Tired of fielding losing squads, management of the State College Spikes (short season A; NY-Penn League) say they're ready to dump their affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
You normally don't see such frank talk when it comes to player-development contracts and affiliation deals, but Spikes GM Jason Dambach was pretty blunt about his unhappiness with the squads sent his way by the Bucs:
"We're not one of these ownership groups that demands a winner every single year, but we haven't even put playoff tickets on sale," Dambach told the Altoona Mirror. "We've never really even come close to the playoffs.
"So the mandate has been put out there. We didn't have a good team last year, and so it really doesn't make any sense to re-sign with the Pirates until September, if we are to do that."
This is the time of year when teams on both the Major League and Minor League sides are looking at their affiliation deals for the next two years. Here's a look at the current affiliate status. Many player-development contracts end at the end of the year, and while most will end up being renewed, some won't, leading to a shuffle of affiliates for the 2013 season.
What goes into choosing an affiliate? For a Minor League Baseball team, there are a number of issues: whether or not a parent supplies a winning team -- or at least a competitive one; whether a parent sends a player down for a rehab assignment; and how well the parent works with the affiliate on promotions like MLB giveaways and offseason caravans. Some MLB organizations have a stellar reputation for communications with their MiLB affiliates; some barely make any effort at all. As one MiLB team owner told us last week, sometimes the decision comes down to intangibles -- like how well you're being treated versus the economic rewards of staying with an existing parent.
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