With the end of the minor league season on Labor Day, affiliates and their parent clubs began jockeying for position as they assess the pros and cons of sticking it out or trading up for a fresh location.
In the Marlins' case, they are locked into agreements at low-A Greensboro, N.C., and Class A Jupiter. However, they are still deciding what to do with their top two affiliates: Carolina and Triple-A Albuquerque, as well as short-season Jamestown, N.Y.
"I think there's a small chance it doesn't continue," Mudcats General Manager Joe Kremer said recently from his Zebulon, N.C., office. "It's probably more in their court than it is in ours. We're happy with it, and I think they're happy with it."
While I don't think the Marlins will end their relationship with the Mudcats, it is possible that the Isotopes may not be in the future.
...there have been reports about the Dodgers returning to that minor league franchise for next season. If that happens, the Marlins could switch their Triple-A team to Las Vegas, the Dodgers' current home, or New Orleans, which is expected to lose the Mets.
The Dodgers were in Las Vegas last season, which they are leaving. The Dodgers have a historic relationship with Albuquerque since their Triple-A affiliate was there from 1972 to 2000.
Organizations and their affiliates have until Sept. 11 to let the Commissioner's Office know they would like to consider other options.
A two-week period begins Sept. 16 in which organizations and minor league affiliates can negotiate with anyone they like. Any clubs that have not paired up by Oct. 7 face the risk of an arranged marriage, with the Commissioner's Office presiding.
Should the Marlins leave New Mexico, I would prefer they leave the PCL all together and join the IL. But for that to happen they would have to bribe a team to leave and they are a pretty stingy with cash. The other possibility is that the IL might want to expand by one club -- fat chance.
Assuming the Marlins stay in the PCL, New Orleans sounds like a better option to me. If for no other reason, it's closer.
Probably nothing will come of this, but you never know.