Even before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started, Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball were in discussions on a new Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) with the current one set to expire at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
The discussions have not been particularly pleasant as MLB commissioner Rob Manfred originally proposed to eliminate more than 40 Minor League affiliates, which he believed would pave the way for higher player salaries and improved work conditions.
MiLB understandably opposed the idea, not wanting to lose 40 affiliates, which led to Manfred even going as far as threatening to cut ties with them altogether.
The two sides traded barbs over the matter for months until the pandemic began, and now both sides have been forced to reconsider with the 2020 season yet to get underway and the future of both leagues financially currently uncertain.
It appears the discussions this time around have been much more civil, and the two sides may even have come to an agreement. However, it still paints a bleak picture for MiLB, as according to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, affiliated teams will be reduced from 160 to 120:
When MLB and MiLB negotiators convene on a teleconference on Wednesday, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations say that MiLB will indicate that they agree to 120 affiliated teams in a new PBA.
Now MiLB is expected to signal its assent to a system going forward where each MLB team will have four full-season affiliates (plus a Rookie-level team at its spring training complex).
While it appears to be trending that way, this is not a done deal yet as MLB and MiLB likely have a number of other issues to sort out.
As it currently stands, the Los Angeles Dodgers have six Minor League affiliates in Triple-A Oklahoma City, Double-A Tulsa, High-A Rancho Cucamonga, Low-A Great Lakes, Rookie-level Ogden and their Rookie-level team in Arizona.
If they do go to 120 affiliates, the Dodgers would likely lose their Ogden team, who have been part of the organization since 2003.
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