As part of Major League Baseball’s new minor-league player development structure, the Red Sox’ farm system got a bit shaken up earlier Wednesday afternoon.
Boston invited four of its previous affiliates — Worcester Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs, Greenville Drive, Salem Red Sox — “for continued professional affiliation,” per a team release.
While the Sox’ Triple-A club will be moving from Pawtucket to Worcester next season and its Double-A affiliate will remain in Portland, the full-season, Class-A affiliates were the ones reshuffled the most.
For starters, Boston’s High-A affiliate had been Salem and its Low-A affiliate had been Greenville. Those two clubs will now switch roles for 2021 and beyond, with the Drive being the Red Sox’ new High-A team and the Salem Sox being its new Low-A team.
Greenville will be a part of the new Mid-Atlantic League, while Salem will head to the South Atlantic League.
On top of that, the short-season Lowell Spinners will not be affiliated with the Red Sox in 2021, though the club and the City of Lowell “are in the early stages of evaluating various opportunities for the 2021 season, and will continue to discuss longer-term options in the weeks ahead.”
According to The Boston Globe’s Michael Silverman, Lowell could host either an independent league team or a team in the brand new MLB Draft League next year. The possibility also still remains that Lowell could once again realign itself with the Red Sox in 2022.
The Spinners had been part of the Sox’ minor-league pipeline since 1996.