It’s official: The New York Yankees are adding the Somerset Patriots and Hudson Valley Renegades while dropping the Trenton Thunder and Staten Island Yankees.
The Pats, who play at TD Ballpark in Bridgewater, will be the Bronx Bombers’ new Double-A affiliate and the Renegades, who play at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, the new Single-A affiliate, Baseball America reported Friday.
Also gone are the Charleston (SC) RiverDogs, a Full-Season-A team.
The Yankees are expected to remain affiliated with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders because they own part of the Triple-A team, according to the report.
The moves, which had recently been rumored, are part of a restructuring throughout major league baseball following the expiration of its Player Development Agreement with the minor leagues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
MLB wanted “reduced travel burden for teams” and smoother transitions through minor league levels.
The Patriots have been an independent, family-owned organization for 22 years, winning the most championships (6) in the Atlantic League and drawing an estimated 7.5 million fans.
The Pats are considered a top-notch organization with an extremely attractive ballpark.
Last week, Patriots co-chairmen Jonathan and Josh Kalafer presented a sculpture in front of TD Bank Ballpark to the team and Somerset County in honor of their father, chairman emeritus Steve Kalafer, and manager emeritus Sparky Lyle, the famed left-handed Yankee reliever.
A more public ceremony will be scheduled when larger crowds can gather again.
The 26-year-old, three-time-champion Renegades, meanwhile, had been the Tampa Bay Rays' Short-Season-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League.
“This truly is a watershed moment for professional baseball and we have a unique opportunity to find common sense solutions which benefit both [m]ajor [l]eague [c]lubs and their [m]inor [l]eague partners,” said Peter B. Freund, who owns the Charleston team and helped guide the transitions.
The futures of the Thunder, RiverDogs and Staten Island Yankees were unclear and likely to become topics at baseball’s winter meetings.
Trenton Thunder owner Joseph Plumeri called the New York Yankees "despicable."
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