Nashville Sounds Explore Hosting MLB Free Agent League

The Nashville Sounds, a Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, released a statement announcing that they have discussed with Major League Baseball the possibility of hosting a league for unsigned major league players this year:

The Nashville Sounds Baseball Club has had discussions with Major League Baseball about the possibility of hosting games that would consist of free agents competing against each other at First Horizon Park this summer. We continue to have meaningful discussions with baseball officials and local health officials with the hope of baseball in Nashville in 2020.

Sounds General Manager Adam Nuse tells Chris Harris of WSMV News 4 in Nashville that the hope is to host a 40-game season in compliance with Phase Four of the “Roadmap to Reopen Nashville”. Notably, unlike Major League Baseball, that would allow the Sounds to sell tickets and bring their stadium to 25 percent of capacity. Phase four of the city plan cannot start until July 20 at the earliest. Under the scenario being discussed, the Sounds would hope to sign more than 40 players and form two teams that would play against each other. Players would report seven to ten days before the launch of Phase Four, hoping that the league would reach its target date for the launch of the next phase.

It’s an interesting concept, one reminiscent of the unofficial spring training camp for free agents before the 2018 season. The list of currently unsigned players is not as extensive as it was in that icy offseason when the MLBPA organized that setup, but As noted today when exploring the upcoming surge in transaction freezing, there are still many recognizable names without teams. Others may still emerge when the freeze lifts, as several veterans in minor league deals could opt for their current clubs or simply be fired. The Sounds may not even end up being the only minor league club to take such steps. Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic report that MLB expects other clubs to explore similar efforts.

The plan has some similarity to the independent ball, although if the Sounds manage to attract enough former major league players or underage players without jobs, the quality of the competition could be superior to that of the independent circuit. And while the money for the players wouldn’t be overly attractive, Athletic’s Jayson Stark tweeted that they would be paid $ 400 a week, the league could serve as an extended showcase to allow players without a team to eventually find their way back to a big one. league ready. Injuries will continue to appear throughout the MLB season, and struggling players will be released and replaced by taxi squad players. Those places in the taxi squad would have to be filled.

It’s unclear at this point where MLB leans on the concept, but the Sounds seem committed to the idea anyway. Nuse tells Harris that the team hopes to cooperate with Major League Baseball, but is currently planning to organize the league with or without the cooperation of the league.