The Minor League Baseball Conundrum

Minor league baseball is different than major league baseball in more ways than just salaries and size of crowds. As discussed in the following article, MiLB relies on having crowds, especially on their weekends and special give-a-way games for their lifeblood.

A 2020 minor league season is getting harder to imagine even happening

They cannot consider sending the teams to the Arizona desert or Florida swampland and televise them and hope that helps them move forward towards normalcy as the big boys have been discussing. Most also can’t survive with a stadium where everyone is sitting six feet apart.

As this crisis meanders onward, there is a growing chance that minor league baseball will be cancelled for the 2020 season. Now, this is on top of the recent news that MiLB is in negotiations with the MLB over potential contraction and realignment.

If the 2020 major league season does come back in some way shape or form and the minor league season does not, it will be interesting to see how MLB addresses this whole situation. Here are some thoughts:

  • It is almost a given that if the MLB season does return that it will do so with a larger roster (28 to 30) to support the pitching situation where most pitchers will take a while to get their innings up to normal.
  • It is possible that the teams will put their top minor leaguers into an extended spring training situation so that they will be playing in Arizona or Florida and available to be called up to fill in as needed.
  • It is also likely that the MLB will skip their new rule of a roster expansion from 26 to only 28 in September. Maybe they will go back to the previous rule of allowing anyone from the 40-man to be called up.
  • The Astros certainly would like to get more mileage on certain prospects to see if they are really MLB ready. This is especially true of anyone they may have lined up to help in the starting rotation as Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are only signed thru 2021 or in the OF with George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick all hitting free agency after the 2020 season.

Minor league baseball has been a long time tradition for so many areas that are not in close proximity to a major league stadium or for those, like with the Sugar Land Skeeters who are close to a MLB team but want to pay much more reasonable prices to attend. They feature reasonable prices, closeness to the field, fun give-a-ways and an entertaining atmosphere. There is no doubt the MiLB landscape will be very different after this crisis is over and that is unfortunate.


37 comments on “The Minor League Baseball Conundrum

  1. Just talking about this very thing this weekend. Since I’m not that we’ll versed on our minor leagues I’m still lost on this subject!
    I meant to post this yesterday, so I’m posting it today. Aaron Boone said over the weekend that he doesn’t think baseball teams will ever cheat by stealing signs again. The man is DELUSIONAL if he really thinks that! Manfred was investigating at least 7 other teams that were thought to be cheating!
    And Cora said he takes “the blame”for the cheating scandal in 2017 with the Astros…”ALONG WITH OTHERS” yeah….sounds like he’s taking the “blame”.
    I also thought it was interesting that Manfred NEVER mentioned Carlos Beltran.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On the radio yesterday afternoon they were playing the radio broadcast for the last regular season game in 2015. The Astros lost 5-3 to the D’Backs (wow, what a “key” divisional game), but because the Angels lost – the Astros clinched the wild card and then of course went on to take out the Yankees and come oh so close on the Royals.
    My memory is fading because I had forgotten that so many guys were still on that team – Chris Carter, Chad Qualls, Jed Lowrie, Preston Tucker, Oliver Perez, Jason Castro….
    It was kind of fun to pretend that it was something real.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here is my uneducated guess on what I hope might happen:

    Both MLB and MiLB seasons to start @ June 1st with teams playing at their own fields. Lmited number of fans allowed (up to groups of five people and no group closer than 10 feet from the next). No field level seating to avoid contact with players on foul balls. Everyone wears face masks.

    No fans allowed in New York, Boston or other pandemic hot spots. Games can be broadcast as Pay-Per-View.

    Schedule 112 games. 13 against each of the other 4 division teams = 52. 6 aginst each of the other 10 teams in the league = 60. No interleague games.

    MLB with 30 man rosters to start season and expand to 40 on September 1st.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That idea will not fly if only for the reason the Sox and Yankees don’t get to play with fans in their own parks. And dealing with the majority of season ticket holders who sit at field level would also be a nightmare. But June 1 is very ambitious too. If baseball gets played in 2020, I’m still willing to accept that the Arizona plan might be the most manageable idea of anything I’ve heard, but it sure would be weird.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know when testing will be a commonality but if it is there’s a good chance life can get back to “normal”. I think as summer approaches people are going to get very restless and will be looking for something to do, some place to go. We’re already starting to see people wanting to get back to their day to day lives and that includes baseball and other sporting venues as well as travel, dining, etc. (I wrote another comment here but it might be deemed too political, anti-whatever or just plane inflammatory so I deleted it). Best to all on Chipalatta.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well I need the MLB fantasy tournament, as we suspected, the Yanks came from 6-1 down to win the 7th game against the Astros in 12 innings.


  6. I don’t want to get political, but it is difficult in these times to not do so. Here is a link to Texas Department of Health. There are 254 counties in Texas with only 84 of them reporting any deaths. Lots of people sick, very few even in hospital and even fewer deaths. I just don’t see how this continues for another month. Hospitals empty and laying off people. People needing heart surgery postponed. It has to come to a halt. About half of Texas deaths are from nursing homes.


