We’ve got some news items to pass along as the major league regular season is in its final week, so let’s get to them.
Baseball America has reported that the Triple-A leagues are going to be using Major League baseballs in games starting in 2019. The new PCL baseballs will come from the same factory as the major league baseballs, and will be made to the same specifications as the big league baseballs.
Up until this year, baseballs used in minor league games were made by a different company. This caused quite a difference. The minor league baseball was more of a “pitchers baseball” and didn’t fly as far when hit as a major league baseball.
Now we will be using the same baseball as the big leagues, although it will be stamped Pacific Coast League and have the signature of league president Branch B. Rickey on it.
Baseball America’s story suggests that we will have substantially higher scoring games in the PCL as a result of this change. We’ll see about that.
Minor League Baseball announced new teams which will participate in the Copa de la Diversion in 2019, and we are pleased to say that the Tacoma Rainiers will be one of them.
The Copa is Minor League Baseball’s latino community outreach program, and it was a big hit in many cities in 2017. Part of the program involves changing the team name during the season for a couple of single games, which brought us some great monikers last year such as the Mariachis de Nueva Mexico, the San Antonio Flying Chanclas, and the Brooklyn Jefes.
We’ll get a lot more information on this as we draw nearer to the season – including the Tacoma Rainiers Copa alter-ego, and the dates we’ll be using it.
The Mariners announced a new Player Development Contract at the Low-A level, linking up with the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League. This affiliate will replace the M’s former Low-A team, the Clinton LumberKings.
The Power play in Charleston West Virginia in the historic “Sally League.” The Mariners have never had an affiliate in that league before.
It’s a two-year deal, lasting through the 2020 season. The Power had previously been affiliated for the last ten seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was the only affiliation change in the Mariners farm system. Here’s how it looks now:
- Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers
- Double-A Arkansas Travelers
- Advanced-A Modesto Nuts
- Low-A West Virginia Power
- Short-Season Everett Aqua Sox
- Rookie Level Peoria-AZL Mariners
- Dominican Summer League Mariners
- Here’s the Minor League Baseball press release on the Copa de la Diversion, including how it fared last year and which new teams are involved. Sports Illustrated ranks the 30 Copa name changes around minor league baseball from last year.
- We have a news story from the Seattle Times on the Mariners new affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
- Yesterday the Mariners opened the season-ending seven-game homestand on a disappointing note: they watched the Oakland A’s celebrate clinching the last AL Wild Card spot… on Sunday Seattle lost its final road game of the season, a 6-1 decision at Texas. Seattle finished the year with a 44-37 record in away games, which is quite good.
- Nelson Cruz told the Seattle Times that while he wants to stay with the team, the Mariners have not offered him a contract extension.
- Cruz wants to re-sign with Seattle, according to his agent, and the Mariners want to re-sign Cruz, according to Jerry Dipoto. Bob Dutton wonders why this hasn’t happened yet.
- Ryan Divish had his weekly Mariners Q&A.
- Felix Hernandez became a U.S. citizen. Congratulations, Felix!