Minor League Baseball announced this morning that the Triple-A schedule will be expanding from 144 to 150 games in 2022 (h/t to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America). According to the press release, the move is designed to “help Triple-A baseball better align with the Major League season” by delaying “the end date of the Minor League campaign to September 28.”
MiLB notes that the development puts into place the longest Triple-A season since at least 1964. In 2019, the most recent minor league season to begin on time, the Triple-A regular season schedule wrapped up by September 2. Ending the regular season within the first week of September was the typical process, leading to particular challenges for MLB teams that had injured players attempting to make late-season returns to the big leagues. Getting recovering players into minor league game action on rehab assignments during September became impossible unless one or more of the club’s farm teams had qualified for the postseason.
Last year’s Triple-A season carried into the first week of October, although that hadn’t been by design. Rather, the start of the season was delayed a month over COVID-19 concerns. This year, the Triple-A campaign is slated to begin on its more customary time, with first games scheduled for April 5. Expanding the docket a few games will allow it to more closely overlap with the MLB schedule, which is currently ticketed for March 31 through October 3.
The MLB schedule, of course, is contingent on the hammering out of a new collective bargaining agreement. Given the huge gaps still present in CBA talks, the possibility of a delayed start to the season (and possible compression of the schedule) looms larger day by day. The Triple-A schedule won’t be affected by the lockout, however.
Only players on an MLB 40-man roster are members of the MLB Players Association. That encompasses a handful of minor leaguers, mostly those added to the 40-man last November to keep them from selection in the Rule 5 draft. Yet the vast majority of minor league players are not on a 40-man roster. Those players can remain in contact with club personnel throughout the lockout and will report as scheduled for the start of the minor league campaign.
I like the minors having longer seasons, but why not start earlier, like late-March, and then end earlier so younger players can come up? I don’t see “aligning” the schedules as a priority.
With only a couple call ups now in September, ending earlier isn’t a priority.
But it will allow teams to send their star players to rehab with AAA during the stretch run. Now batting fourth for Albuquerque, Fernando Tatis.
It will also allow teams to keep their top backups in game shape in case there is a late-season injury for teams that are heading into the postseason. With the postseason about to expand to 12 (maybe even 14) teams, that means almost half the teams will want to keep their AAA players in top form in case needed come October.
Are the Padres trading Tatis to the Rockies? Albuquerque is Colorado’s AAA affiliate.
The Saber-toothed Superfife
That is only because these GMs don’t know how to take advantage of it.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
There will be baseball in 2022! At least for the minor league players not on 40 man MLB rosters.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Exactly what I was thinking too, @McGriff.
It’s like a crappy consolation prize that no one wanted, or whatever. “Hey, no big league games, but we’re kicking down some more AAA ball. Thank us later, fellas!”
This isn’t really an update I’ve been hoping for. Like even a little bit.
You should give AAA a try. With no major leagues, the problem of players being promoted as soon as you get to know them is no longer an issue. The seats are closer and cheaper and the promotions are fun. I’m happy to have more River Cats games to choose from, especially in late September when the weather is cooler.
Smuz – I am with you for all the reason’s you gave… “The seats are closer and cheaper and the promotions are fun. I’m happy to have more River Cats games to choose from, especially in late September when the weather is cooler.” In addition the parking is closer and it takes less time to get out of the parking lot…. I follow AAA, so I already know the players.
I grew up I’m a AAA town and would rather go to a AAA game. I would rather watch MLB on TV.
DarkSide: I think it has more to do with money than timing, but that’s just my opinion. They now have to provide housing and other amenities – knowing how owners would naturally think, “I give more, I expect more work.” There has to be some monetary logic that’s behind this that a room full of nerds who love algorithms came up with…
Ducky Buckin Fent
You followed the money, didn’t you Clip.
I should have thought of that. I think you got it, man. That’s probably pretty close to the truth.
Makes sense – now the MLB & AAA regular seasons are both too long.
I’m curious.. what seems like a more reasonable number of regular season MLB games to everyone? This would never happen but I think they could bring it down to 100 games and I would be just fine.
130 would be fine. Start April 15th, end Sept 15th with expanded playoffs.
That’s still too early to start for cold weather cities. I like 120-130 games but start late April.
116 Games would be suffice I think
So all you advocating for 20-30% fewer games think you’ll convince the players to take 20-39% pay cuts? I don’t think so.
Too cold? Tell that to Milwaukee. They were smart enough to build a stadium with a retractable roof.
10 games would do, seeing as the way things are heading, there will be 28 teams in the playoffs and we’ll need the remaining 5 months to compete them.
Daveineg – Or you could attend a USA vs Honduras World Cup soccer game in Minneapolis in January with a wind chill of -10.
Lol, I wonder who’s bright idea that was?
Jackie Robinson Day as the new “opening day” is the way to go – April 15th. Finish up mid-September and keep the October Classic in October. Bring back double-headers, I can live with seven-inning-twin-bills – 120 games. MLB has only itself to blame for adapting too slowly.
