For the first time in a decade, Mobile’s minor league baseball team will have a new major league affiliate next season, though BayBears fans won’t have to wait long to find out which team it’ll be.
The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Monday that they had ended their Double-A affiliation with the BayBears — called a “player development contract” in minor league parlance — in favor of a new agreement with the Jackson, Tenn. Generals. Like the BayBears and Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Generals are members of the 10-team Southern League, and won the league championship last week.
For fans, the change means that they’ll see a completely different group of players next season, as players on minor league rosters are signed to the major league affiliate rather than the minor league team.
The Diamondbacks had been the BayBears’ major league affiliate since 2007. Before that, the San Diego Padres had been the team’s affiliate from 1997 through 2006. The BayBears won back-to-back Southern League titles in 2011 and 2012 under the Diamondbacks affiliation.
BayBears officials said on social media that the team plans to announce its new major league affiliate within 24 hours. Other major league teams looking for a Double-A affiliate include the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics. The Detroit Tigers announced Monday that they had extended their agreement with the Erie, Pa. SeaWolves, and the Seattle Mariners (who had been the the Generals’ major league affiliate) are rumored to be signing with the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League.
Meanwhile, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos announced last week that they had extended their player development contract with the Cincinnati Reds through the 2018 season.