Could the Cincinnati Reds be adding a new affiliate in the Appalachian League? According to Baseball America’s Josh Norris that certainly sounds like the case.

Speaking with a source, if this goes through – and it sounds like it will, though not official yet – this will not replace the Billings Mustangs. The Reds and Mustangs professional development contract currently runs through 2018. The two have been partners since 1974, easily the longest among any of the Reds farm teams. The Astros had nine teams in their farm system, but after 2017 decided to go back to eight and dropped their Greenveville affiliate in the Appalachian League. The Reds currently have eight teams, including two Dominican Summer League teams. If this does go through, then they would move to nine minor league teams, seven of them being stateside.  It would give them two “advanced” rookie level teams to go along with the Arizona League Reds at the complex level.

The benefits would be instantaneous for the organization. Currently there is a bit of a crunch when it comes to playing time for some guys, especially at the rookie level. Finding at-bats and even innings pitched could be solved a bit with the addition of a new team. That’s going to provide additional chances for development of players that otherwise may not happen. The New York Yankees, for example, have TEN minor league affiliates. They have two Dominican Summer League teams, two Gulf Coast League rookie teams and two more “advanced rookie/short-season A-ball” teams to go along with the four full season teams. That amount of playing time available has to be beneficial for the organization and the players.

If the Reds are able to pick up the new affiliate in Greeneville it would be a stop between the Arizona League Reds and the Billings Mustangs according to a source that I spoke with. That would leave the chain to the big leagues like this:

  1. Dominican Summer League (Reds and Rojos)
  2. Arizona League Reds
  3. Greeneville (name to be changed since they were the Astros)
  4. Billings Mustangs
  5. Dayton Dragons
  6. Daytona Tortugas
  7. Pensacola Blue Wahoos
  8. Louisville Bats

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