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MLB set to reduce number of MiLB teams

MiLB’s hand was forced on the issue amid bugeting and coronavirus related concerns.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals-Workouts Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Minor league baseball will be dramatically reducing their number of clubs in the 2021 season, reports J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. When the powers at be teleconference tomorrow, the dramatic elimination of up to 42 teams will be all but complete.

Here’s where MLB really has their minor league counterparts in a choke hold: MiLB is willing to agree to the conditions of the reduction if Major League Baseball helps retain baseball in a town that would otherwise lose their major league club affiliation.

While the exact details on funding, logistics, and timelines won’t be known for some time, one of the common grounds both sides have come to is the updating and maintenance of facility standards. And getting the wrong end of the deal? Rookie ball and short season teams will make up for the 40 eliminations, with the potential of two teams, the St. Paul Saints and the Sugar Land Skeeters, converting to indy ball.

There’s no deny that the complete and utter shutdown of all sports has damaged the momentum it felt like MiLB was charging forward with. But it’s also naive to think that that’s what’s bringing the bulk of this decision to fruition. MLB has long talked about having what they frame as a “Dream League” for undrafted players that runs tandem with a wooden bat summer league for college prospects. Seems like a good way to get people excited about baseball on a smaller scale, right? However these leagues would be replacing affiliate clubs in multiple cities.

Here’s your TL;DR: Major League Baseball is taking advantage of the horrific landscape we are dealing with right now to bully Minor League Baseball into eliminating at least 40 of their clubs. MiLB teams, including their players and all members of staff, are just trying to survive and MLB sees this as the perfect moment for a power grab.