GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — The Single-A Carolina League is expanding by two teams in 2017 while two teams in the California League will be contracted.
Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner said Monday that the Bakersfield Blaze and the High Desert Mavericks will cease operations after the season, with Kinston, North Carolina, and another undetermined city receiving Carolina League teams.
The Texas Rangers, whose advanced Class A farm team has been at High Desert for two years, will own the team that plays in Kinston next year. Bakersfield also has been a Seattle Mariners affiliate since 2015.
The parent club, ownership and location of the other Carolina League team was not announced. Minor League Baseball says Fayetteville, North Carolina, officials have a memorandum of understanding for a stadium to open in 2019.
“We are happy that professional baseball will return to Kinston, and we are pleased with the steps Fayetteville has taken to bring professional baseball back to that great city as well,” O’Conner said.
Minor League Baseball says the Rangers and Kinston have a 12-year agreement to play at Grainger Stadium. Kinston was home to a Carolina League team from 1978-2011, and was a Cleveland Indians affiliate for the last 25 years of that run before that team moved to Zebulon, North Carolina, in 2012 and became the Carolina Mudcats.
Fayetteville played host to Carolina League teams from 1950-56 and South Atlantic League teams from 1987-2000.
High Desert owner Dave Heller said it is “with great regret and reluctance” that his team is being contracted, and blamed the city of Adelanto, California, for creating “too much uncertainty for next season and beyond.” Citing budget concerns, the city in March moved to evict the Mavericks from their publicly owned stadium.
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