MiLB Reportedly Agrees to Eliminate 40 Teams in New PBA Proposal

CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 13: An All Star game logo baseball is photographed during the Sonic Automotive Triple-A Baseball All Star Game at BB&T Ballpark on July 13, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images

Minor League Baseball is expected to agree to reducing from 160 to 120 minor league teams in a new Professional Baseball Agreement with Major League Baseball, according to Baseball america’s J.J. Cooper on Tuesday.

MLB and MiLB negotiators are scheduled to have a teleconference call on Wednesday.

Cooper initially reported last October that MLB proposed to move from 160 to 120 minor league clubs beginning in 2021, as the current PBA will expire following the 2020 season.

“MLB’s initial plan last year laid out a ‘Dream League’ for undrafted players as well as summer wood bat leagues for college prospects to replace affiliated ball in many of the cities that were on the chopping block,” Cooper added Tuesday. “MiLB operators raised concerns that those proposals were not financially viable over the long term.”

The replacement idea, per Cooper, is for currently affiliated cities to somehow maintain ties to MLB clubs.

Cooper reported on April 16 that there is “a near-universal acknowledgement” that there might not be a 2020 MiLB season, which was scheduled to begin on April 9 before COVID-19 shut down sports leagues across the world.

On March 31, MLB pledged to provide financial support to minor league players through May 31:

MLB Communications @MLB_PR

The league-wide initiative of financial support for Minor League players has been extended through May 31st. https://t.co/oBKM5JCimC

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Owners and league officials have been discussing for weeks a plan in which minor leaguers would be paid. As @jjcoop36, who first raised this possibility, said, the lower minor leaguers actually will get raises while the veterans will fall short of expected salaries. Still a boon.

However, the Associated Press’ Ronald Blum obtained an email sent by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday announcing the suspension of uniform employee contracts. The move makes it possible to MLB and MiLB clubs to either lay off or reduce pay for managers, coaches, trainers and full-time scouts.