August 25, 2012
By Jason Arndt
Brewers Farm Report
In every even-number year, Major League clubs and it’s minor league affiliates negotiate to continue or end player development contracts with each other.
There are multiple factors related to decisions of extending or ceasing affiliation between Major and Minor League clubs including community amenities, parent clubs dedication to providing affiliates with the best prospects and geographic locations.
The Brewers and its former affiliates made decisions based on those three aspects since 2002 and has led to shakeups in all levels of minor league baseball.
And for Brewers fans worried about our prospects staying with the minor league clubs after ending the agreement, it does not happen.
Major League clubs maintain the contract rights of all players from top to bottom of the system and rosters simply just get switched around.
Helena and Brevard County agree to extend Player Development contracts
The Brewers and two affiliates agreed to extend their relationships in June 2012 after the Helena Brewers and Brevard County Manatees renewed its agreements with Milwaukee.
Wisconsin could likely extend its agreement with the Brewers in the offseason due to the close proximity of both teams and both fan bases have the same fan affiliation with other professional sports leagues.
Aside from those three, that leaves Huntsville and Nashville as the remaining two that will need to extend or discontinue relationships with the Brewers.
Both teams have elected to wait until the winter to negotiate with the Milwaukee Brewers on extending through 2014. There are a variety of factors that go into these two agreements.
The Double A Huntsville Stars presently have the longest current minor league affiliation with the Major League Brewers at 14 years (1999-Present).
Prior to 1999, the Brewers had an agreement with the El Paso Diablos of the Texas League but due to community support in El Paso dwindling the Brewers elected to move on with the Stars.
The Diablos lasted four more seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks before moving to Missouri and becoming the Springfield Cardinals.
2004 was a key year
For 22 years, both teams were geographically close but during the later stages there was an increased amount of pressure on the Beloit Snappers to improve its stadium situation.
With the amount of rain outs in Beloit during the summer months and the Snappers cash strapped due to being designated non-profit, there was little chance they could come up with the finances to build a new stadium.
There were debates and speculation in Rock County about the possibility of moving the team to an area between Janesville and Beloit to receive more community financial support, but there were no significant discussions nor movement in this area.
As the Brewers shopped around for a new Class A team after ending its agreement, they had a desire to make a connection in the Fox Valley area with the Timber Rattlers.
However, at the time the Rattlers had an agreement with the Seattle Mariners and resulted in the Brewers making a decision to work with the West Virginia Power to begin the 2005 season.
In the same year, the Brewers opted to work with Brevard County instead of extending its agreement with High Desert. There were murmurs of issues in the High Desert community there was inadequate housing for its players, among other things.
Milwaukee was on the other side of the fence in its negotiations with the Triple A Indianapolis Indians.
Despite the Indians claiming an International League championship during the affiliation of both teams, there was some restlessness in the Indians’ organization about the Brewers being able to provide top notch prospects to the team.
This was in the midst of the Brewers’ rebuilding effort in the Minor League system and resulted in the Indians fielding a majority of former Major League players instead of “up and comers.”