Congress is getting involved.
And MLB had a response ready. Here is a portion of it.
Photo by the Associated Press.