I love baseball. The more the better! 100 would put me into withdrawal earlier
140-150 games for MLB & AAA. Start the season April 15th and end the regular season September 15th. More day games and doubleheaders. More standard start times, less network (especially commercials & Fox), and East coast influence. Six teams per league in playoffs. Hopefully, WS ends by mid-October. No DH in NL.
Yes, many will scream about “less income.” Response; Don’t be so greedy to MLB & owners! As long as you’re making money more often than not stfu. You write off the business “losses” anyway. You have a taxpayer-paid for stadium and your asset doesn’t lose value!
Knock off April and not end on the first weekend in October. So drop 30 games. Spring Training is now April and if they must last half of March.
Spring training is more for fans than the players. Mlb
I’m a baseball fan. I like a long season and long games. Give me more baseball, not less.
Amen! Why do these supposed fans want to remove 60+ games?♂️
… quality over quantity. We get it, you’re a bigger fan than the most. Got it.
You the way it works these days for a certain gen. More money, less work. lol too bad the networks broadcasting the games with contracts in place don’t see it that way and the owners don’t either.
Makes some sense, especially since there have been limits placed on the number of call ups in recent years. The big reason AAA ended earlier in the past was because many of the best ones were called up to the majors. Now that isn’t happening and not likely to happen going forward. So keep ’em playing a bit longer.
Does it come with a pay raise?
A comedian is amongst us.
Yea the minimum went up to 700 a week for AAA.
Yes – all you can eat at Cracker Barrell.
This is what I get for not reading all comments before making my minor leaguers working for free Cracker Barrel joke.
Hopefully baseball can get some minor league games televised on like hulu or something. Im sure you can find links online if you look hard enough.
milb.tv $9.00/season. possibly no blackouts
Viz: Is that all MiLB? AAA, AA, & A?
Not enough people watch their hometown MLB teams let alone will watch some MILB team in the middle of the cornfields of their state. Only hardcore baseball fans (like myself) would enjoy that, and sadly we’re a dying breed.
Can’t watch your damn home team on MLB network or cable. It’s terrible here
I would imagine most fans would watch at least their team’s AAA affiliate.
The biggest significance is that MLBers on the IL can prepare for the playoffs.
Good news for those of us living in a AAA city. No matter what happens with the CBA, there will be baseball in Albuquerque……and more of it! Bravo!
This is the best game in town at the moment.
unless they bring back the KBO broadcasts or strike a deal with the NPB (though I’d rather see LHV play due to it meaning more for the local club, naturally).
I never see the glass as half empty or half full. I see the glass as being broken and can never be fixed.
Is this being done to give us replacement baseball should the owners and players not be able to reach an agreement?
Even if they come to an agreement, this is still the more affordable option.
No, replacements won’t work just like they didn’t in 1995.
They’ll definitely play more games than the bigs this season. Not the first time.
I like it. Helps young pitchers especially get acclimated to pitching a higher number of innings.
Anyway to watch these games on Television?
MiLB.tv is probably your best option.
In exchange for playing the extra 6 games, the minor league players will receive an additional $25 gift card for Cracker Barrel for their time and effort.
Now that I’m seeing this, I realize I really need to work on my splitter…
Since there probably won’t be a MLB season they’re doing the right thing
If a minor league player is on the 40 man roster but doesn’t make the 26-man MLB squad, can he play in minor league games if the MLB players are still locked out?
To my knowledge, no. The lockout applies to all on the 40 man.
You are correct. Players on the 40-man roster are part of the group locked out.
Though will say not sure how you can say the AAA schedule will not be affected by the lockout. All 40 man players are part of the union. With 26 men up in the majors, that is 14 that will be in the minors, mostly in AAA. That is over half the normal AAA roster. The only way MLB teams will be able to fill a AAA roster if the lockout continues is to sigh a ton of MiLB free agents or go thin at other levels to help make up for the lack of 40 man players available to play AAA ball. I an see MLB trying to force it but that will come with increased injury risk for the guys who are left to play.
Not every player on a 40-man roster is in the majors or at AAA. Yes, they would have to sign some players or thin out all levels a bit.
it is of course part of the collusion on the MLB owners who are trying to placate baseball fans and get their minds of their lockout …
Sounds good to me. Hopefully at some point they get rid of expanding major league rosters in September as well.
The Saber-toothed Superfife
Owners win again. Now they don’t have to pay the September call ups
Over/under the AAA season having twice as many games as the MLB season?
How can we extend the minor league season when we can’t even guarantee when we will play Major League games?
so someone plays?
The minor league season is not affected by the lockout other than 40-man players not being available.
To me, this means that pitching prospects can get their to Tommy John surgery in the minors and maybe get it over with before they hit the bigs.
I don’t know smaller minor league rules like I do major league rules, but in general I like this if, and only if, they ensure the roster size is sufficient enough to relieve the extra load on these players arms and legs. It would take much, 1 or two more guys… but it would help, plus give some guys more opportunity