Tracking The Affiliation Shuffle

The affiliation shuffle kicked off Sept. 16 and began a two-week period when clubs could negotiate agreements with unattached affiliates. Consider it free agency for minor league teams. Teams had until Sept. 11 to extend deals with their current affiliate or notify their central offices that they will pursue a new affiliation.

Below is a listing of every team’s affiliation status, including when their current player-development contract (the agreement that binds minor and major league teams) expires. Teams with expiring PDCs are marked in bold. Minor league teams owned by their major league affiliate are marked with an asterisk.

Check back here for the latest affiliation updates.

• Sept. 30: So, that’s it. We’re done. Show’s over, folks.

One of the busiest affiliation shuffles in recent years is in the books after 20 minor league teams changed big league partners during the two-week open period. It’s the most turnover since 24 teams changed affiliations in 2006. (We’ll have a complete wrapup later; in the meantime, check out the chart at the bottom of this file for each team’s current affiliation.)

The shuffle officially came to a close Monday when the Carolina Mudcats chose the Braves—the closest thing to a hometown team in the Triangle area—over the Rangers, leaving Texas with no choice but to sign a two-year player-development contract with the High Desert Mavericks (California League).

"That's two very classy organizations," Mudcats owner Steve Bryant said. "They are both really well run and have solid ownership . . . It's a shame that there is not room in the Carolina League for both of them, because they would both be great assets."

The Rangers would certainly second that sentiment. Texas had hoped to stick in the Carolina League after spending the past four seasons in Myrtle Beach. But the Chuck Greenberg-owned Pelicans passed on re-signing with the Rangers to take a spin with the Cubs, which Myrtle Beach officials believe should help lure tourists from the Midwest to Field. Other high Class A options for the Rangers disappeared after the Indians left Carolina for Lynchburg (Carolina), the Reds left Bakersfield (California) to take over the Cubs' spot in Daytona (Florida State) and the Mariners shifted from High Desert to Bakersfield.

That left the Braves and Rangers as the last two teams standing, with the Mudcats as their top choice. Both teams took a tour of Five County Stadium and had extended meetings with Bryant. One week later, Bryant picked the Braves, citing the team's ties to the Triangle as the difference.

The Braves were the Carolina League affiliate of the Durham Bulls from 1980-97—before Durham jumped to the Triple-A International League with the Rays—and Bryant believes locals still hold a soft spot for the team.

"It really boiled down to what would the fans prefer," Bryant said of the decision to sign with the Braves. "They had a long, successful stay here and cultivated a lot of fans in the area. A lot of people will remember pulling for the Braves when they were here in the Triangle."

The delay in a decision from Carolina left some in the industry speculating that Bryant was working out a deal to sell a stake in the Mudcats. That seemed particularly likely considering Atlanta owns its other three full-season minor league teams and recently failed in a bid to buy and relocate the Lynchburg Hillcats. Bryant denied these rumors, saying the teams signed a standard player-development contract, but did admit that the topic came up during discussions with the Braves.

"We talked about the philosophy of major league teams owning their minor league teams," Bryant said. “We just talked in general terms about a lot of different things. But at the end of the day, it's just a standard PDC."

The deal leaves Atlanta's front office breathing a sigh of relief; the Braves have been in the Carolina League since 1980 and a move to the California League would have created a developmental headache since Atlanta's other affiliates are located in the Southeast (Triple-A Gwinnett, Double-A Mississippi, low Class A Rome, short-season Danville).

Atlanta will express its gratitude on Thursday by sending several team dignitaries to Carolina for an introductory press conference. Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox and team president John Schuerholz are expected to join other front-office staffers for the event at Five County Stadium's Cattails Restaurant.

• Sept. 29: After nearly two weeks of weighing their options, the Carolina Mudcats (Carolina League) have chosen the Braves over the Rangers as their new affiliate. An official announcement is expected from Carolina and Atlanta this afternoon, and the Mudcats will hold a press conference Thursday at Five County Stadium—with many Braves dignitaries expected to attend.

The Mudcats’ decision leaves the Rangers and High Desert Mavericks (California) as the final two teams standing in the high Class A affiliation shuffle, a scenario Texas had been hoping to avoid. Texas had spent the past four seasons in the Carolina League with Myrtle Beach, but were forced out after the Pelicans signed a player-development contract with the Cubs. High winds make High Desert one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the minors, and despite recent expanding the home and visitor clubhouses, Mavericks Stadium still lags behind more modern minor league facilities.

• Sept. 22: The Rangers get their chance today to make a pitch for why the Carolina Mudcats (Carolina League) should choose them over the Braves as their new affiliate. It’s a nice situation for the Mudcats to pick between two quality organizations—and a desperate one for the Braves and Rangers. The odd team out gets shipped to the California League to play in High Desert, where high winds, an old ballpark and a remote setting combine for a less-than-ideal player development situation.

Meanwhile, the Northwest League is set for the next two seasons, with the Cubs shifting from Boise to replace the Padres at Eugene’s 5-year-old ballpark located on the University of Oregon campus. The Rockies leave Tri-City for Boise and the Padres end up in Tri-City. In the Midwest League, there has been no word out of Kane County since it lost the Cubs to South Bend. Beloit is the only other unsigned team in the league, and the two sides can choose between the Diamondbacks and A’s.

• Sept. 19: It all comes down to the Mudcats. Now that the Triple-A and Double-A classifications are set for the next two years, the affiliation shuffle spotlight turns to high Class A, where the Braves and Rangers are competing for the final spot in the Carolina League. And that spot belongs to the Carolina Mudcats, whose affiliation with the Indians ended when Cleveland signed a four-year pact with Lynchburg to ensure it didn’t get bounced to the California League.

Carolina’s decision won’t be coming until early next week. The Braves are in town today to tour Five County Stadium and the Rangers will be coming to Zebulon on Monday to do the same. The Mudcats should make up their mind soon after. Atlanta, which has been a part of the Carolina League since 1980, is likely the favorite to stick in Carolina. The Braves have a built-in fan base in North Carolina and previously called nearby Durham home when they were a Bulls affiliate from 1980-97.

The loser will likely end up in Bakersfield, which had been a Reds affiliate for four years before Cincinnati left to replace the Cubs in Daytona (Florida State). High Desert’s affiliation is also up in the California League, but the Mariners will most likely to stay put there.

The Rangers played in Bakersfield from 2005-10 and certainly aren’t eager to go back. Bakersfield’s 73-year-old Sam Lynn Ballpark no longer meets Minor League Baseball facility standards and several plans to replace it have fallen through in recent years. The latest proposal, announced yesterday, calls for the team to relocate to a proposed new $25 million stadium in Salinas, Calif.

Sept. 18: Daytona Cubs (Florida State) and Cincinnati Reds sign four-year player-development contract through 2018.
The first order of business for the Daytona Cubs: change the name. Twenty-two years as Chicago’s affiliate came to an end when the Cubs bolted for Myrtle Beach (Carolina) on the first day of the affiliation shuffle on Tuesday. Daytona found an eager partner in the Reds, who had spent the past four seasons in Bakersfield playing in one of the minors’ worst ballparks. They stuck out Sam Lynn Ballpark thinking a new one was on the way to Bakersfield, but that deal fell through and the Blaze might soon be on their way out of town to Salinas.
The Braves, Rangers and Mariners are left to vie for the three vacant high Class A teams: Bakersfield and fellow California Leaguer High Desert, and the Carolina Mudcats (Carolina). The Rangers spent six seasons in Bakersfield (2005-10) and likely aren’t eager to go back. They’ll be competing with the Braves, who got booted out of Lynchburg after four years and were previously in Myrtle Beach from 1999 to 2010, to land in Carolina.

• Sept. 18: We’re all set in the Pacific Coast League after the Astros inked a two-year player development contract with Fresno, leaving the Brewers and Colorado Springs together.

Fresno had been a Giants affiliate since it joined the PCL in 1998 but was left to look for a new team after San Francisco bolted for Sacramento, the longtime PCL attendance leader that had been an A’s team since its inception in 2000. Sacramento decided that the Giants have a greater name recognition and larger fan base in the Bay Area, and the two sides should be able to partner on some promotions.

The Brewers and Colorado Springs are the spurned teams of this year’s affiliation shuffle—with Milwaukee being left out of Nashville’s move into a new downtown ballpark and the Rockies leaving Colorado Springs for a ballpark upgrade in Albuquerque. Losing the hometown team as an affiliate is a blow to Colorado Springs, which the Sky Sox expressed in a letter to fans on their website.

“The Sky Sox have had a great partnership with the Colorado Rockies for the past 22 years, since their entrance into Major League Baseball in 1993,” the note on the website read. “We are certainly disappointed that the Rockies have decided to end that relationship, but we respect their right to do what they feel is best for their organization and we wish them nothing but the best. As we move forward as an organization, we are incredibly excited about beginning a new chapter in Sky Sox history.”

See the chart at the bottom of this page for every team’s affiliation status.

Sept. 18: South Bend Silver Hawks (Midwest) and Chicago Cubs sign four-year player-development contract through 2018.

Cubs win the affiliation shuffle!

Or at least they’ve made the most headlines after a second significant move in three days. Chicago is leaving Kane County, and the convenience of having its low Class A affiliate an hour away from Wrigley Field, to move to South Bend and its newly renovated ballpark. The four-year deal will give the Cubs some permanency in South Bend after dotting from Peoria to Kane County to South Bend in as many years. It comes two days after Chicago ended its 22-year affiliation with high Class A Daytona (Florida State) to sign with Myrtle Beach (Carolina).

"We are excited to partner with South Bend and look forward to a productive relationship with the team, as well as the entire South Bend community," said Jason McLeod, the Cubs senior vice president, scouting and player development. "Making the decision to switch minor league affiliates is never an easy one, but we are confident that this agreement will further strengthen our farm system."

And the decision to leave Kane County certainly comes as a surprise. Chicago seemed likely to renew its affiliation with the Cougars after Kane County announced earlier this month its plans for several improvements to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, including new batting cages that the team said will be, “built to the Cubs specifications, complete with two hitting tunnels.”

However, South Bend’s renovations apparently trumped Kane County’s in the Cubs’ eyes. South Bend will put down a new grass playing surface to replace its Astroturf field and will add an 11,000 square-foot indoor hitting and pitching facility that will include six lanes for pitchers and hitters. Funded by a roughly $1 million personal investment by South Bend owner Andrew Berlin, the new facility is being built down the right field line this offseason and will also be used for private training sessions.

These improvements follow the roughly $8 million ballpark upgrades in 2010, one year before Berlin purchased the team. The Silver Hawks have since seen attendance spike from 129,599 in 2010 to 258,836 this past season amid promises by Berlin to make it a first-class franchise. Berlin said South Bend will drop Silver Hawks as a name and adopt a new moniker and logo later this offseason.

“Today is a turning point,” Berlin said in a statement. “I made a promise to the local community and government officials who welcomed me with open arms three years ago. I promised that I would return the team to its former glory days. And I promised that I’d do everything I could to bring people back to South Bend and prove that this is a wonderful place to invest in . . .

“Now, one of the best and most beloved brands in the history of Major League Baseball is making a bold statement about this place too. The Chicago Cubs are giving South Bend and this whole region a big vote of confidence.”

The Cubs leave Kane County in a bit of a pickle. Clearly expecting—or at least hoping—to continue with the Cubs, Kane County has few options for next season. Only the A’s (Beloit) and Diamondbacks (South Bend) have yet to sign a PDC for next season.

Sept. 18: Nashville Sounds (Pacific Coast) and Oakland Athletics sign four-year player development contract through 2018.

The Nashville Sounds won’t be bringing the Milwaukee Brewers to their new downtown ballpark. Instead, Nashville decided to end its affiliation with Milwaukee after 10 seasons to sign a four-year player-development contract with the Athletics. Oakland had spent the past 15 years with Sacramento but was forced out after the River Cats opted to affiliate with the Giants.

Nashville clearly is looking to make a bang in its debut season at First Tennessee Park—the $65 million publicly funded ballpark that replaces the team’s longtime home Greer Stadium—and are trumpeting their partnership with the A’s as just that. “Moneyball Comes To Music” read the headline on the team’s website, referring to the best-selling book and Hollywood blockbuster film on Billy Beane and the 2002 draft.

“We are thrilled to begin this new relationship with the A’s, who hold an exciting future on both the major league and minor league levels,” Sounds owner Frank Ward said in a statement. “Oakland has an outstanding track record of success at the Triple-A level. We’re looking forward to watching their next tier of stars develop at our state-of-the-art First Tennessee Park.”

Assuming that the Giants do align with Sacramento, the Brewers and Astros will be the last two teams standing in the PCL with Colorado Springs and Fresno as their possible destinations.

(See the updated chart below for each team’s affiliation status.)

• Sept. 17: The Lynchburg Hillcats (Carolina) and Cleveland Indians sign a four-year player development contract through 2018.

The Indians are on the move after spending just three years with the Carolina Mudcats, a franchise that left the Southern League in 2012 to take Kinston’s spot in the Carolina League. Lynchburg, which had been aligned with the Braves since 2011, was close to selling its stake in the league to Atlanta and relocating to a planned ballpark in Wilmington, N.C. That deal fell apart in November 2012 when Wilmington voters overwhelmingly rejected paying for the proposed $37 million ballpark. The Braves own their other three full-season affiliates and reportedly had still been pursuing a ballpark in Wilmington, though this may be an indication that is no longer the case.

Carolina is now the only unattached team in the Carolina League, and the Braves and Rangers will presumably try and land there. The Braves could also consider Daytona (Florida State), which is just 90 minutes from Atlanta’s spring training base in Kissimmee and available after the Cubs left town for Myrtle Beach. Also open are California League franchises Bakersfield (Reds) and High Desert (Mariners).

The Rangers played in Bakersfield from 2005-10 and likely are not itching to go back. They left in frustration after Bakersfield owner D.G. Elmore’s repeated attempts to replace the Blaze’s dilapidated Sam Lynn Ballpark failed. High Desert is only slightly more appealing. Mavericks owner Dave Heller has made several improvements to the ballpark, but there is little he can do to tame the winds that make Mavericks Stadium one of the most hitter-friendly venues in the minors.

• [UPDATE] Sept. 17: The Double-A landscape appears set after a busy second day of the affiliation shuffle resulted in three of the four teams seeking a new affiliate getting their wish. The Tulsa Drillers (Texas) arguably had the most to offer, primarily a new downtown ballpark that ranked second in the Texas League in attendance, and they came out on top by signing a two-year deal with the Dodgers. The agreement ends the Drillers’ 10-year affiliation with the Rockies and the Dodgers’ six-year stay in Chattanooga (Southern). It also marks the first change in the Texas League since San Antonio signed on with the Padres in 2007.

The Twins are taking the Dodgers’ spot in Chattanooga, signing a four-year PDC with the Lookouts, after ending their 20-year stay in New Britain (Eastern). And the Rockies and Rock Cats should create a plethora of promotional opportunities next season in New Britain after the two sides inked a two-year PDC. Mobile (Southern) and the Diamondbacks will end up together again by default, which is what happened when they sought a new affiliation two years ago.

[UPDATE] • Sept. 17: Oklahoma City announced both its new affiliation with the Dodgers and the sale of the franchise to minority owner Peter Guber (CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group), other principals with Mandalay and the Dodgers. Mandalay Baseball had owned the RedHawks for the past five years but was forced to sell the team along with its four other franchises after Seaport Capital, the New York-based private equity firm that invested in Mandalay in 2002, decided last year to sell its majority stake in the company.

"I am thrilled to be partnering with the Dodgers in the Oklahoma City franchise and am looking forward to an exciting future for the enterprise," Guber said in a press release.

Sept. 17: The first day of the affiliation shuffle proved relatively quiet, with only the Cubs making news by moving its high Class A cub from  Daytona (Florida State) to Myrtle Beach (Carolina). Today, however, promises to be a bit more busy.

Several deals are expected to be announced today, including two involving the Dodgers. The Tulsa Drillers (Texas), a Rockies affiliate for the past 10 years, have called a press conference for this afternoon to announce that the Dodgers are coming to town. The Twins, meanwhile, are leaving New Britain (Eastern) to move into Dodgers’ former home in Chattanooga (Southern). That leaves the Rockies and Diamondbacks to choose between Mobile (Southern), where Arizona has played since 2007, and New Britain, which had been a Twins affiliate since 1995.

Tulsa was certainly the most attractive of the available Double-A teams because of its 5-year-old downtown ballpark that attracted 403,732 fans this season, and the Drillers landed the most high-profile major league team available in the Dodgers. Like the Cubs in Myrtle Beach, the Dodgers brand should give the Drillers a boost at the gate.

“I appreciate all the Dodgers did for us over six years,” Chattanooga owner Frank Burke told the Times Free Press. “They brought us some great memories with Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw and Scott Van Slyke, but now I’m looking forward to starting a relationship with another major league team.

“This is the start of a new chapter for us.”

The Dodgers will kick off a new era at the Triple-A level today as well. Los Angeles is expected to announce this afternoon that it is leaving Albuquerque (Pacific Coast) for Oklahoma City (Pacific Coast). That deal comes in advance of Dodgers minority owner Peter Guber purchasing the Oklahoma City franchise from Mandalay Baseball, a division of the Mandalay Entertainment Group that Guber runs.

Oklahoma City, which had been with the Astros the past four years, is the first of six available PCL teams to land a new affiliate. The Dodgers move had been rumored in recent weeks along with reports that the Giants are leaving Fresno for Sacramento and the A’s will from Sacramento to a new downtown ballpark in Nashville. The Denver Post reports today that the Rockies are leaving Colorado Springs after 21 years  for Albuquerque. The Isotopes will have a press conference this afternoon to announce the move, the Post reports. That would leave the Brewers and Astros to vie for Colorado Springs and Fresno (see the chart below for a list of all available affiliates).

• Sept. 16: Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Carolina) and Chicago Cubs agree to two-year player-development contract through 2016.

The first big splash of the affiliation shuffle has been made by the Chicago Cubs, though not necessarily in the pool most people expected. The Cubs announced this afternoon on Twitter that they have left their high Class A home of the past 22 years in Daytona (Florida State) to ink an agreement with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Chuck Greenberg-owned Carolina League franchise that spent the past four years as a Rangers affiliate. The announcement comes before the Cubs finalized where their low Class A team will spend the next two years, a deal that is expected to impact the shape of the Midwest League.

Landing the Cubs is certainly a coup for Myrtle Beach, which believes the team’s national brand will be a draw even in a market 1,000 miles outside of the Windy City.

“The opportunity to partner with the Cubs in a market driven by tourism from the Midwest and Northeast offered an incredible upside for us from a marketing and a baseball standpoint,” Pelicans general manager Andy Milovich said this afternoon. “The Cubs are one of a handful of national brands and have a following as passionate and engaged as anyone. As the team on the major league level continues to improve and compete for a championship, I think that interest and enthusiasm will continue to grow. We’re excited to be a part of it.”

And the Cubs are apparently excited to be a part of the Carolina League. Their biggest knock against Daytona has been the weather. The D-Cubs have had 33 games rained out over the past three seasons—second-most in the Florida State League behind Lakeland (34). Myrtle Beach offers the Cubs a chance to play in a more stable environment and at a ballpark that has been greatly improved since Greenberg bought the team in 2006. Myrtle Beach set a franchise record for average attendance in 2014 at 3,652—up from 3,370 in 2013.

“We believe we’re doing some great things and taking some great strides forward, and we feel that the Cubs are one more piece of that puzzle,” Milovich said.

The Cubs certainly aren’t done. The Myrtle Beach announcement came a few hours after Chicago extended its Triple-A affiliation with Iowa (Pacific Coast) two years through 2018. The Cubs still need to decide if they are going to renew with low Class A Kane County (Midwest) or test the waters with South Bend or Fort Wayne, and replace their short-season team in Boise (Northwest). Meanwhile, losing the Cubs is certainly a blow to Daytona, which not only needs to find a new affiliate, but presumably a new name as well this offseason.

Greenberg’s fallout with the Rangers in March 2011 likely had less to do with the decision to drop them as an affiliate than the opportunity to align with the Cubs.  Greenberg organized the ownership that included Nolan Ryan and purchased the Rangers out of bankruptcy court in August 2010. He dropped the Braves as Myrtle Beach’s affiliate that September and brought in the Rangers only to be forced out of his position as Texas’ CEO in March after a clash of management styles with team president Nolan Ryan. Ryan has since left the Rangers as well and now serves as a special assistant to his son, Astros president Reid Ryan.

Greenberg has praised the Rangers as an affiliate and the partnership has worked well for both sides over the past few years, with Myrtle Beach getting a steady flow of prospects and winning teams from the Rangers and Texas playing in one of the better facilities in the league. Myrtle Beach should continue to get prospects and a spike in attendance with the Cubs,  but the Rangers will be left to pick from Carolina and Lynchburg if they hope to stay in the Carolina League. Otherwise, their options include a pair of less-desirable ballparks in the California League—wind-blown High Desert and Bakersfield’s run-down Sam Lynn Ballpark—or the Cubs’ former home in Daytona.

• Sept. 16: Iowa Cubs (Pacific Coast) and Chicago Cubs extend affiliation two years through 2018. Chicago still has to settle two affiliations for next season, but first it decided to lock up its Triple-A deal with Iowa for four more years. Even though the player-development contract wasn’t set to expire for another two years, the two sides opted to get an early start on extending a partnership that began in 1981.

Since teams will often settle multiple affiliations in one swoop, perhaps this is an indicator that the Cubs are ready to address their expired PDCs with high Class A Daytona (Florida State) and low Class A Kane County (Midwest).  A move out of Daytona—which remarkably has had 33 rainouts over the past three seasons, second only to Lakeland’s 34 in the FSL—appears possible. However, observers expect Chicago to sign back up with Kane County, particularly since the suburban-Chicago team is doing several ballpark upgrades aimed at pleasing the Cubs.

• Sept. 15: A total of 23 minor league teams will explore a new affiliation when the two-week open period of the affiliation shuffle begins tomorrow, according to a source familiar with the process. Those teams are as follows (with current major league affiliate listed in parenthesis):

  • TRIPLE-A: PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE: Albuquerque Isotopes (Dodgers), Colorado Springs (Rockies), Fresno Grizzlies (Giants), Nashville Sounds (Brewers), Oklahoma City RedHawks (Astros), Sacramento River Cats (Athletics).
  • DOUBLE-A: EASTERN LEAGUE: New Britain Rock Cats (Twins). SOUTHERN LEAGUE: Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers), Mobile BayBears (Diamondbacks). TEXAS LEAGUE: Tulsa Drillers (Rockies).
  • HIGH CLASS A: CALIFORNIA LEAGUE: Bakersfield Blaze (Reds), High Desert Mavericks (Mariners). CAROLINA LEAGUE: Carolina Mudcats (Indians), Lynchburg Hillcats (Braves), Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Rangers). FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE: Daytona Cubs (Cubs).
  • LOW CLASS A: MIDWEST LEAGUE: Beloit Snappers (Athletics), Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres), Kane County Cougars (Cubs), South Bend Silver Hawks (Diamondbacks).
  • SHORT-SEASON: NORTHWEST LEAGUE: Boise Hawks (Cubs), Eugene Emeralds (Padres), Tri-City Dust Devils (Rockies).

If a team neither applied for a new affiliation nor extended its current PDC by the Sept. 11 deadline, then its current agreement was automatically extended for two years.

There will be no shortage of activity this offseason, with six teams likely changing places in the Pacific Coast League. The most surprising of those is Colorado Springs, which has been partners with the Rockies since 1993. Any fallout between the two sides might be over Security Service Field. Rockies ownership has stated its desire to play in a modern ballpark and Sky Sox owner Dave Elmore did pursue a new stadium as part of a downtown revitalization before the project was scrapped by city officials late last year.

According to several reports this season, Sacramento is prepared to end its 14-year affiliation with the A’s to bring the Giants to town; the Dodgers will leave Albuquerque for Oklahoma City now that Dodgers minority owner Peter Guber is pursuing purchasing the RedHawks; and Nashville will ditch the Brewers for the A’s when it moves into a new downtown ballpark next season. If those prove true, the Brewers, Astros and Rockies will be vying for Albuquerque, Colorado Springs and Fresno.

In the Midwest League, any movement hinges on whether the Cubs sign back up with Kane County, their affiliate the past two seasons. That seemed like a done deal two weeks ago when Kane County announced plans for a significant ballpark renovation, which includes two indoor batting tunnels built to the Cubs’ specifications, an expanded weight room and state-of-the-art video room. However, the Cubs didn’t bite and let their affiliation expire to the surprise of most league observers. “It puts people in a tough spot,” one Midwest League team official said earlier this month.

The possibility of aligning with the Cubs is too much for South Bend (which has its own ballpark renovation project in the works) and Fort Wayne. If the Cubs do end up renewing their deal with Kane County, then Fort Wayne and South Bend will probably follow suit with the Padres and Diamondbacks, leaving Beloit and the Athletics together for another two years.

See the chart below for every team’s affiliation status and check back here over the next two weeks to see who ends up where during the affiliation shuffle.

• Sept. 12: Midland RockHounds (Texas) and Oakland Athletics extend affiliation two years through 2016. The two teams have been together since 1999 and the RockHounds do a fine job creating a baseball atmosphere in a football-mad part of West Texas (Midland neighbors Odessa, where “Friday Night Lights” was based). The signing leaves Tulsa (Rockies) as the only unsigned Texas League team.

• Sept. 12: Modesto Nuts (California) and Colorado Rockies extend affiliation two years through 2016. That the Rockies are staying in Modesto certainly is not a surprise, but that they did not also renew affiliations with Triple-A Colorado Springs (Pacific Coast) and Double-A Tulsa (Texas) is interesting. It is hard to imagine that the Rockies won’t re-up with Sky Sox because of the easy commute to Colorado Springs. However, Rockies officials have expressed their desire for a more modern ballpark for their Triple-A affiliate, and Colorado Springs’ efforts to land a new downtown stadium fell flat earlier this year. A modern ballpark is what the Rockies have in Tulsa—ONEOK Field was built in 2010 and drew the second-most fans this season in the Texas League—so it is likely the Drillers who are pursuing a new seeking a new affiliate, not Colorado.

• Sept. 11: Fort Myers Miracle (Florida State) and Minnesota Twins extend affiliation four years through 2018. Two days after the Miracle won the Florida State League title they strike a new four-year pact with the Twins. It’s been an eventful for year in Fort Myers, on and off the field, with the Goldklang Group selling the team after 24 years of ownership.

• Sept. 10: Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern) and San Francisco Giants extend affiliation two years through 2016. If the Squirrels can lead the Eastern League in attendance while playing in the circuit’s second-oldest ballpark, imagine what they would do if that long-awaited downtown stadium was ever built.

• Sept. 9: Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn) and Oakland A’s extend affiliation two years through 2016. Significant renovations to Centennial Field has brought the oldest ballpark in the minors up to code.

• Sept. 9: Potomac Nationals (Carolina) and Washington Nationals extend affiliation two years through 2016. The two sides have gotten along much better since Potomac upgraded the playing field—the Nationals skipped both Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper past Potomac because of swamp-like conditions in the outfield. Now it’s just a matter of Potomac closing the deal on a new stadium a few miles north on I-95.

• Sept. 9: West Virginia Power (South Atlantic) and Pittsburgh Pirates extend affiliation four years through 2018. Pittsburgh has a monopoly on the state of West Virginia. With their New York-Penn League affiliate relocating from Jamestown to Morgantown, the Bucs will now have two teams within two hours of each other.

Sept. 4: Norfolk Tides (International) and Baltimore Orioles extend affiliation four years through 2018. Though the extension was expected—the two sides have been together since 2007 and Tides owner Ken Young also runs Orioles affiliates in Bowie (Eastern) and Frederick (Carolina)—the length of the agreement shows how much both teams value having a local affiliation. The IL is now set for the next two seasons—Pawtucket and the Red Sox will ultimately remain together—and we’ll have to wait until Sept. 16 to see how the Pacific Coast League soap opera plays out.

• Sept. 3: San Antonio Missions (Texas) and San Diego Padres extend affiliation two years through 2016. Unless Midland (Athletics) or Tulsa (Rockies) make a change, the Texas League will extend its streak of stability to eight years. No team has changed affiliates since San Antonio in 2007.

Sept. 3: El Paso Chihuahuas (Pacific) extend affiliation with San Diego Padres two years through 2016. The deal leaves six teams in the PCL unsigned, with only Colorado Springs (Rockies) expected to renew its current affiliation. The Chihuahuas had a big debut season in El Paso after spending the past three years in Tucson. El Paso sold out 48 of 67 home games and ranked fourth in the PCL in attendance despite playing their first four home dates back in Tucson while construction was completed on its new ballpark.

Sept. 1: Durham Bulls (International) extend affiliation with Tampa Bay Rays four years through 2018. The deal leaves just two IL teams unsigned—Norolk (Orioles) and Pawtucket (Red Sox)—each of whom has a long-standing relationship with its big league affiliate and is expected to sign a new PDC. The same certainly can’t be said about the PCL, where five of the eight teams with expiring PDCs are expected to find new big league partners.

Sept. 1: Ogden Raptors (Pioneer) extend affiliation with Los Angeles Dodgers two years through 2016. Tommy Lasorda was in Ogden on Monday and made the announcement to fans at Lindquist Field. Los Angeles still has four full-season affiliates with expiring PDCs, including Triple-A Albuquerque (PCL, which is rumored to be leaving for Oklahoma City), Double-A Chattanooga (Southern), high Class A Rancho Cucamonga (California) and low Class A Great Lakes (Midwest).

Aug. 30: Williamsport CrossCutters (New York-Penn) extend affiliation with Philadelphia Phillies two years through 2016.

Aug. 29: Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn) and Houston Astros extend affiliation two years through 2016.

Aug. 29: Hagerstown Suns (South Atlantic) extend affiliation with Washington Nationals two years through 2016.

Aug. 29: Lake County Captains (Midwest) extend affiliation with Cleveland Indians two years through 2016.

Aug. 29: Batavia Muckdogs (New York-Penn) extend affiliation with Miami Marlins two years through 2016.

Minor League Team Major League Affiliate PDC Expiration
Buffalo Bisons  Blue Jays 2016
Charlotte Knights  White Sox 2018
Columbus Clippers  Indians 2016
Durham Bulls  Rays 2018
Gwinnett Braves  Braves *N/A
Indianapolis Indians  Pirates 2016
Lehigh Valley IronPigs  Phillies 2016
Louisville Bats  Reds 2016
Norfolk Tides  Orioles 2018
Pawtucket Red Sox Red Sox 2016
Rochester Red Wings  Twins 2016
Scranton/WB RailRiders  Yankees 2018
Syracuse Chiefs  Nationals 2018
Toledo Mud Hens Tigers 2016
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Albuquerque Isotopes  Dodgers Rockies 2018
Colorado Springs SkySox  Rockies Brewers
El Paso Chihuahuas  Padres 2016
Fresno Grizzlies  Giants Astros 2016
Iowa Cubs  Cubs 2016
Las Vegas 51s  Mets 2016
Memphis Redbirds  Cardinals 2016
Nashville Sounds  Brewers Athletics 2018
New Orleans Zephyrs Marlins 2016
Oklahoma City RedHawks  Astros Dodgers
Omaha Storm Chasers  Royals 2016
Reno Aces Diamondbacks 2016
Round Rock Express  Rangers 2016
Sacramento River Cats  Athletics Giants 2014
Salt Lake Bees  Angels 2016
Tacoma Rainiers  Mariners 2016
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Akron RubberDucks  Indians 2016
Altoona Curve  Pirates 2018
Binghamton Mets  Mets 2018
Bowie Baysox  Orioles 2014
Erie SeaWolves  Tigers 2016
Harrisburg Senators Nationals 2018
New Britain Rock Cats  Twins Rockies 2016
New Hampshire Fisher Cats  Blue Jays 2016
Portland Sea Dogs  Red Sox 2018
Reading Fightin Phils  Phillies *N/A
Richmond Flying Squirrels  Giants 2016
Trenton Thunder  Yankees 2022
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Birmingham Barons  White Sox 2018
Chattanooga Lookouts  Dodgers Twins
Huntsville/Biloxi Stars  Brewers 2018
Jackson Generals  Mariners 2016
Jacksonville Suns  Marlins 2016
Mississippi Braves  Braves *N/A
Mobile BayBears  Diamondbacks 2016
Montgomery Biscuits  Rays 2018
Pensacola Blue Wahoos  Reds 2016
Tennessee Smokies  Cubs 2018
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Arkansas Travelers  Angels 2016
Corpus Christi Hooks  Astros 2016
Frisco RoughRiders  Rangers 2016
Midland RockHounds  Athletics 2016
Northwest Arkansas Travelers  Royals 2016
San Antonio Missions  Padres 2016
Springfield Cardinals  Cardinals *N/A
Tulsa Drillers  Rockies Dodgers N/A
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Bakersfield Blaze  Reds Mariners 2016
High Desert Mavericks  Mariners Rangers 2014
Inland Empire 66ers  Angels 2016
Lake Elsinore Storm  Padres 2016
Lancaster JetHawks  Astros 2016
Modesto Nuts  Rockies 2016
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes  Dodgers 2016
San Jose Giants  Giants *N/A
Stockton Ports  Athletics 2016
Visalia Rawhide Diamondbacks 2016
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Carolina Mudcats  Indians Braves
Frederick Keys  Orioles 2016
Lynchburg Hillcats  Braves Indians 2018
Myrtle Beach Pelicans  Rangers Cubs 2016
Potomac Nationals  Nationals 2016
Salem Red Sox Red Sox 2018
Wilmington Blue Rocks  Royals 2016
Winston-Salem Dash  White Sox *N/A
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Bradenton Marauders  Pirates *N/A
Brevard County Manatees  Brewers 2016
Charlotte Stone Crabs  Rays 2016
Clearwater Threshers  Phillies *N/A
Daytona Cubs  Cubs Reds 2018
Dunedin Blue Jays  Blue Jays *N/A
Fort Myers Miracle  Twins 2018
Jupiter Hammerheads  Marlins *N/A
Lakeland Flying Tigers  Tigers *N/A
Palm Beach Cardinals  Cardinals *N/A
St. Lucie Mets  Mets *N/A
Tampa Yankees  Yankees *N/A
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Beloit Snappers  Athletics 2016
Bowling Green Hot Rods  Rays 2016
Burlington Bees  Angels 2016
Cedar Rapids Kernels  Twins 2016
Clinton LumberKings  Mariners 2016
Dayton Dragons  Reds 2016
Fort Wayne Tincaps  Padres 2016
Great Lakes Loons  Dodgers 2016
Kane County Cougars  Cubs Diamondbacks
Lake County Captains  Indians 2016
Lansing Lugnuts  Blue Jays 2016
Peoria Chiefs  Cardinals 2020
Quad Cities River Bandits  Astros 2016
South Bend Silver Hawks  Diamondbacks Cubs 2018
West Michigan Whitecaps Tigers 2018
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Brewers 2016
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Asheville Tourists  Rockies 2016
Augusta GreenJackets  Giants 2016
Charleston Riverdogs  Yankees 2016
Delmarva Shorebirds  Orioles 2016
Greensboro Grasshoppers  Marlins 2016
Greenville Drive  Red Sox 2016
Hagerstown Suns  Nationals 2016
Hickory Crawdads  Rangers 2018
Kannapolis Intimidators  White Sox 2018
Lakewood BlueClaws  Phillies 2016
Lexington Legends  Royals 2018
Rome Braves  Braves *N/A
Savannah Sand Gnats  Mets 2016
West Virginia Power  Pirates 2018
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Aberdeen IronBirds  Orioles 2016
Auburn Doubledays  Nationals 2016
Batavia Muckdogs  Marlins 2016
Brooklyn Cyclones  Mets *N/A
Connecticut Tigers  Tigers 2018
Hudson Valley Renegades  Rays 2016
Jamestown Jammers  Pirates 2016
Lowell Spinners  Red Sox 2016
Mahoning Valley Scrappers  Indians 2016
State College Spikes  Cardinals 2016
^ Staten Island Yankees  Yankees N/A
Tri-City ValleyCats  Astros 2016
Vermont Lake Monsters  Athletics 2016
Williamsport CrossCutters Phillies 2016
^ required to affiliate with Yankees
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Boise Hawks  Cubs Rockies TBA
Eugene Emeralds  Padres Cubs 2016
Everett AquaSox  Mariners 2016
Hillsboro Hops  Diamondbacks 2016
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes  Giants 2016
Spokane Indians  Rangers 2016
Tri-City Dust Devils  Rockies Padres 2016
Vancouver Canadians  Blue Jays 2016
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Bluefield Blue Jays  Blue Jays 2016
Bristol Pirates  Pirates *N/A
Burlington Royals  Royals 2018
Danville Braves  Braves *N/A
Elizabethton Twins  Twins *N/A
Greeneville Astros  Astros *N/A
Johnson City Cardinals  Cardinals *N/A
Kingsport Mets  Mets *N/A
Princeton Rays  Rays 2016
Pulaski Yankees  Yankees 2016
Minor League Team Major League Team Expiration
Billings Mustangs  Reds 2016
Grand Junction Rockies  Rockies *N/A
Great Falls Voyagers  White Sox 2018
Helena Brewers  Brewers 2018
Idaho Falls Chukars  Royals 2016
Missoula Osprey  Diamondbacks 2020
Ogden Raptors  Dodgers 2016
Orem Owlz  Angels 2016
Note: Teams with expiring player development contracts are marked in bold
* Teams owned by their major league affiliate are designated with an asterisk