Well, in a year of change and pure craziness, why not change things up with Minor League Baseball. As we inch closer to the end of 2020, we are also coming closer to resolving the MLB extreme makeover of Minor League Baseball. With the expiration of the most recent Professional Baseball Agreement between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, Major League Baseball announced that it would be gaining control of Minor League Baseball; therefore, the number of teams from 160 teams to 120 teams. Additionally, the Minor League Baseball league structure is going to be overhauled:
- California League (8 teams)
- Florida State League (10 teams)
- Sally League (12 teams)
- Midwest League
- Northwest League
- Carolina League
- New Mid-Atlantic League
More and more major league teams are being told about their affiliates in 2021 and beyond. While many major league teams might not be happy, the Washington Nationals might not be one of those teams. According to Baseball Digest.com, the Fresno team will be moving to the Low A California League; therefore, the Nationals might have a new Triple-A team.
Currently, the Washington Nationals tripe-A team is located across the country in Fresno, California, which has had its challenges, to say the least, which got us thinking maybe Major League Baseball will take this into account when they make changes to the Washington Nationals affiliate structure.
So what are some of the possibilities for the Nationals Triple-A affiliate? Could the Nationals Triple-A team be located in Richmond or Rochester, MN?
Let’s start with the best solution: Richmond, VA.
Richmond Flying Squirrel (Fmr. San Fransico Giants High Affiliate)
The Richmond Flying Squirrels are a Minor League Baseball team based in Richmond, Virginia. The Flying Squirrels, a part of the Eastern League, is the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants major league club and plays at The Diamond. Major League Baseball recently informed the San Francisco Giants that they could lose their affiliation with the Squirrels due to the two teams’ location, according to the San Fransico Chronicle.
If Major League Baseball makes the Richmond team part of the Washington Nationals minor league team structure and bumping them up to Triple-A, this would be a perfect solution. Many of us know that Richmond is a relatively quick drive from Nationals Park and even closer to the Fredericksburg Nationals. Either way, the Richmond Flying Squirrels should be apart of the Nationals minor league team structure if MLB is serious about the importance of the location.
Another idea for the Nationals Triple-A affiliate could be the Rochester Red Wings.
Rochester Red Wings (Fmr. Minnesota Twins Triple-A Affiliate)
According to Ballpark Digest.com, the “Minnesota Twins and top affiliate Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League) are parting ways, clearing the way for the Twins to undertake a new affiliation with the St. Paul Saints and the Red Wings staying as an affiliated team.” In a recent statement, Red Wings President/CEO/COO Naomi Silver stated discussed the change in a press release: “Our relationship with the Twins has been a good one. Dave St. Peter (Twins President/ CEO), in his call to inform me, stressed the deep appreciation the Twins have had for our relationship, and gratitude for our partnership. We will always have fond memories of our time spent as a Twins affiliate, but it’s exciting to contemplate the future in this new era of Red Wings Baseball…”
Suppose the Rochester Red Wings were to become the Washington Nationals Triple-A affiliate. In that case, it is an only one-hour and fifteen-minute flight between Rochester, New York, and Washington, D.C., which is significantly shorter than the flight between California and Washington, D.C.
Whatever team becomes the Washington Nationals Triple-A affiliate, the team will be hopefully a lot closer to Washington D.C., making moving players from the Triple-A level to the Major’s a lot easier for the players and the Nationals. Either way, it’s a win-win for Nationals baseball.