With Nolan Ryan now an owner of the Texas Rangers, it’s widely expected that the Texas Triple-A affiliation will shift to the Round Rock Express from the Oklahoma City RedHawks.
Technically, MLB and MiLB teams cannot be discussing affiliation shifts until the end of the year. And we’re not suggesting that anything formal has been going on here. But with Nolan Ryan now an owner of the Texas Rangers and also an owner of Ryan-Saunders Baseball, which also owns the Express, an affiliation talk is literally a meeting of the mind. Nolan Ryan’s mind.
That would leave the Houston Astros on a search for a Triple-A team. While there are 11 other Triple-A affiliations up at the end of the season, we expect to see most of them re-up; Albuquerque-Dodgers, Sacramento-A’s, Arizona-Reno, Omaha-Royals and Pawtucket-Red Sox are mere formalities. Realistically, there are only a handful of Triple-A markets expected to be open come the middle of September. The most logical destination, of course, is Oklahoma City.
We don’t expect a shift to happen on the Double-A level, though. The Rangers have an excellent relationship with the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League), and shifting that level of affiliation to another Ryan-Saunders team, the Corpus Christi Hooks (Class AA; Texas Leagues) means more travel to a team too far outside the Rangers’ market.
Other markets to watch:
- The Washington Nationals were very interested observers when MiLB deemed Richmond an Eastern League market. We expect the Nats to debate a shift from the Harrisburg Senators to the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
- The natives may be getting restless in Little Rock, as the Arkansas Travelers (Class AA; Texas) may be seeking a new parent after too many 100-loss seasons with players supplied by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
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