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. 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, Cooper adds.

The decision is a drastic shift in Minor League Baseball’s stance, Cooper writes:

MiLB’s willingness to agree to 120 affiliated teams is a dramatic indication of just how much has changed in a few months. Before the novel coronavirus shut down all sports, MiLB was waging a public relations and political campaign to try to get MLB to agree to more than 120 teams.

Now, many MiLB teams are just trying to survive. Several MiLB teams have had to layoff or furlough significant numbers of staffers because the current season is suspended with no clear start date in sight.

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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