Lake Monsters out as Oakland A’s affiliate

The franchise is dropped as Major League Baseball revamps and shrinks the minor league system.
The franchise is dropped as Major League Baseball revamps and shrinks the minor league system.
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 9:03 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s official. The Vermont Lake Monsters time as an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, and as a minor league franchise affiliated with Major League Baseball, is over.

On Wednesday, the Oakland A’s announced the four franchises it is inviting to serve as affiliates in baseball’s revamped minor league system, and the Vermont Lake Monsters did not make the cut. Minor league baseball in 2021 will feature just four levels, Triple-A, Double-A and High and Low Single-A, all full season.

It eliminates the half season Single-A level that the Vermont Lake Monsters have operated in since the franchise was founded as the Vermont Expos and joined the New York-Penn League in 1994. The move also ends a relationship with the A’s organization that began in 2011.

The Lake Monsters released a statement Wednesday, which was nearly identical to one given to WCAX last month after four former New York-Penn League teams were announced as founding members of the new MLB Draft League, the first official signal that a change to the traditional minor league system was underway.

Wednesday’s statement reads, in part, that the Monsters relationship with Major League Baseball will be different moving forward, that the franchise is not ready to formally announce plans for the 2021 season, but that they are encouraged with ongoing discussions to ensure that professional baseball will continue at Centennial Field.

As for the other, now former members of the New York-Penn League, only three made the cut to remain in the minor leagues, Aberdeen, Brooklyn, and Hudson Valley. Four others, Mahoning Valley, State College, West Virginia and Williamsport are part of the MLB Draft League.

Along with Vermont, the Auburn Doubledays, Batavia Muckdogs, Lowell Spinners, Norwich Sea Unicorns and the Tri-City Valley Cats are on the outside looking in. The Spinners were a Red Sox affiliate. The Boston Globe is reporting Lowell could regain affiliation with the Red Sox as early as 2022. One other New York-Penn League franchise, the Staten Island Yankees, announced last week they were ceasing operations and are suing the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball.

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