CINCINNATI -- After much speculation amid a restructuring of the Minor League system by Major League Baseball, the Reds announced on Wednesday that four affiliates were extended invitations for 2021 -- the Triple-A Louisville Bats, Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, Class A Advanced Dayton Dragons and Class A Daytona Tortugas.
These four clubs, among 120 total Minor League franchises, need to accept the terms of their invitations before they’re officially set. League names and schedules are pending.
One change has Dayton and Daytona swapping levels. The Dragons would become Cincinnati’s Class A Advanced affiliate after spending all 20 years of their existence as the Class A team for the Reds. The Tortugas would be entering their seventh season affiliated with the Reds but would now be Class A (or “low A").
If it accepts, Louisville would enter its 22nd season as the Reds' Triple-A club. Double-A Chattanooga is entering its third consecutive year and 24th overall.
The Reds will also keep their Short-Season team at their Goodyear, Ariz., complex in the Arizona League and the Dominican Summer League team in Boca Chica.
"We are very proud of the stability we've been able to provide to our Minor League partners over the years, and we want to continue our relationships with Louisville, Dayton, Chattanooga and Daytona," Reds general manager Nick Krall said in a statement. "There are few affiliates in baseball that provide the high quality of care to players and facilities that those four teams have provided the Reds."
With the changes, the Reds’ 47-year affiliation with Short-Season Billings will end. Billings will remain in the Pioneer League, which is transitioning to an independent professional MLB partner league.
Also not continuing after three seasons is the partnership with Greeneville of the Appalachian League, which will become a summer wood-bat league for some of the nation’s college freshmen and sophomores.