THURSDAY: The organizations have announced a four-year player development contract.
TUESDAY: The Triple-A Round Rock franchise has scheduled a press conference on Thursday night. While there’s still no official word, every indication has been that the Astros will be moving their top affiliate to Round Rock. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart was among those to tweet that the Houston organization will indeed be formalizing an arrangement to bring its highest-level minor-leaguers into the state of Texas.
Previously, of course, both of these outfits had alternative affiliations. The Rangers had utilized Round Rock for eight seasons, but now find themselves among three MLB teams and three Triple-A sites still engaged in match-up negotiations. And the ’Stros had spent four seasons with the Fresno Grizzlies, who are now looking for a new mate.
Though the Astros-Round Rock connection wasn’t inevitable, it certainly long stood out as a strong possibility. The Triple-A outfit is, after all, owned by the Ryan family. Legendary hurler Nolan Ryan, whose nickname on the mound inspired the club’s “Express” moniker, is presently an executive advisor to the Astros. His son, Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan, is another fellow owner of the minor-league club. Both rank high atop the Houston org chart.
Thus, Round Rock CEO Reese Ryan (son of Nolan and brother of Reid) was acknowledging the obvious yesterday when he said an agreement between these organizations was an “absolute no-brainer.” (Via Mark Berman of FOX 26, on Twitter.) Details of the new pact remain to be announced.