NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The fate of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, as we know them, could be determined today.
Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have a teleconference scheduled for Wednesday, and according to national reports, the two sides have found enough common ground that a decision could come as early as today.
National reports indicate that Minor League Baseball is willing to agree to a proposal that would cut the number of minor league affiliates from 160 teams to 120. The Mahoning Valley Scrappers were among the 40 teams on that leaked list that could be eliminated.
Scrappers general manager Jordan Taylor has learned that some of the teams on that list have changed over the last few months, but the organization does not know if it still includes Mahoning Valley.
Minor League Baseball issued the following statement on Tuesday:
“Recent articles on the negotiations between MiLB and Major League Baseball (MLB) are largely inaccurate. There have been no agreements on contraction or any other issues. MiLB looks forward to continuing the good faith negotiations with MLB tomorrow as we work toward an agreement that best ensures the future of professional baseball throughout the United States and Canada.”
Major League Baseball is looking for improvements in several areas from minor league affiliates, but none more important than player health and safety.
MLB is asking for reduced travel for their players, as well as better amenities, improved playing surface and stadium lighting and clubhouse expansion.
Mahoning Valley has addressed all of those issues with $2 million worth of renovations over the last 18 months. Those improvements were made before this proposal was announced.
For that reason, Taylor believes the Scrappers are uniquely positioned.
Mahoning Valley has added an onsite weight room, a players’ lounge to the clubhouse and redone the playing surface, lighting and sound system within the stadium. Taylor says the team is also willing, and able, to do more.
Taylor says the team has been asked to be patient and is expected to be briefed on the outcome of those negotiations in the next few days. MLB is also working on a model for teams that get eliminated to still have ties to major league baseball, but Taylor says, “Our sole focus is keeping what we have.”