Well… after the post yesterday where I gave up on Organized Baseball, who knew that it’d be the Boston Red Sox who may have started the dominos that could bring the Carolina League (high-A level ball) to Richmond in 2009?
The Red Sox have purchased the Carolina League’s Salem (VA) franchise and are taking it over in 2009 — moving their high-A players from Lancaster (California). Because of the geographical imbalance of Major League Baseball, there really isn’t a team to take the affiliation, so the California League is talking about giving up two franchises (Bakersfield and High Desert [Adelanto, CA]) where the cities can’t afford to maintain the ballparks. The rest of that rumor has the two franchises being sold to the Carolina League, which wants to place them in Richmond and Fayetteville (NC).
The Carolina League, right now (note that player development agreements — affiliation deals — expire at the end of even-numbered seasons, so some contracts are not renewed yet):
- Wilmington, DE (Royals)
- Frederick, MD (Orioles)
- Prince William County [Potomac], VA (Nationals)
- Lynchburg, VA (Pirates in ’08, open in ’09)
- Salem, VA (Astros in ’08, Red Sox in ’09)
- Winston-Salem, NC (White Sox in ’08, open in ’09)
- Kinston, NC (Indians)
- Myrtle Beach, SC (Braves)
Richmond and Fayetteville certainly fit the geographic profile.
So if this comes off, who’d be the parent club? The Astros, Pirates, and White Sox are certainly possibilities. The two targeted Cal League clubs belong to the Rangers (which would come East) and Mariners (which most likely would take over for the Red Sox in Lancaster). The third high-A league, the Florida State League, is fairly stable — only one club has an affiliation agreement expiring in 2008 (Ft. Myers, affiliated with the Twins).
Most likely, the Pirates and White Sox will remain where they are. The Astros, Rangers, and Twins would shake out among Ft. Myers, Richmond, and Fayetteville. With the Rangers being odd team out, they’d be most likely to settle in with one of the new franchises. The Astros would get the other. There’s no way to know which one it’d be.
But right now, the eyes of Texas baseball may be looking toward Richmond.
It probably wouldn’t be long-term, but it’d be baseball on a level that might just fit the fanbase in Richmond.
At least until we get a new ballpark, which could aim for the 2011 season, and whatever Triple-A franchise becomes available at that point. 🙂