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MLB LOOKING TO REDUCE NUMBER OF MINOR LEAGUE AFFILIATES?
Published January 5, 1996
MLB franchises are considering "mandatory across-the-board reductions in minor league affiliates for every organization," according to USA TODAY. Any such action could not take place until after '97, when the agreement between MLB and NAPBL expires. But MLB Dir of Operations Bill Murray said Astros Owner Drayton McLane and the strategic planning committee he heads are "actively investigating" it as a cost-cutting option. At November meetings in Phoenix, MLB GMs floated the idea of limiting each team to four minor league affiliates -- one Rookie League, and one each in A, AA, and AAA. The impact would be heaviest at the A level, where as many as 51 teams could be cut loose. USA TODAY's Rod Beaton notes that would mean a savings of $500,000 to $1M per organization -- the typical price of a utility infielder. Beaton asks, "Are the majors being penny wise and dollar foolish?" (USA TODAY, 1/5). SHUTDOWN BLUES: In New York, Murray Chass examines the effect of the federal government shutdown on baseball with the unfair labor practices charge filed by the union last March still before the NLRB. The NLRB -- with its employees furloughed -- received a proposal from the MLBPA on the terms they want in a settlement, but owners never got the chance to read it and respond. Randy Levine, chief labor negotiator for the owners, said they are "anxious" to resolve the matter without going to trial (N.Y. TIMES, 1/5).