Last year, the Brewers were in search of a new Class-A affiliate after their previous affiliate, the Brevard County Manatees (now known as the Florida Fire Frogs), chose to sign with the Braves on a four-year deal. The choice came down to Carolina or Lancaster, and in a last-minute deal, the Brewers managed to get a two-year PDC in Carolina. It came as a bit of a surprise, as the Mudcats were looking for a MLB franchise to take over completely. However, that cleared up later in the offseason, as Mark Attanasio mentioned that the team was in discussions to buy the Carolina Mudcats.
After a season of negotiation, the new ownership is in place. Today, the Brewers announced that they have officially purchased the Class-A Carolina Mudcats. This is the first full-season affiliate that the Brewers own, and it will provide a great deal of stability to the organization. With a full-season affiliate in place, the Brewers can make plans for the franchise knowing that it will be under their control for the forseeable future.
The minor-league situation is getting stronger after a turbulent last few years. The Double-A Biloxi franchise had a rough start as their players were forced to play on the road for two months to open the 2015 season, but since then, the relationship with the Brewers has been strong and the team has been thriving. The two teams will remain affiliated through at least 2020. Meanwhile, the relationship with Class-A Wisconsin remains strong, and the Brewers and Timber Rattlers will also be affiliated through 2020.
Question marks do remain at the Triple-A and Rookie levels, though. Next season will mark the final season for Colorado Springs at the Triple-A level, as their franchise will move to San Antonio following the season, but the Brewers will likely be left behind as the San Antonio team picks up a Texas team for an affiliate. Meanwhile, the Helena franchise will move in to the vacated Colorado Springs site, though it also remains to be seen if the Brewers will follow them.
For now, we can celebrate that at least one more affiliate has been taken care of. In Biloxi, Carolina, and Appleton, the future of the Brewers minor leagues is set for the next several years.