Considering the Texas Rangers explored a purchase of the Oklahoma City RedHawks (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and Reid Ryan now is president of the Houston Astros, it's no surprise the two MLB teams will likely flip affiliations beginning next year.
Reid Ryan and his family own the Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), a farm team to the Texas Rangers -- an affiliation made when Nolan Ryan worked in the Texas Rangers front office. But Nolan is now a consultant to the Astros, and there are plenty of ties between the Astros and Ryan-Sanders Baseball, including a sale of the Corpus Christi Hooks (Class AA; Texas League) from Ryan-Sanders to the Astros, with the Ryan-Sanders management team left in place.
So it's no surprise that many, including a writer with the Austin American-Statesman, are speculating that the Express will shift affiliation back to the Astros in 2014, when the Astros' current affiliation with the RedHawks expires. The Rangers and the Express have an affiliation deal through 2016 2018, but player-development deals can be broken if both sides agree. And it would be a shocker if both sides didn't agree to end early, paving the way for an Astros/Express reunion.
Ending early, of course, was one factor into the Rangers looking at a purchase of the RedHawks from Mandalay Baseball Properties. We've been told the Rangers walked away because of the asking price -- over $20 million -- but the desire to control a Triple-A team was obviously felt by the Rangers front office.
Technically, we're a little early to be discussing new affiliations: MiLB is pretty strict about not letting teams open discussions on new affiliations when current ones are still in place. You can expect to see lots of news about renewals during the course of the season.
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