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With Announcements, More MiLB Teams Left Twisting in the Wind

by Paul Reeths
November 20, 2020 - Atlantic League (AtL) - Sugar Land Skeeters

This week the venerable Rochester Red Wings revealed a new affiliation with the Washington Nationals after being unceremoniously jettisoned by the Minnesota Twins. The move secures Rochester's place in AAA baseball for the foreseeable future. The fate of many other minor league teams remains in limbo at this time.

The team Rochester will replace in Minnesota's chain, the Fresno Grizzlies, is likely to be nudged out of AAA baseball and may drop two or three levels. The possible addition of two independent teams to the AAA lineup, the Saint Paul Saints of the American Association and Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League, will squeeze out another team.

The Round Rock Express is officially without an affiliation as well, being replaced by Sugar Land. Continuing MLB's shoddy treatment of past affiliates, Express team officials informed the American-Statesman they hadn't officially been told anything by former parent team the Houston Astros just three days before Sugar Land announced the move. The Express may instead align with the Texas Rangers.

Sugar Land's loss is the Atlantic League's second of the year after the Somerset Patriots signed on as the New York Yankees' AA representative. It's a more palatable setback as the Texas city was far and away the independent league's most remote destination.

While revealing their minor league affiliates in St. Lucie (FL), Brooklyn, Binghamton (NY) and Syracuse, the New York Mets dumped the Columbia Fireflies. The South Carolina city had a long-standing relationship with the Mets, running from 1983 to 2004 and resuming in 2016 with the formation of the Fireflies. The $37 million Segra Park has hosted just four seasons of ball, making it one of the newer facilities in Minor League Baseball.

The Los Angeles Dodgers appear ready to ditch the Michigan-based Great Lakes Loons in favor of the Spokane Indians, a team which will make the jump to full-season baseball.

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