      • Seems that Texas, and Texan’s have done a pretty good job as usual. Of course I
        n Texas cities, population density is not as big an issue as many other places. And maybe the milder temperatures have helped too. Regardless, it’s a big state with a lot of people. I was reading an article yesterday about the double hit the state is taking right now, with oil and Covid. Maybe someone should have written about how well the state is dealing with yet another issue. I’m far away but still quite proud.


      • I have no power to delete or hold any comments, daveb.
        Are you talking about the post that is there now about being proud of the Texans?
        I think a number of things help us.
        1) We are spread out
        2) A lot more of us use our own vehicles rather than public transportation (unlike New York)
        3) A lot more of us will follow the rules – I think the folks in other places think they know more than anyone else
        4) It has been warm, but not hot here – not sure if that is doing anything


  7. Old pro – as far as the Yankees vs. Astros – I think half the Yanks were in the Hall of Fame before the Astros were born.
    Game 7 Hall of Fame lineup
    R. Jackson

    The only guy in the starting lineup not in the Hall is A-Rod

    Yes the Astros gave them a go with a little better pitching and a very good lineup.


  8. On the minor leagues, it is so difficult to get a handle on anything that is going on for the Astros:
    -The Astros have a new GM and he has yet to display his method of operation.
    -The draft is not even scheduled yet.
    -We don’t know if there will even be a minor league season.
    -We don’t know what our minor leaguers are doing right now.
    -There is no date set for a rookie free agent signing period.
    -We don’t have a clue what teams the Astros will have in 2021 minor leagues.
    I wasn’t alive for the two World Wars, but I imagine that the minor league situation was just as chaotic then as it is now.
    One thing for sure: Thirty teams are in the exact same situation as the Astros, but are not as used to the chaos as the Astros are because of what they’ve had to face since last December.
    I am optimistic that we have hired a GM that can figure all this stuff out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think it’s all about the money. If no season, then both owners and players will lose money, so both sides have incentive to play some semblance of a season.

    Even if no fans attend a MLB game, teams can make money from the TV rights. Probably not the case for MiLB, so less likely for a MiLB season to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Every time I read one of these “Alignment” theories, I just shudder. 1. Why does there HAVE TO BE 30 teams? 2. Why do they have to be divided into 3 groups? 3. Why does Texas teams that are in the exact middle of the country have to be on the West Coast? 4. Why do you include two Florida teams in the East, but fly over Atlanta to get there? 5. Why separate Detroit and Toronto when they can walk to each other’s ball park? (Same question, why is Atlanta in Central, but Toronto in East?) 6. Why not four divisions? (East and West 8 each and Central 2 groups of 7?) 7. Is this finally when everyone has a DH or nobody does?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The three division system seems practical to me. The Astros are a western division team, so it makes sense for them to be in the West.
    I like the plan Jeff Passan lays out at ESPN, where all the games are played in empty home stadiums for a while. This would be a huge advantage for Houston versus playing anywhere in a hostile environment. And I do truly mean hostile.
    Playing games in major league stadiums that are empty allows teams to have their normal routines, keeps their families close, use their normal broadcast teams, play on their familiar fields, have review systems already in place, and help guarantee a healthier environment for players. TV ratings would be huge.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This goes back to my post from yesterday about Texas Department of Health. Corpus Christi is in Nueces County. Population of 340,000 +/-. Cases to date 99. (0.029%). Deaths 3 (0.00089%). Round Rock is in Williamson County. They have 400,000 with 287 cases with 6 fatalities.

    Now at my age, I would stay home, but it makes no sense to me to cancel the Texas League season for such small numbers. (Just to put it into perspective, did Venezuela cancel their season because Luis Valbuena & Jose Castillo were killed going home from a game? Yes, these are tragic but everyone that Jesus raised from the dead or healed – eventually died.


  13. You know the more I think about the re-start of the MLB the less I care about how it is done, just that it is done. Yes, it would be nice if the Texas teams actually got to play in Texas, but it is not the end of the world if they don’t. It would be nice if the games were in the central time zone, but that is what DVRs are for I guess.
    I just want the real deal to happen somewhere and get to watch something that takes my brain off of the rest of this crap.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m of the same mentality, although I won’t be watching much Astro baseball live if they end up playing all games out west. But regardless, I’ll look at the box score each morning, check the condensed game and have something current to comment on here at Chipalatta for a change!

      By the way 45, I can also envision a full shut down of play if any on field personal turn up positive at any point.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The proposal sounds like a poor man’s version of extended Spring Training to me – without the excitement of a real season or a real championship waiting in the wings. I have zero interest in watching such a silly, hastily-contrived system – it seems to me like just another fiasco dreamt up by the MLB Commissioner’s, who I value about as much as I value any other terrorist organization. But if others want to spend their time and money supporting ‘Quinn the Eskimo’ Manfred, I get it. I’ll just smile and go on with my business.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Well this is today’s quote. Don’t forget to notice “Guarantee Safety.”

    ““Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything,” Fauci told the New York Times. “If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’”


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