MLB Rumors: Proposed Changes Would Eliminate Rookie-Level & Short-Season Affiliates, Reduce MiLB Players And More

As MLB has continued to increase revenue and grow the sport, one major point of contention has come with the conditions and wages for their Minor League affiliates and its players. While that has become a legislative matter, a more pressing concern may be on the horizon.

The Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) between MLB and Minor League teams is due to expire at the conclusion of the 2020 season. MiLB and MLB would need to agree to a new PBA and have it ratified before the start of the 2021 Minor League season.

Under the current agreement, MLB clubs sign two-year contracts with affiliates. The Los Angeles Dodgers last did so with Triple-A Oklahoma City, Double-A Tulsa, High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Low-A Great Lakes in September 2018.

According to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, MLB proposals for a new PBA would change that arrangement, along with eliminate Minor League affiliates, among other changes:

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.

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.

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.

And MLB wants MiLB to share in the increased costs that are going to come with increased player pay.

If Rookie-Level and short-season affiliates are done away with, the Dodgers in theory would no longer have Ogden and their Dominican Summer League teams. Though, there is believed to be a possibility of reshuffling amongst Minor League teams, with affiliates moving up or down levels.

L.A. began their affiliation with Oklahoma City in September 2014, when the franchise was sold to Mandalay Baseball, LLC, which is a partnership that includes ownership from the Dodgers organization.

The partnership with the Quakes began in 2011. Rancho Cucamonga has made regular appearances in the California League Playoffs and in 2018 won the league title.