ValleyCats expect news on MLB affiliation within next week

Team says it has heard "nothing definitive" on future

Photo of Mark Singelais

After waiting for a year, the Tri-City ValleyCats are close to knowing their fate.

“We’ll hear something over the next week,” team president Rick Murphy texted Wednesday, regarding whether the ValleyCats will remain an affiliated minor-league baseball team.

Baseball America reported Major League Baseball has notified MiLB teams they will be informed “around the first week of December” regarding their selection as part of the 120 affiliated teams that will comprise the minor leagues in 2021.

MLB is reducing the minors from 160 teams to 120. The ValleyCats have spent the past 18 seasons as the New York-Penn League affiliate of the Houston Astros.

ValleyCats general manager Matt Callahan said the team has heard “nothing definitive” about its future.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer has called various MLB teams about partnering with the ValleyCats, according to Schumer spokesperson Allison Biasotti.

The Baseball America story says MLB will present a contract — the Professional Development License — to individual MiLB owners. If an owner chooses to not sign the PDL, MLB would likely move to a team left outside the 120 to fill the spot.

The NYPL will cease to exist as a short-season affiliated league. Some NYPL teams that are left out will join a summer amateur wooden-bat league, though Callahan said they ValleyCats prefer to remain professional. They could join an independent league.

Baseball America reported there will be a new Class A Mid-Atlantic League that will include Brooklyn and Hudson Valley, formerly members of the NYPL. It remains to be seen if the ValleyCats will be a part of it.