The long-term future of the Omaha Royals remains in doubt as the team explores potential new homes for when its lease at Rosenblatt Stadium expires in 2010—the frontrunner appears to be neighboring Sarpy County. However one certainty is that the team will continue its 30-year relationship with the big league Royals.
The club has called a news conference for tomorrow and is expected to announce an extension of its player development contract with Kansas City. Omaha team president will be in attendance and joined by Royals farm director J.J. Picollo. It would seem likely that the topic of the O-Royals future home will be addressed.
The agreement is hardly a surprise and now leaves six Pacific Coast League available. The list includes Memphis—which seems likely to re-up with the Cardinals—and Las Vegas, which has been affiliated with the Dodgers since 2001 and remains the best geographic fit for the big league club despite a deteriorating ballpark.
In other news, the Diamondbacks and high Class A Visalia extended their PDC two years through the 2010 season. Five teams now remain available in the California League—including San Jose, which seems likely to re-sign with the neighboring big league Giants. There is little reason to think the Dodgers would not re-up with Inland Empire, particularly considering two of the three remaining teams (High Desert, Lancaster) play in the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the minors. There is also that whole Cal League-Carolina League shift possibility, but we won’t go into that.
Astros Wrapping Up in Salem
BA correspondent, and Astros beat writer, Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros are looking for a new high A home and would like to remain in the Carolina League—giving a little more credence to that whole Cal League-Carolina League shift possibility, but we won’t go into that. The Red Sox purchased Salem last offseason and are expected to relocate its high A affiliate there from Lancaster. Only two teams remain unsigned in the Carolina League—Lynchburg (Pirates) and Winston-Salem (White Sox).
“Realistically, we’re going to have to go through the process of trying to find another affiliate, preferably in that league,” Astros farm director Ricky Bennett told McTaggart. "We won’t know if one is available until after the season . . . The only other option is the California League, but our first choice is to stay in the (Carolina) League.” . . .
Defenders Deny Report
Double-A Connecticut Defenders owner Lou DiBella denied a BallparkDigest.com report that the team was considering a move to Bowie, with the Baysox in turn moving into the soon-to-be-vacant Richmond market. DiBella told the Norwich Bulletin that the report is false, though he fails to say anywhere in the story that the team is staying put.
The Richmond Times Dispatch reported on Tuesday that a Double-A club may be headed to town, but that it would be bought by a local ownership group headed by Bryan Bostic. I think this is the situation Minor League Baseball would most prefer, as chief operating officer Tim Purpura has expressed a preference to have owners familiar with the local political landscape to run the team.
Things may move quickly once the Braves and the International League release the territory, likely within the coming days.
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