MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have a new Triple-A home in San Antonio.The Missions, who are moving up a level to the Pacific Coast League for 2019 after more than a century in the Double-A Texas League, entered into a two-year player development contract with the Brewers on Tuesday, marking another
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have a new Triple-A home in San Antonio.
The Missions, who are moving up a level to the Pacific Coast League for 2019 after more than a century in the Double-A Texas League, entered into a two-year player development contract with the Brewers on Tuesday, marking another move for Milwaukee's top Minor League affiliate.
The Brewers spent the past four years in Colorado Springs, but owners of that club -- the Elmore Sports Group -- are relocating the franchise to San Antonio. Before Tuesday's announcement, the possibilities were down to Fresno or San Antonio.
"We had a chance to go down there last week and view the facility, see what changes and renovations they are going to make to the facility, and we were impressed," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "A great market for our highest affiliate. We think it's a great final stop before our players come to Milwaukee."
Just like in Nashville, Tenn. -- Milwaukee's Triple-A home from 2005-14 -- the Brewers will find themselves in the middle of a stadium debate. Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium opened in 1994, eight miles outside of downtown, and plans for a new downtown ballpark have not materialized. Stearns said he viewed that as a "longer-term project" for the Elmore Group and that the Brewers were focused on improving the current facility.
Missions president Burl Yarbrough said the team plans to upgrade the clubhouse and batting cages for the move up to Triple-A. Those projects are expected to be ready for next season, Stearns said, and while they will be paid for by the affiliate, the Brewers had input.
The current playing surface, however, "is outstanding," Stearns said, and having a Triple-A team in the Central Time Zone near a major airport will represent an improvement in terms of getting players to the big leagues in times of need.
"We are very excited to be working with the Milwaukee Brewers," Yarbrough said in a statement. "With our promotion to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, they will be terrific partners as we begin a new era of Missions baseball in 2019. The Brewers were in town last week to see our facility and discuss our renovation plans for the clubhouse and batting cages.
"After meeting with them and seeing their excitement for San Antonio, we feel the Brewers were the best fit for us. The Brewers have one of the top farm systems in baseball, and we look forward to helping them put many more players into Major League Baseball."
The teams have history. The Missions were Milwaukee's Double-A affiliate in 1972.
The Brewers already have PDCs with Double-A Biloxi and Class A Wisconsin, and they own the Class A Advanced Carolina affiliate. Rookie-level Helena is also owned by the Elmore Sports Group, and it is moving to Colorado Springs for 2019 and will remain affiliated with the Brewers, according to Stearns. Travel will be trying in the Pioneer League, but the facility will be first class for rookie ball.
"Player development is very important for us, and all of this goes into the big pie that is player development," Stearns said. "It starts with good, talented players and quality athletes. You add on top of that quality instructors and then you add on to that quality facilities, and the goal is to put together a solid and comprehensive player development apparatus. Really, top to bottom right now, we're pretty pleased with our affiliate structure."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.