The Yankees unveiled major changes to their farm system on Saturday, a result of Major League Baseball’s takeover and subsequent contraction of the minor leagues.
The overall number of minor-league teams is decreasing from 160 to 120 — four per franchise, plus two complex-based teams.
For the Yankees, who had 10 minor-league teams in recent years, restructuring means dumping a pair of longtime local partners in the Trenton Thunder, who had been the Double-A affiliate, and the Staten Island Yankees, who played in short-season Class A, a level of the minors that no longer will exist.
Here is what the Yankees’ minor-league hierarchy will look like starting with the 2021 season:
- Triple-A: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (same)
- Double-A: Somerset (big promotion from the independent Atlantic League)
- High Class A: Hudson Valley (promotion from short-season Class A Rays affiliate)
- Low Class A: Tampa (demotion from Advanced Class A)
"Restructuring our minor-league affiliations — especially with the additions of Somerset and Hudson Valley — gives us greater continuity to streamline and improve the development of our minor-league system," general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. "The relationships we have formed with all of our teams will allow for a more consistent application of training with similarly aligned facilities in terms of structure, quality and ease of travel. We are confident that these changes will greatly benefit our players and Yankees fans for many years to come."
The Yankees said in a news release that they left Trenton and Staten Island because the facilities aren’t good enough.
"We thank the great city of Trenton and the Thunder owners for 18 years of collaboration and we wish them well, but this decision was made strictly on the basis of what we believe to be the best facility to develop our young players," the Yankees said.
"The Yankees carefully considered hosting their High Single-A affiliate in Staten Island. However, as the number of our minor-league affiliates have been limited, we did not have the confidence that the organization could continue to allow us to develop our players in the best possible way, especially since the team would have to transition into a full-season Single-A affiliate."
Trenton and Staten Island are invited to join the Atlantic League.
The Yankees are dropping the Charleston (South Carolina) RiverDogs and the Pulaski (Virginia) Yankees. Like other clubs, they will keep their complex-based Gulf Coast League and Dominican Summer League teams, which don’t count against the four-per-franchise total.