“We are delighted to expand our relationship with the Atlantic League, which provides us with a unique means to advance the sport,” said Morgan Sword, MLB executive vice president for baseball economics and operations, in a press release in the press release. “The clubs and players of the Atlantic League have been great partners for us as we together test ways to make our game even more interesting and engaging for the fans.
Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported this morning that MLB has made deals not only with the Atlantic League, but also with other top independent leagues, including the American Association and the Frontier League. Minor league team owners who spoke with Drellich have expressed apprehension that such partnerships could be used as leverage by MLB in ongoing discussions with MiLB over a new professional baseball deal between the two parties.
It’s also possible that some clubs that are cut into the inevitable, high-profile contraction of lower-tier minor leagues could land in the Atlantic League or other newly named “partner leagues”, according to Drellich. A timeline on additional deals with the American Association, Frontier League or other independent circuits is unclear, but the PBA between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball expires next week.