EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The El Paso Chihuahuas have received an invitation from the San Diego Padres to remain their Triple-A affiliate. That is the good news, but there is more to the story as the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) landscape has changed significantly.
Last week, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced 120 teams, including the Chihuahuas, have been formally invited to remain affiliates. As part of the new Pro Baseball Agreement (PBA), MLB has cut 40 of its affiliates, a move that has been expected for quite some time as the old PBA was allowed to expire last fall.
Based on movement within social media, most of the clubs who lost their affiliations are expected to continue to operate in some way, shape or form.
As for the 120 clubs who remain affiliates, not all owners are anxious to sign off on the new agreement with MLB. According to a report from The Athletic, “MLB sent a 56-page document to the teams it wants to partner with, outlining the substantive terms of what is to be in the actual 10-year contract, called the Professional Development License, or PDL. Teams have until Dec. 18 to decide whether they’d like to advance to the next step, which is a review of the actual PDL.”
The El Paso Chihuahuas, who are owned by MountainStar Sports Group, released a statement to KTSM on their affiliation invitation from the San Diego Padres saying, “We are pleased to learn that the San Diego Padres invited the El Paso Chihuahuas to continue as their Triple-A affiliate. We are very excited about the possibility of renewing the excellent relationship we have shared since 2014. The Padres’ invitation recognizes the Chihuahuas as being among the very best franchises in Minor League Baseball, Southwest University Park as a state-of-the-art ballpark, and El Paso fans as some of the best in baseball. Since the affiliation in El Paso began, 59 Chihuahuas have subsequently made their major league debut and 52 of those made their debut with the Padres. We look forward to finalizing our affiliation once the overall agreement with Major League Baseball has been formally completed.”
Other Triple-A clubs have released more revealing insight into the PDL. The Tacoma Rainiers, the Seattle Mariners Triple-A affiliate, tweeted their statement saying they, “cannot accept the invitation until we’ve had time to review the deal that will govern our sport, and this relationship, for decades to come.”
For now, it is a waiting game — for what it is worth, it appears the Padres and Chihuahuas will remain affiliates in 2020 and beyond. It remains to be seen how the new PBA will affect the rest of the Pacific Coast League (PCL).
The question now becomes will there be Minor League Baseball this summer after the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19. Again, we will have to wait and see as the sport remains in constant fluidity.