Some of the Brewers’ most interesting prospects are spending this year with the Brevard County Manatees, and thanks to an agreement reached Friday, Brewers prospects will be telling us to Fear The Seacow through 2014.
The Brewers’ Player Development Contract with the Manatees was set to expire at the end of the 2012 season, but the Brewers were able to reach a deal to keep the Manatees as their High-A affiliate. The extension comes two weeks after Milwaukee extended their PDC with rookie-level Helena of the Pioneer League.
There’s still a chance the minor league system could look different next season, though. Deals with Triple-A Nashville and Double-A Huntsville expire at the end of the 2012 season. According to Adam McCalvy, the Brewers are monitoring the stadium situations in both cities before making a decision on extending those affiliations. The Sounds and the Stars play in stadiums that are generally regarded as poor, and poor facilities aren’t good for player development.
If you’re wondering where else the Brewers could look, Minor League Source has a list of every PDC in the minors. In the Pacific Coast League, the Sounds are one of 9 contracts that have yet to be renewed, along with Albuquerque (Dodgers), Fresno (Giants), Iowa (Cubs), Las Vegas (Toronto), Memphis (Cardinals), New Orleans (Marlins), Oklahoma (Houston) and Reno (Diamondbacks). In the International League, Buffalo (Mets), Lehigh Valley (Phillies), Pawtucket (Red Sox) and Rochester (Minnesota) are set to expire.
The Stars are one of 11 AA clubs that have PDCs expiring, and one of 4 in the Southern League. At this point it appears the Stars are more likely to lose the Brewers affiliation than the Sounds are. Other AA options would be Akron (Indians), Binghamton (Mets), New Britain (Twins), Richmond (Giants), Jackson (Mariners), Jacksonville (Marlins), Pensacola (Reds), Arkansas (Angels), Midland (Oakland) and San Antonio (Padres).
While movement is possible, it’s important to remember that other clubs are likely to work something out with their current affiliates for one reason or another. Clubs with affiliates nearby will be less likely to make a change — after all, it’s easier for the Giants to get someone in from Fresno as opposed to Nashville. Still, it’s a situation worth monitoring. The Brewers have been affililiated with Nashville since 2005, and with Huntsville since 1999.