MLB Threatens to Cut Ties With Minor League Baseball

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With tension already building between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, the feud between the two sides has reached a new high.

MiLB issued a four-page memo on Friday accusing MLB of "repeatedly and inaccurately" describing MiLB's stance on a variety of issues in negotiations. MLB responded with a harsh statement threatening to cut ties with MiLB entirely.

"If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table," MLB said in a statement, per the Los Angeles Times. "Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement."

The MLB and MiLB’s Professional Baseball Agreement is set to expire after the 2020 season. In November, MLB proposed severing the major-league affiliations of 42 teams. The proposal sparked outrage and Sen. Bernie Sanders took to Twitter to challenge MLB commission Rob Manfred to stop it.

"This has nothing to do with what's good for baseball and everything to do with greed," Sanders said. "It would destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies."

MiLB said it's willing to discuss facility improvements and that major league owners want their minor league counterparts to take on the costs of higher minor league players' salaries. 

On Wednesday, Manfred called out minor league owners for taking what he called a "take-it-or-leave-it status quo approach" to their ongoing negotiation.

One anonymous minor league owner expressed frustration to the Los Angeles Times over Manfred's recent comments.

"Rob is attempting to decimate the industry, destroy baseball in communities and eliminate thousands of jobs, and he’s upset that the owners of the teams have gone public with that information in an effort to save their teams," the owner said. "That's rich."