The St. Paul Saints have been one of the best nights out in the Twin Cities since moving into CHS Field four years ago, and it appears that Major League Baseball has taken notice.
During the beginning of a negotiation for a Professional Baseball Agreement with minor league clubs, MLB has suggested making the Saints an affiliated minor league team as early as the 2021 season.
The negotiations, which were highlighted by Baseball America on Friday, have already been contentious as MLB would like to have nicer facilities for their future employees to train and play at.
The issue at hand is that many minor league teams don't want to make the renovations necessary to make that happen, leaving MLB to issue a proposal that would cut the number of minor league teams from 160 to 120 prior to the start of the 2021 season.
In addition, MLB wants the minor league affiliates of each team to be more geographically relevant. Obviously, the Saints would fit the bill with the Minnesota Twins being right across the river, but they could be part of an International League that would expand from 14 teams to 20 after spending the first 26 years of their existence in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.
"From the perspective of MLB clubs, our principal goals are upgrading the minor league facilities that we believe have inadequate standards for potential MLB players," MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem said in the report.
"[Also] improving the working conditions for MiLB players, including their compensation, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, providing better geographic affiliations between major league clubs and their affiliates, as well as better geographic lineups of leagues to reduce player travel."
The topic of the Saints becoming an affiliated team has been brought up in the past and prior to the opening of CHS Field, the Twins and Saints actually showed interest in making that happen.
With CHS Field meeting the requirements of an affiliate as high as Double-A, there was a 2014 report from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal that the Saints could possibly replace the Cedar Rapids Kernels as the Twins' Single-A club.
However, the Kernels extended their agreement with the Twins due to logistics concerns such as travel and the Saints' desire to march to their own drum with their patented low prices and crazy promotions.
As of Friday afternoon, a Saints spokesperson told SKOR North's Derek Wetmore that nothing seems to be on their radar with a potential move to affiliated baseball.
“We’re pretty happy with the 27-year history of what we’ve done in this area with independent baseball. The team won the American Association championship this year, and has been named the league’s ‘Organization of the Year’ 5 years running."
"We’re flattered, humbled that St. Paul was mentioned," he added.