The Yankees’ decision to sever ties with their Eastern League affiliate in Trenton, N.J., has left the team’s owner fuming.
After learning of the Yankees’ plans to move their Double-A team to Somerset, N.J., as part of a minor league realignment, Trenton Thunder owner Joseph Plumeri ripped the organization Saturday, claiming it “misled” his community.
“Despite repeated assurances that the Thunder would remain its Double A affiliate over the last 16 months, the Yankees betrayed their partnership at the 11th hour,” Plumeri said in a statement. “By doing so the Yankees have misled and abandoned the Thunder and the taxpayers of Mercer County, who have invested millions of dollars over the years to ensure that Arm & Hammer Park remains one of the premier ballparks in America.”
Trenton became the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate in 2003. The relocation comes amid a restructuring of minor league baseball that will leave fewer teams with major league affiliations. In addition, the Yankees are shifting their Single-A affiliate from Charleston, S.C., to Wappingers Falls, N.Y., where they will become the Hudson Valley Renegades. The Yankees have also ended their working agreement with Staten Island as the short-season New York-Penn League is being eliminated.
“Restructuring our minor affiliations — especially with the additions of Somerset and Hudson Valley — gives us greater continuity to streamline and improve the development of our minor league system,” general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “The relationships we have formed with all of our teams will allow for a more consistent application of training with similarly aligned facilities in terms of structure, quality and ease of travel. We are confident that these changes will greatly benefit our players and Yankees fans for many years to come.”
It’s unclear if the Trenton franchise will affiliate with another major league team following the Yankees’ departure. Among the possibilities is joining the independent Atlantic League, which previously had a team in Somerset.
“While this community built the Yankees organization up and set minor league baseball attendance records, it seems the Yankees were only focused on trying to cut culturally diverse Trenton down in favor of a wealthy, higher socioeconomic area in Somerset,” Plumeri said.