Crosscutters may get axe under new MLB restructuring proposal

Crosscutters are the Phillies affiliate that could be eliminated
Details continue to pour out regarding Major League Baseball's plans to realign the current Minor League structure as the Professional Baseball Agreement between the two entities expires at the end of the 2020 season.

The most notable change in the plan unveiled by MLB includes the elimination of 42 MiLB organizations, including the Phillies' Class A short-season affiliate Williamsport Crosscutters.

If the plan were to move forward as outlined, more than 1,000 minor leaguers would be out of work and more than 36 stadiums - several subsidized by tax dollars - would be without a tenant.

This proposal comes at a time when MLB is under considerable pressure to increase salaries at the minor league level. For reference, a player at the Single-A level, on average, is paid about $1,500 a month. That figure rises a bit up through the Triple-A level, but not by much.

It appears MLB is interested in potentially increasing salaries, but only if it can eliminate a sizeable portion of the workforce.

"From the perspective of MLB clubs, our principal goals are upgrading the minor league facilities that we believe have inadequate standards for potential MLB players, improving the working conditions for MiLB players, including their compensation, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, providing better geographic affiliations between major league clubs and their affiliates, as well as better geographic lineups of leagues to reduce player travel," MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem said.

Many of the MiLB teams of the proposed 42 to be eliminated have historical ties to the sport. For instance, the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, have been around since 1885.

"To use a baseball term, it was absolutely out of left field for us. We did not expect it at all," said Lookouts President Rich Mozingo.

Along with the Crosscutters, the only other Pennsylvania team on the block is the State College Spikes - a Class A short-season affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.



Dating back to 1903, there has always been an agreement in place between MLB and MiLB and renewals of agreements often were void of contentiousness. This time around though, it appears MLB wants to see facilities drastically improved at the minor league level and longer-term affiliate agreements in an attempt to keep MiLB clubs closer to the locale of their respective MLB franchise.

Nothing is imminent and it's a negotiation, but this go-around MLB is setting the tone for moving forward.

"We want to stress that it will be business as usual for the 2020 season for the Phillies affiliate in Williamsport," the Crosscutters said in a statement. "MLB and Minor League Baseball have further meetings planned between now and the end of the year to discuss a new agreement. We look forward to the Williamsport Crosscutters being part of this community for many more years to come."
__________________________________
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

No comments: