Royals Corner Market On Burlingtons

The Royals will add a team in the Rookie-level Appalachian League next season, taking over the Burlington, N.C., franchise from the Indians.

Burlington team president Miles Wolff announced the affiliation switch yesterday. "We are delighted to welcome the Royals to Burlington," Wolff said in a press release. "We know that with Dayton Moore as general manager, Kansas City will be a fantastic partner with a strong commitment to player development."

The renamed Burlington Royals will retain the same local management company that has operated the club since its entry into the league in 1986. General manager Mark Cryan also will stay on.

"Any time you make a change, you're happy if they're excited to have you--that it's not just inertia," Cryan said. "We've met Dayton Moore a bunch of times--he might have seen Danville more here than in Danville over the years--and of course his reputation in the game outstanding."

New Royals farm director J.J. Picollo, who like Moore came up through the Braves organization, said the organization will now have seven affiliates, rather than the six that most organizations operate with. The Braves had seven affiliates for years, until budget concerns forced them to drop to six.

"We're going to be aggressive with the international market, and of course with the draft, and we feel like it will be a good situation for us to have three Rookie-level teams," Picollo said. "We're happy things worked out the way they did."

The Indians had been looking to get out of the Appy League after adding a team in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate this spring. Cleveland did not send any of its top 2006 high school draftees to Burlington until the final days of the season. Lefthander Ryan Morris (fourth round) and righthander Chris Archer (fifth) both attended North Carolina high schools but pitched in just one game each for Burlington. Catcher Robert Alcombrack (seventh) appeared in just three Appy League games.

The Royals operated teams in the Arizona and Pioneer (Idaho Falls) leagues this season. Their affiliation with Idaho Falls expires after the season, but they can negotiate to extend the player-development contract.