The Nashville Sounds, Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, issued a statement announcing that they’ve discussed with Major League Baseball the possibility of hosting a league for unsigned big league players this year:
The Nashville Sounds Baseball Club has had discussions with Major League Baseball about the possibility of hosting games that would consist of free agents competing against each other at First Horizon Park this summer. We continue to have meaningful discussions with baseball officials and local health officials with hopes of baseball in Nashville in 2020.
Sounds general manager Adam Nuse tells Chris Harris of WSMV News 4 in Nashville that the hope is to host a 40-game season in compliance with Phase Four of the “Roadmap for Reopening Nashville.” Notably, unlike Major League Baseball, that would allow the Sounds to sell tickets and bring their stadium to 25 percent capacity. Phase Four of the city’s plan cannot commence until July 20 at the earliest. Under the scenario being discussed, the Sounds would hope to sign 40-plus players and field two teams that would play against each other. Players would report seven to ten days prior to the launch of Phase Four, hoping that the league would hit its target date for the launch of the next phase.
It’s an interesting concept — one that hearkens back to the unofficial Spring Training camp for free agents prior to the 2018 season. The list of unsigned players isn’t currently as widespread as it was in that frigid offseason when the MLBPA organized that setup, but as noted today when exploring the upcoming lift of the transaction freeze, there are still plenty of recognizable names without teams. Others could yet surface when the freeze lifts, as several veterans on minor league deals could opt out with their current clubs or simply be cut loose. The Sounds might not even end up being the only minor league club to take such measures. Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic report that MLB is expecting other clubs to explore similar endeavors.
The plan bears some similarity to independent ball, although if the Sounds succeed in luring enough former big leaguers or out-of-work upper-minors players, the quality of competition could be superior to that on the indie circuit. And while the money for players wouldn’t be overly enticing — The Athletic’s Jayson Stark tweeted that they’d be paid $400 per week — the league could serve as an extended showcase to allow teamless players to eventually find their way back onto a big league roster. Injuries will still pop up throughout the MLB season, and struggling players will be cut loose and replaced by taxi-squad players. Those taxi-squad spots would need to be back-filled.
It’s unclear at this point where MLB stands on the concept, but the Sounds seem committed to the idea regardless. Nuse tell Harris that the team is hopeful of cooperating with Major League Baseball but is currently planning to stage the league with or without the league’s cooperation.
I’m curious if anyone knows if MLB’s antitrust exemption has any impact to this and the Sounds decision to move forward with or without MLB’s support.
I’m not too familiar with these rules, but why does the MLB have to approve anything? Aside from the stadium use, seems like players that aren’t employed by the MLB would not be subject to their ruling and can play whatever baseball they want
I feel like the hang up is that the Sounds could do that in theory if they wanted to, but MLB’s exercise of the antitrust exemption would mean that the Sounds are no longer a part of the Pacific Coast League…
They have a relationship with the Rangers. No one knows what those provisions state. That said, for the Sound to say they’re going ahead with or without MLB’s cooperation, they’re apparently not worried. My guess if there’s anything relevant, the pandemic has made those provisions unenforceable.
I figure that the Sounds can present a case that if MLB doesn’t approve and get something there, the Independent leagues can step in without any issues.
it woulf have to be a PA thing id imagine.
Interesting. It would be kind of cool to see how it would turn out.
This is dumb
They could technically do it with players not currently signed to minor or major league teams. Although affiliated with the Rangers, they are owned independently.
Right. It’d operate very similarly to an independent league — presumably down to MLB teams paying a fee to purchase one of their players.
BIG SEXY LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
wild bill tetley
Brilliant idea, and this helps Nashville make a case as either an expansion franchise or a destination for a current ailing franchise. Make it happen.
Exactly what I was thinking. Nashville wouldn’t just be showcasing talent, they would be showcasing their city and stadium as an expansion site. Makes a lot of sense to add 2 of Nashville, Las Vegas, San Antonio, OKC, Charlotte, etc. and go to an 8 division, 4 team concept like the NFL with expanded playoffs.
Selfishly, as a Texas guy, I would love to have divisions separated by time zone, so that all of the Rangers and Astros road games aren’t on the west coast. (which means one has to watch weeknight games past midnight). With realignment, you could have 8 teams in the west that are strictly west coast or mountain time zone.
Athletics to Las Vegas
Tampa Bay Rays to Montreal
Oklahoma City / Nashville for expansion
Call em the Tennessee Dixies And the Oklahoma City Bolts
Orlando instead of Nashville.
The President has designated them a Terrorist Group. They will never make it to ST. Besides all of the pitchers throw rocks.
Not a another FL team. Florida and Tamps don’t draw
Call the stadium the CHAZ?
Nashville is a place where pro athletes for years have loved living and playing. The Preds and Titans guys love this town. The fans are rabid and it’s still a great place to raise kids. Ask Barry Zito , Ben Zobrist and others what they think..
Nashville already has an organization trying to bring MLB to town:
https://www.mlbmusiccity.com/ The Nashville Stars. I agree that this can serve as a nice audition but I don’t believe the stadium meets MLB requirements. OTH, neither does Houston’s. Regardless, I personally find this more exciting than the Ranger’s farm team.
I think there may be more than two of those mentioned cities get teams. I think two get them get a team and we will see Montreal get a team via movement (Rays). as the new Expos, the same way the NFL brought back the Cleveland Browns.
They should just go to 36 teams and also have Tampa Bay relocate.
