Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about and the Phillies’ surprise hiring of Dave Dombrowski as their president of baseball operations, then (15:04) bring on Baseball America executive editor J.J. Cooper to talk about the ongoing overhaul of the minor leagues, the history of the relationship between the majors and minors, why MLB sought to consolidate its control over amateur ball and the minor leagues, the impact of the pandemic, the pending improvements in conditions for minor leaguers, the virtues of amateur ball versus affiliated ball, minor league owners as sympathetic figures, how the 120 affiliated teams were determined, efficiency vs. access to the sport, and whether baseball will be better or worse off in the long run.
- Interview with J.J. Cooper
- History of affiliated baseball and MLB-MiLB agreements
- How MLB teams and ownership groups feel about the changes
- What will the minor leagues look like?
- Will fans notice a difference in quality of play
- Is media portrayal of the situation accurate?
- COVID impact on minor league team finances
- Perception of minor league team owners
- MLB team ownership stakes in minor league teams
- How MLB selected which teams to invite
- Future path for teams not receiving invites
- What these changes got right
- Facility upgrades
- Will baseball be healthier for these changes?
The Strokes, "Under Control"
- Ben and Meg introduce their main topic for the episode, the overhaul of the minor leagues. MLB has sent "invitations" to 120 teams to be a continued part of the minor leagues affiliated with MLB teams. Meg notes that MLB needs a "Doofus intervention specialist" to stop the usage of terms like 'invitations' in situations like this.
- Dave Dombroswki was hired by the Phillies as their President of Baseball Operations. This move puzzles both Ben and Meg, who note his team building strategy does not sync up with the current position of the Phillies (discussed in Episode 1626) and actions of their ownership.
- J.J. notes that there is disagreement among MLB teams on whether these changes are good or not. For ownership groups that want to limit spending, having MLB cap the number of affiliates is a good thing because it limits the potential for an 'arms race' among team affiliates.
- For minor league baseball J.J. says that the operator (marketing, ballpark, etc). is more important for most fans than the quality of play on the field.
- Areas that are losing their minor league teams must sign away their right to sue if they agree to have MLB help place a new team in the area. The Staten Island Yankees have refused to do this and are suing the Yankees and MLB
- Effectively Wild Episode 1628: What MLB's Remaking of the Minors Means
- Compendium of J.J.’s coverage
- J.J. on the 120 teams announcement
- Evan Drellich on the 120 teams announcement
- J.J. on how the 120 teams were chosen
- J.J. on what’s next for excluded teams
- J.J. on expanded player limits
- J.J. on the Staten Island Yankees lawsuit
- J.J. on the new amateur leagues
- J.J. on the origins of short-season ball
- J.J. on minor league player expenses
- J.J. on minor league facility upgrades
- Baseball America podcast
- Preorder the Baseball America 2021 Prospect Handbook