It appears the Milwaukee Brewers are once again going to be on the search for a new Triple-A affiliate.
It’s time to play everyone’s favorite game, musical chairs! But this year, chairs are randomly going to be taken out and new ones are going to be put in while the music is playing and no one is entirely certain what is going on. That’s what this minor league realignment is going to look like for the Brewers and other teams this winter.
According to a report out of San Antonio, the Missions, who have been the Crew’s Triple-A affiliate the last two years, will be dropping back down to Double-A, where they had been for seasons prior.
With the formerly independent Sugar Land Skeeters and St. Paul Saints looking like they’ll be joining the ranks of Triple-A affiliated ball, that means two current Triple-A teams have to drop from that level. San Antonio, being the newest to Triple-A, was one of those teams that had to drop.
When it comes to Double-A, the Brewers have a great relationship with the ownership group in Biloxi and it’s difficult to see a path where the Brewers choose San Antonio over Biloxi for Double-A going forward.
For Triple-A, the Brewers currently don’t have an affiliate and will need to find one. Here are their known options.
Round Rock Express
The Astros previously held Round Rock but will leave for Sugar Land as mentioned above. Round Rock has a great stadium and is a wonderful Triple-A franchise, but will the the Brewers want their Triple-A team down in Texas again?
What could happen is the Texas Rangers, the former longtime affiliate of Round Rock, could jump back in after spending a few years up in Nashville. The Rangers’ current agreement with Nashville technically runs through 2022, but with the whole MiLB realignment going on, it’s been rumored that teams might be able to leave those contracts.
If Texas is able to, that would open another spot.
One of the Brewers previous Triple-A teams is Nashville, having spent a decade there (2005-2014) not too long ago. But once the Sounds got their new stadium, they left the Brewers hanging and that ended up getting them stuck out in Colorado Springs for four years before Colorado Springs moved to San Antonio.
There’s some bad blood on both sides with the way things went down back in 2014 and it remains to be seen if they could bury the hatchet and work together again. The Brewers may have extra incentive to because of their other option.
The Fresno Grizzlies are like the kid that is last to get picked to play kickball on the playground. And even when they’re the last one standing there, both teams are like “we’re good, let’s play”.
Absolutely no one wants to go here. The Nationals got stuck out here last time because they lost Musical Chairs, and if they stay Triple-A, they’ll be last to get picked again.
There’s been rumors that Fresno might drop down to the Class-A California League, which would probably be best for everyone. But if that doesn’t happen, someone is going to have to go out here.
The Marlins Triple-A team, Wichita, is also dropping down to Double-A. Jacksonville, their current Double-A affiliate is jumping to Triple-A.
Where Will The Brewers Go?
If Fresno drops down and no one else leaves their current affiliate, that would leave the Brewers and the Round Rock Express as the only teams left without a partner.
Round Rock is mildly closer to Milwaukee, sitting just north of Austin and about an hour and a half drive northeast of San Antonio. It may not be the most ideal partner in terms of geographic proximity to Milwaukee, but when it comes to the stadium and the facilities, Round Rock is one of the best.
The closest Triple-A teams to Milwaukee geographically are Iowa and Indianapolis. Iowa has a long-term partnership with the Cubs and Indianapolis has been with the Pirates since 2005. It’s doubtful the Pirates would leave, especially after Rochester was snatched up by the Nationals.
Unless something changes with an unexpected affiliate partnership ending, it’s looking like the Brewers’ new Triple-A home will be in Round Rock.
Nothing is official yet between these two sides, but if everything remains as expected, they could pair up for the next couple years.