NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – By now, you have probably heard the news that the future of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers is in limbo after a New York Times article said Major League Baseball is trying to overhaul the minor leagues.
According to the New York Times, MLB is proposing cutting ties with 42 minor league franchises, including the Scrappers.
“If that Major League proposal is enacted the way it is now, then it is a devastating blow to this area,” said Scrappers General Manager Jordan Taylor.
According to the Times, the eliminated franchises would have the choice to join a “Dream League,” which would consist of undrafted players with no ties to the Major Leagues, something Taylor says is pretty important, especially with the Scrappers.
“We have had a partnership with the Cleveland Indians since day one — it is incredibly important to be so close to our Major League affiliate. It provides a lot of advantages, most notably, fans getting to see the future of the Cleveland Indians. Over the years, we are over 105 of our players playing in the big leagues,” Taylor said.
One of the big questions is, why these 42 teams? Most are Class A teams and below, but another trend has been coming up — the majority of teams on the chopping block seem to be independently owned instead of being run by a parent team.
“If you’re a Major League owned club or have a stake in there, you probably weren’t on that list. Just in general, I am sure there is a handful of exceptions but generally, that is the case,” Taylor said.
The Times article said the main reason for the proposal is “necessary to make the minor leagues more efficient and to improve conditions and facilities.”
The latter is something the Scrappers have been more than up to snuff with.
“Under two years, it has been over a million and a half dollars put into this stadium from a brand new video board, sound system, to an all new playing surface which I feel is one of the best in Minor League Baseball right now,” Taylor said.
One of Taylor’s biggest fears is if the proposal goes according to plan for MLB, how it will impact the community.
“I mean, you are talking about the hundreds of thousands of fans that visit here too. We employ a few hundred people over the summer. From a charitable component, we are one of the leaders in the New York-Penn League and one of the top in Minor League Baseball right now in annual giving. That would disappear,” he said.
Taylor said we will probably learn more about the proposals and negotiations at the upcoming winter meetings that he is scheduled to attend in a few weeks.
Other than that, he said the Scrappers’ 2020 season will be business as usual.