The Cincinnati Reds and Bakersfield Blaze player development contract expired at the end of the season. The Reds had been in Bakersfield for the last four years, having signed two two-year deals with the team. Today begins a two-week stretch where MLB organizations and minor league franchises play “Let’s Make a Deal” and affiliations will shift through the minor leagues. Deals can be made at any point in the two weeks. Only the Reds Advanced-A club is moving for the 2015 season (unless the Reds wind up in Bakersfield again).

The Options

There are six five four Advanced-A clubs that are seeking a new home. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans signed with the Chicago Cubs on the first day available and in the last hour (Wednesday at 1:30pm) the Lynchburg Hillcats were taken off of the market. They are listed below:

Team Last affiliate League
Bakersfield Blaze Cincinnati Reds California League
Carolina Mudcats Cleveland Indians Carolina League
Daytona Cubs Chicago Cubs Florida State League
High Desert Mavericks Seattle Mariners California League
Lyncburg Hillcats Atlanta Braves Carolina League
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Texas Rangers Carolina League

From a development standpoint the Reds have to prefer to field a team in the Carolina League. The California League has two openings and is full of very hitter friendly ballparks (for various reasons) and generally speaking have very low attendance numbers. It’s also on the opposite end of the country from their Low-A and Double-A teams. The Florida State League has just one opening and is the opposite of the California League in the sense that the entire league is full of pitcher friendly ballparks. Like the California League though, attendance is very low. It does fit the east coast side of things in terms of moving players up and down though, making it easier on the team. The Carolina League has three of the six openings. The league fits in well for the location on the east coast. The league is much more neutral in how it plays as a whole as well.

The Reds current ownership group has been affiliated with three of the teams available (Bakersfield, Lynchburg and Carolina), so there is some familiarity to be had there in terms of what the clubs have to offer in terms of facilities. I can say that I’ve not heard much good about High Desert at all and we know that Bakersfield is a mess between their facilities not being up to Minor League Baseball standards to the lack of fan support.

My take

For my own selfish reasons, I just want to see the team move to this side of the country so I can drive there and make a trip to see the team play. I’d also prefer the Carolina League to the Florida State League simply because the playing environment is on a more even playing field. I’d like to see the team avoid the California League if at all possible. Between the travel, facilities, incredibly hitting friendly environments and late night start times along with my inability to make a trip out there work, I am being selfish some in saying to stay out of that league.

The other thing that makes me hope for the Carolina League more than the other two is that they have two teams in the league with MiLB.tv.

Do you have a preferred option?

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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