Cal League affiliation change in the making

A surprising move by the Seattle Mariners. The team acquired a 51% stake in the Modesto Nuts, now the Advanced A team of the Colorado Rockies. The Mariners on their turn are Modesto Nuts logoaffiliated with the Bakersfield Blaze, which is currently leading the California League North Division.

The reason behind this move is that the Mariners want to have a favorable development spot on the West Coast.

As the M’s have no interest in running the franchise, the minority owners, Michael Savit and HWS Baseball will keep running the business, so nothing much changes for the Nuts fans.

This move doesn’t clarify the change in the affiliation landscape of the California League completely. But by tomorrow, more should be clear as the city council of Fayetteville will vote on a ballpark plan that could bring an A Advanced team of the Houston Astros to the East Coast. A local news paper has leaked some terms for a new Fayetteville ballpark lease.

  • The Astros would guarantee the city 30 years of lease payments, and the city is promised a minor league team during the lease.
  • The Astros would pay the city $250,000 in annual stadium rent for the first five years. The rent would increase over the remaining 25 years.
  • The Astros would commit to not sell the new team within the first seven years.
  • The city and the Astros would share the costs for major repairs or renovations during the 30-year period.

The lease does not make clear how Fayetteville wants to finance the construction of the $35 million stadium.

Even though the Astros are now affiliated with the Lancaster JetHawks, it seems very unlikely that this team will be moved to the Carolina League as it is one of the better drawing teams, attendance wise. Now the Bakersfield Blaze is up to grabs, it is  to be expected that the Astros will shift affiliations and sign a PDC with the team (or perhaps buy the team) and move them to the East Coast. If the Astros stay with the JetHawks and move them to Fayetteville, don’t be surprised if the owners of the Blaze will move to Lancaster.

Next to the Astros, the Texas Rangers are also looking to bring an A Advanced team to the Carolina League and since they are the parent club of the High Desert Mavericks, it starts to look like that the fate of that club is sealed. The Rangers have struck a deal with the city of Kinston where they agreed on a stadium lease of Granger Stadium, former home of the Kinston Indians).

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