The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have extended their player development contract with the Blue Jays to 2016. The rumors about Ottawa getting an Eastern League team have stopped since Ottawa said it would rather have an independent team, so with that, rumors of the Blue Jays having their AA affiliate in Canada will stop also. The Blue Jays are happy with this arrangement and want it to continue.
The Akron Aeros have changed their name to the Akron RubberDucks. I’m not much of a fan of this name change because it’s a bit too gimmicky for me. I know they wanted to include rubber in there because of its importance to Akron, but teams should not be named after bathtub toys. And turning a two word phrase into one word doesn’t help.
The Padres AAA affiliate in 2014 will be called the El Paso Chihuahuas. While it doesn’t use one the names used in El Paso in the past, I think that it’s a good fit. It has a good mascot and many marketing possibilities that will appeal to kids.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to an affiliation with the Bristol White Sox in the Appalachian League. I assume that the team will be renamed the Bristol Pirates, but that hasn’t been announced yet. I’m not surprised by this since the White Sox also have a Rookie affiliate in the Pioneer League with Great Falls, and I somewhat expect the Royals to give up their Appy League affiliate also.
The Buffalo Bisons have extended their player development contract with the Blue Jays to 2016. I’m not surprised that the Blue Jays are happy with their AAA affiliate so close after being in Las Vegas the previous four years. I do expect that the end of next season the Mets will make a strong push for Rochester or Syracuse which may leave the Twins or Nationals with Las Vegas.
The NY-Penn League has announced that they will be placing a team in Morgantown, WV in 2015. I would expect that this team will become a Pirates affiliate (their current PDC expires after the 2014 season). Also expect that the team that moves will be either Batavia or Jamestown, which have been the subject of rumors for years. There aren’t many new stadiums being built, so it will be nice to have a new one. The main part of the plan is that it will be shared with West Virginia University.