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Morning Mound Visit: MiLB president Pat O’Conner to Retire

The position could be eliminated entirely.

Paw Sox Quietly Depart From Pawtucket Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

After 13 years, Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner will retire at the end of the year. According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, there’s a chance the position of MiLB President will be eliminated entirely as MLB takes control of the minor leagues.

MLB and MiLB are currently negotiating a new Professional Baseball Agreement which will almost certainly come with radical realignment and contraction of the minors. In a proposal last week, MLB plans to take over merchandising, sponsorship, and broadcast rights of the minors while cutting 40+ teams and eliminating rookie and short-season leagues.

In ESPN’s report, O’Conner was criticized by some minor league owners for caring more about his own job than protecting the minor leagues. Not all owners felt this way about the president. One owner said that O’Conner was being scapegoated and another said that “[MLB is] doing to us what they do to the major and minor league players: pitting us against each other.”

O’Conner’s sudden retirement only confirms the report that negotiations are grim for the minor leagues. If there was any shred of hope remaining that MLB wouldn’t sever affiliation with dozens of teams, it’s gone now. It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the axe will fall.

Craig Edwards | FanGraphs: There are less than three weeks left in the season and the Yankees are closer to the Orioles in the standings than they are the Rays. After a three-week tailspin, the Yankees entered Tuesday just a game above .500.

Patrick Dubuque | Baseball Prospectus $: The Red Sox’ “iykyk” tweet wasn’t just saying the quiet part out loud, it was an indication that MLB’s powers have gone unchecked. Not having anyone around to say no is bad news. It’s how we wind up with things like The Phantom Menace or Jonathan Franzen novels.

Sara Sanchez | Bleed Cubbie Blue: In 1964, the Cubs traded future Hall of Famer Lou Brock for “a sore-armed white pitcher, Ernie Broglio,” and there’s evidence that it wasn’t because the Cubs were lousy evaluators of talent. Rather, the Cubs were bending to racist season ticket holders who complained the team was turning into the Kansas City Monarchs.