Minor League Baseball will accept MLB proposal that could cut more than 40 teams, report says

Minor League Baseball is prepared to accept a proposal from Major League Baseball, which includes drastically cutting the number of affiliated minor-league teams, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reports. The proposal is part of negotiations for a new Professional Baseball Agreement and the two sides are set to meet Wednesday.

Here’s more from Cooper:

When MLB and MiLB negotiators convene on a teleconference on Wednesday, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations say MiLB will indicate that it agrees to 120 affiliated teams in a new PBA.

Such a concession by MiLB could be a clear step toward a deal. MiLB has now agreed to find ways to come to agreement on almost all of MLB’s public demands. Now the open question is whether MLB will be willing to accept the concession as a foundation for a potential deal.

According to Cooper, if both leagues agree, it would mean as many as 42 current minor-league teams would be eliminated, with short-season and rookie ball gone. Both sides are working on a potential deal to ensure the majority of the 42 teams would still have baseball, with ties to MLB in a new system that has long-term viability, the report adds.

The coronavirus pandemic has played a part in Minor League Baseball’s apparent shift in stance on the issue, and Cooper notes that now “many MiLB teams are just trying to survive.”

Tuesday afternoon, Minor League Baseball released a statement saying no agreements have been reached regarding contraction.

“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 on Wednesday as we work toward an agreement that best ensures the future of professional baseball throughout the United States and Canada.”

Earlier this month, CBS Sports reported that multiple insiders believed MLB was going to use the coronavirus pandemic to achieve its desired outcome of a new Minor League Baseball reconfiguration. “I absolutely believe MLB is going to use this as their excuse to go forward with their contraction plans,” one source told CBS Sports.

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