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Drillers affiliation in play?

Tulsa DrillersWe may have another affiliation in play, with Tulsa Drillers (Class AA; Texas League) GM Mike Melega saying the team won’t address its MLB affiliate until after the season — which may mean a change from current parent Colorado Rockies.

The two have a history of announcing player-development contracts before the end of the season during the course of their 12-year relationship. Pushing an announcement until after the end of the season is a departure.

But then again, there may be a new parent on the horizon, suggests the Tulsa World:

Although it’s highly unlikely Baltimore won’t continue its 22-year relationship with nearby Bowie, many of the other major league teams with an expiring Double-A affiliation could find Tulsa more attractive than their present partner.

Last Friday’s development that the Los Angeles Dodgers are moving their Triple-A affiliation from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City, could have a domino effect. It would be ideal for a major league team to have its top two affiliates only about 100 miles apart. Tulsa also is much closer to Los Angeles than the Dodgers’ present Double-A affiliate, Chattanooga, Tennessee. That affiliation expires after this season. The Dodgers could be very interested in Tulsa.

This is, of course, the season for speculation when it comes to affiliations. Changes at the Double-A level are somewhat rare — there were none in 2012 — but some teams do like to cluster affiliates, as the Chicago White Sox have done in North Carolina. Plus, with many changes in the works in Chattanooga, the Dodgers may seem fit to seek a new Double-A home. The distance from Los Angeles is actually immaterial: what matters more is a system that allows players to be efficiently moved around. And if the Rockies do indeed snare Nashville as a new parent, it would make sense for the Rockies to shift to another Tennessee team at the Double-A level.

Here’s a look at the current affiliate status in Minor League Baseball.

RELATED STORIES: Affiliation news: Mets, Astros, 51s, River Bandits


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