Saturday, February 11, 2012

Doin' the affiliation shuffle?

The Twins have made no secret this offseason of their concern about their Triple A affiliation with the Rochester Red Wings. They like having their top minor league affiliate there for a variety of reasons, but the Wings are free agents after the 2012 season, and the Twins have not provided them with sufficient talent to win in recent years.

Which is why the Twins imported Gene Glynn (Waseca and MSU hero) to manage in Rochester, and why they've signed umpteen minor league free agents. It isn't just about winning here, it's about winning there too.

The Double A affilation, it appears, may also be in jeopardy. The Twins have been affiliated since 1995 with the New Britain (Conn.) RockCats in the Eastern League. That's where Chris Parmelee and Joe Benson played last season before their September call-ups and where Liam Hendriks spent most of 2011 as well.

Follow these complexities: The New York Mets' longtime Eastern League affiliate, the Binghamton Mets, are reportedly about to be sold and the franchise moved to Ottawa, Canada. Once in Ottawa, the idea is that they will affiliate with the Toronto Blue Jays, the major league team of choice in the Canadian capital. That makes sense.

The Mets would be without a Double A affiliate. Both ESPN New York and Newsday have reported in recent days that they would align with New Britain; Newsday notes that New Britain is actually an hour's drive closer to New York than Binghamton.

The Twins, under this scenario, would wind up connected to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Manchester, N.H. I've no idea if that would be seen as a better or worse affiliation for the Twins.

But at least it would keep the Twins affiliated with a Something Cats.


  1. The Twins are one of the few organizations that has their AAA and AA teams so far away from their MLB base. This does not help player development or movement. Ideally they will have their AAA team some place in the Midwest and would be part of the PCL (like KC-Omaha, Cubs-Des Moines). Infrastructure is a problem, since most of the available ballparks in the area are Northwoods League ballparks and would not cut it in a Rookie league...

  2. Then what would happen to the Jays AAA affiliate in Vegas? If nothing else, it would provide Twins fans with the chance to see their AAA team more than in the International League.

  3. Interesting post, Edward. When I was at the Rock Cats hot stove event a few weeks ago, Bill Smith repeatedly praised the virtues of the affiliation in New Britain, and in no uncertain terms indicated that, at least from the Twins' standpoint, they were thrilled with what was happening in AA (he did not give the same indication with respect to Rochester).

    Not that I take as gospel what Bill Smith says to Rock Cats fans in a hotel ballroom, but it would be a little surprising to see the Rock Cats and the Twins separate.

  4. I won't be at all surprised if the Twins move their low-A affiliation out of Beloit, too. There are several Midwest League affiliations expiring after 2012 so there will be a few options.

  5. Interesting, JimCrikket. One thing I've been wondering about for the past couple of years is why St. Paul continually seeks bonding for a Lowertown stadium serving an unaffiliated minor league team when, to my mind, it makes more sense to try to place a Twins-affiliated Midwest League team there.