Red Sox Minor Leagues: Affiliate is facing elimination under MLB proposal

Major League Baseball is looking for ways to reallocate money and sadly the Boston Red Sox may lose one of their key affiliates in the process.

Everyone is trying to find ways to save more money these days and the sports world is no different. As we all know the Red Sox are doing their best to try and shave money from the payroll to reset their CBT penalty ahead of 2020. Major League Baseball as an entity is also trying to find ways to keep more in the bank account and their new proposal will directly affect Boston.

In the new proposal put forth by the MLB, the organization will be attempting to cut ties with several minor league affiliates, 42 to be exact, in order to save money. Though they haven’t said it’s a direct way to save money, their reasoning is to restructure how the money is spent in order to improve the conditions of other minor league facilities.

As far as the Red Sox are concerned, they would be losing their ties to the Lowell Spinners. Now, there may be some of you out there that hear that name and move right past it. I fully understand that as we all know there is a ridiculous amount of layers to the minor league system. The Spinners are in the New York Penn League and actually made it to the Championship Series this past season.

Lowell has seen some of the top players in Red Sox history come through the clubhouse. Mookie Betts and Brandon Workman are a pair on the current team. While Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, and Jacoby Ellsbury have all tasted World Series glory after spending time with the Spinners. Though they’re in the Class-A Short Season League the team has a proven track record for talent.

Losing the Spinners from the lineup may just be a blip on the radar in the grand scheme but it would hurt in the long run. Baseball is in a rare breed where there are multiple layers you must stop at before you are truly considered a professional.

I fully believe that if you’re in the minors you’re a professional and should be paid as such, but that’s not reality. Yeah, you have the guys that cruise through the systems but the case is more often than not a player gets stuck in MiLB purgatory.

The benefit of having so many layers to the onion is that it gives players plenty of time to hone their craft and develop. We’ve all seen it where a guy is assigned to a level that he’s clearly not ready for.

Then there’s the situation where a player may be a starter but would be better as a reliever. Having the opportunity to spend time at different levels of the minors gives a player the time to work with the coaches to become a better asset to the big club.

If the proposal goes through and the 42 teams are no longer affiliated with their MLB counterparts, this can only hurt the game at the top level. Yes, we may see some improvements to higher-ranked MiLB organizations, but it’s not worth losing another layer for talent to develop within.

I attended a Greenville Drive (Red Sox Class-A affiliate) game this summer and the experience was top notch. The field, as well as the park as a whole, were in pristine condition and the game itself was fantastic.

I can only imagine what the team could do if they were given a bigger budget to work with but I’m not sure if I’m willing to find out at the cost of another team. As things are lining up right now the elimination of the teams on the MLB’s list could take effect after 2021.

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The Red Sox have one of their strongest crops of talent in franchise history at the moment. From top to bottom the lineup is filled with guys that spent time in their minor league system. Losing one of those affiliates could only have negative ramifications as now the players will have fewer places to work on their skills.