The Twins are moving their Triple-A club about 1000 miles closer to home, as La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that they’ll soon announce the St. Paul Saints as their new top affiliate. The Saints had been a member of the independent American Association since 2005 and the now-defunct independent Northern League for 13 years prior to that.
It’s a huge boost for the Twins, who for the past 18 seasons have housed their Triple-A club with upstate New York’s Rochester Red Wings. (The Red Wings have already announced a new partnership with the Nationals.) Rather than a cross country flight to send a player on a minor league rehab assignment or to call up a fresh arm, the Twins will now be looking at a mere 11-mile drive from Minneapolis’ Target Field to St. Paul’s CHS Field. Their Triple-A club will benefit from modern facilities as well, given that CHS Field opened just over five years ago, in May 2015.
In addition to a vastly more convenient home for their Triple-A club, the Twins will also have a new Double-A home. Taylor Eldridge of the Wichita Eagle reported yesterday that the Wichita Wind Surge will no longer be the Triple-A affiliate for the Marlins and will instead drop down to the Double-A Texas League, serving as the Twins’ new affiliate. The Twins’ Double-A affiliate had previously been the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
The move is sure to be a point of frustration for many in the city, as Eldridge details. The Wind Surge had yet to play a game in the newly constructed Riverfront Stadium, which had been built as part of a bid to bring Triple-A baseball back to Wichita for the first time in four decades.