AL East: Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte (formerly Tampa Bay), Montreal (expansion), New York (Yankees), Toronto
AL Central: Chicago (White Sox), Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis (expansion), Kansas City, Minnesota
AL West: Houston, Los Angeles (Angels), Oakland, Portland (expansion), Texas, Seattle
NL East: Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans (expansion), New York (Mets), Philadelphia, Washington
NL Central: Chicago (Cubs), Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Nashville (expansion), Pittsburgh, St. Louis
NL West: Arizona, Colorado, Las Vegas (expansion), Los Angeles (Dodgers), San Diego, San Francisco
Actually, it would probably be easier to switch Nashville and New Orleans now that I look at it.
AL East Mets,Yankees,Blue Jays,Red Sox.
Phillies and Pirates in the same division.
If they were four-team divisions then I would have the Phillies, Mets, Nationals and Pirates in the NL East but with six-team divisions I would simply just add one expansion team to every division and not realign anyone .Tampa Bay would be relocated to Charlotte though but would stay in the AL East.
Interesting that you include New Orleans. Why? Not that I’m not in favor of the idea. I live in New Orleans. But no one has ever mentioned New Orleans when it comes to expansion
It’s generally thought that a Nashville team would be an AL team, as not to interfere with current loyalties: Cards/Cubs/Braves in middle TN, Cards in E & W Tenn. Nashville is currently in the Reds TV zone, but I’ve never understood why as there are about 3 Reds fans in this town.
Reds TV Zone? They might be listed as the second team, but Nashville is solidly Atlanta Braves country. 40 miles north in Clarksville, their is a radio affiliate of the Reds there. Sucks for me at Kentucky Lake. I’m in the Nashville TV market, yet the Cardinals are listed secondary and all the radio stations are Cardinal affiliates here, yet on TV, it is the Braves….sigh….
Yes just for the record I play baseball never got signed but have teammates that got signed …they were younger and on the radar for scouting. I was a walk on and still am…long story short New Orleans was my pick for a MLB team …I wrote personal years ago in regard to bring a team to New Orleans Superdome…I have a name and Uniform design..
I’m still going to pursue this vision…Player manager/ coach and make this happen. “New Orleans Spades” …ok say I’m over zealous? No….just don’t want to be past up anymore. Give Louisiana a baseball team …they love baseball in New Orleans. The uniforms are my designs are “Fabulous”-Mg*
wild bill tetley
Not a bad idea Trog. I would like to see four divisions of eight teams also. I feel like the 18-19 division matchups is too much. Also, the old AL East minus Milwaukee plus Tampa and team to be named later would rekindle the old rivalries and more Blue Jays fans like me would travel to Cleveland and Detroit. A lot easier to drive there from Toronto than New York, Boston or Baltimore.
Given the consistency of Nashville’s AAA attendance and overall city appeal, they have to be an expansion front-runner. Montreal should be erased from everyone’s minds also.
I’d see no problem with either Buffalo or Norfolk instead of Montreal but they’ve never really seemed interested in Buffalo and there are already teams in both D.C. and Baltimore so I doubt Norfolk would get a shot at it.
Bring back the Homestead Homies
dave frost nhlpa
PLEASE BROADCAST THESE GAMES!!!!
Only if they don’t use silly rules like starting extra innings with a runner on second. I got a rule for the NBA. Instead of overtime, have players take free throws with an opponent social distancing six feet away. First to get five but being up by two wins. I got my MLB refund and assuming the pandemic has eased, will consider reordering next year.
What? Is this supposed to make sense or is it just a collection of random thoughts?
It’s about time that city joins MLB…along with Charlotte, Montreal, Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Portland.
When is Tampa Bay going to join?
when Miami leaves
They should relocate and become the MLB-level Charlotte Knights. As for other cities, here are some team names…
Montreal Expos (obviously)
Las Vegas Vipers
Another one I saw that was actually decent was the Raleigh Reapers.
Vipers would be cool , good rival for the dbacks
Arizona and Las Vegas could easily form a Southwest division with the two Texas teams but it would be a little tougher to align the other divisions that way. I suppose you could put Minnesota with Seattle, Oakland and LAA but they’d be out of place.
I understand the arguments for a small expansion or a relocation of a failing team, but can you imagine how bad the ranking would be with even more teams? You have seemingly half the league not trying to win each season as it is, adding more teams makes it even less likely for them to make the playoffs so it’ll further dilute the quality of baseball on offer. One solution would be to expand playoffs, but then you risk becoming like the NHL where too many teams get in.
*tanking (not ranking!)
Hopefully something will be done to address the tanking issue in the next CBA
8 from Each League add a third League Central one besides East and West,
There is no appetite for MLB expansion here in Indianapolis. There hasn’t been since the 1980s.
The Reds, Cubs, and Cards are all well entrenched here, and we have the full slate of major league sports appropriate for a city this size.
Free agent league sounds dumb.
I think it’s a great idea
Thanks for an idea whose time has come. Possibly even players who are not playing in the majors could participate. Why not? Even if it were just a limited league with players rotating so no one played the entire game, it would be excellent.
Awesome. Let’s hope that’s on MLB.TV!
I think this is a good idea yes yes
Has anyone asked these free agents if they actually want to play? $400 a week and exposure to Covid isn’t very tempting.
It wouldn’t be about the $400/week for most of the players…it would be more about staying in game shape and showcasing yourself in hopes of landing a MLB roster spot at some point during the season. Anyone who leaves their house is being exposed to Covid-19, and most regular jobs pose a greater risk than playing baseball outdoors. It’s not like baseball players are huddled together in large groups, either, as they will be “socially distanced” in the dugout
@BenZobrist – I’m sure you’ve had plenty of MLB offers, but at least consider playing with the Sounds to keep the dream alive and provide us with some sense of a feel good story this season.
I wish Birmingham/Hoover would do this. We have two bona fide AA ballparks, Regions Field and the Hoover Met. They could also play some games at Rickwood Field, the oldest ballpark in America.