Yankees May Add Another NJ Minor League Team
Minor League Baseball is facing some big changes later this month. On September 30th, Major League Baseball will contract the Minor Leagues from 160 to 120 teams. Believe it or not, according to ESPN, minor league owners still don't know which teams will be cut.
Minor League Baseball is a weird business in general, with each Major League team having official affiliates ranging from AAA, AA, High-A, Low-A, and a Short Season team. The new rule would limit teams to four minor league teams, cutting out the Short Season. A lot of teams are trying to figure out how to move players around, and one of the potential moves involves bringing another Yankee affiliate to New Jersey.
Right now, the Trenton Thunder are the AA team for the Yankees. According to a report, the Somerset Patriots could join the organization, moving from an independent team to an official affiliates.
The Patriots play in the top-rated independent ballpark in the country, with a playing field that is regarded among the nation’s best maintained among independent and minor league teams. They also draw in a strong number of fans, so they would be an appealing option for a Major League team.
The Yanks currently have teams in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA), Trenton (AA), Tampa (Advanced A), Charleston (A), Staten Island (Short Season A) and in the Gulf Coast League. It's interesting to try to see where Somerset would fit in that group. It could make sense to keep Scranton, Trenton, and Somerset in some order as your A, AA, and AAA teams, and keep Tampa as your Low-A. It would mean losing the Charleston River Dogs, who are part of the South Atlantic League and foes of the Lakewood BlueClaws.
In case you're wondering, I haven't heard any possibility of the BlueClaws being cut - they draw some of the biggest crowds in the SAL, so I doubt they would be considered for contraction.