The Los Angeles Dodgers will be shifting their Triple-A affiliation from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City next season, according to multiple sources.
A group affiliated with the Dodgers is on the brink of purchasing the local pro baseball team. The group is in the final stages of contract negotiations that began several weeks ago with Mandalay, which announced earlier this year it would be selling its five minor league baseball properties.
The ownership group that is purchasing the team and the selling price are unknown. RedHawks president and general manager Michael Byrnes declined to comment on the Dodgers-to-OKC report or the new ownership group that will be purchasing the team.
According to sources, Mandalay will sell the RedHawks for between $22 and $28 million.
One possibility is that Dodgers’ part-owner Peter Guber, chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, will be involved with the Oklahoma City franchise ownership group but possibly not to the extent St. Louis went this past year when the Cardinals officially purchased their Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.
The Dodgers reportedly have been searching for a city more suitable to evaluate their top prospects. Starting last season, the Dodgers have required Isotopes officials to place baseballs in a humidor to try to counteract the effects of the thin, dry air, Albuquerque being 5,300 feet above sea level.
The Dodgers have been affiliated with Albuquerque for a total of 44 years, but only for the past six consecutive years in addition to a previous 38-year run (1963-2000). After being without a team for two years, Albuquerque rejoined the PCL as the Miami Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate for six years (2003-2008) before hooking up with the Dodgers for the past six years.
The Modesto Bee has reported several major league teams might switch their PCL Triple-A affiliates, stating Oakland plans to move from Sacramento to Nashville’s new park and the Giants will then move their affiliate from Fresno to Sacramento.