The Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) announced it would not be renewing a player-development contract (PDC) with the Texas Rangers, paving the way for the return of the Houston Astros as the team’s parent.
The Express has been the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers since 2011. The move is not a surprise: There are family ties between the Astros and the Express (Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan is part of the Ryan family that owns the Express via Ryan Sanders Baseball), so a move has been widely expected.
“The relationship that we’ve developed, both professionally and personally, with the Texas Rangers over the last eight years has truly been an honor for our organization,” Express President Chris Almendarez said in a press release.
“From all the managers, coaching staffs and players to grace Dell Diamond, to PCL Division titles and World Series appearances, the Rangers have been a first-class parent club throughout and we’re very thankful for the longstanding partnership,” Express General Manager Tim Jackson said in a press release.
The Express became the Triple-A affiliate of the Rangers in 2011, where the club went on to post a franchise-best 87-57 record en route to capturing the American Southern Division Championship. The team came within a victory of the 2015 Pacific Coast League Championship, finishing with a 78-66 overall record.
In eight total seasons as a Rangers affiliate, the Express posted a 579-560 overall record and saw 43 different players make their Major League debut straight from Round Rock during a stretch in which the Rangers made four playoff appearances, including a trip to the World Series and three American League West Division titles.
After Oakland and Las Vegas signed a new affiliation deal yesterday, there are five open affiliations at Triple-A. The New York Mets purchased the Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) and are expected to shift affiliation there. With the Colorado Springs Sky Sox moving to San Antonio for 2019, it’s expected the Texas Rangers will shift affiliation from Round Rock to San Antonio. Nashville and the Fresno Grizzlies will be seeking new MLB partners from Milwaukee (a former parent of the Nashville Sounds) and Washington.
You can read more about the current state of affiliations on our Affiliate Dance page. We expect a number of player development contracts to be renewed in the coming week, but there are always intriguing openings at every level of baseball. As you can see on the Affiliate Dance page, we’re now at the point where MLB and MiLB teams can search for new affiliation options, so there’s always a shuffle of sorts at the end of the season.