The Cincinnati Reds and Pensacola Blue Wahoos have not renewed their player development contract for the 2019 season. We knew that nearly two weeks ago. There’s nothing stopping the two sides from renewing the contract for the next two seasons. But Pensacola’s ownership wants to see what else is out there. They, not the Cincinnati Reds, were the ones that wanted to explore other options.

On Thursday afternoon, Bill Vilona of the Pensacola News Journal published an article detailing some of the things that the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are looking for as they talk to other Major League organizations. According to the article the Reds “were stunned” when they were notified that Pensacola wanted to see what else was out there. There are five teams looking for Double-A affiliates this offseason. The Reds, the Twins, the Padres, the Cubs, and the Athletics. It sounds as though Oakland isn’t really being considered by Pensacola unless they wind up as the only option available. Nor are the Cubs. The Blue Wahoos have met with the other three options to discuss things.

Pensacola has new facilities. It’s in a good league where there aren’t environmental issues that effect the player development. From a developmental standpoint – Pensacola’s got all that you are looking for. They are probably going to have their pick of which organization they want, and not the other way around.

Most of what is spoken of in the Pensacola News Journal article revolves around being marketed better from the big league club. And being more involved in and with events that has the big league club doing things in Pensacola. While the Reds have had multiple of the “Futures Games” where they visit an affiliate and play against a group of their minor leaguers, Pensacola had a tough-luck situation where rain cost them their opportunity. The teams showed up, and they took the field for introductions and the national anthem. But before any baseball was played the game was canceled.

At the time, there was talk of trying to get the game to be played again the following year. That never happened. While this isn’t specifically stated in the “wants” within the article, it seems like it’s something that Pensacola is interested in having happen. They would like to be included in more events from their Major League affiliate during the offseason. Having player appearances and events. The Reds Caravan, for example, travels all over “Reds Country” and has events for fans with local Reds on Radio affiliates. Pensacola isn’t exactly in that territory as they don’t have a Reds on Radio affiliate there. But this kind of stop would seem like something that the Blue Wahoos would be looking for – to be included in something like this. Something that helps them generate buzz. Brings their fans out to an event.

It’s possible that the Reds can work with Pensacola on these kinds of things and the two could come to an agreement moving forward. But if they can’t the options are limited. Chattanooga, where the Reds were for 21 years between 1988-2008 would be the best fit. Tennessee, which is located in Kodak, would be a solid fit as well. They, however, are rumored to be re-signing with the Cubs. It’s not official yet. And the Reds probably have their ear if they want it, as the company that owns the Tennessee Smokies is the same company that is contracted out to run the operations for the Cincinnati Reds owned Greeneville Reds. Amarillo will be playing their first season in 2019. They are in the Texas League. Midland would be the other option in the Texas League. Neither would be an ideal option for Cincinnati.

Assuming that the Reds would be out of Pensacola, one of the two teams in Tennessee would be ideal for a few reasons. First, would be proximity. They are closer to both Cincinnati and Louisville. From a logistical standpoint, that would be quite beneficial by comparison to Amarillo. Toss in that they are also much closer to Daytona, too, and it’s just an added bonus. Tennessee is also considered to be “Reds Country”. The Reds are on television in the area, and you can listen to the games on the radio. From a marketing standpoint, having a team affiliated in the area has to help the big league club’s foothold in the market. Toss in that they also now own the team in Greeneville – a short drive to Kodak, and a not too long drive to Chattanooga, and you could probably do some creative marketing ideas with either situation.

From a minor league coverage standpoint, having the team in Tennessee would be beneficial from the standpoint that it’s an easier commute. With that said, Chattanooga is currently not on MiLBtv. And that stinks. The Tennessee Smokies are a part of the MiLBtv platform. Amarillo is an unknown at this point since they’ve never played before. It’s also not going to be a short drive to make, and means that there’s not a good chance of “double dipping” on a trip to pick up another affiliate along the way.  All of this paragraph, however, is simply worrying about how these moves would come into play for me. And that’s not overly important.

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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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