Could MLB, minor-league restructuring impact Tennessee baseball teams?

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(WVLT/CBS Sports) -- With a deal between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball set to expire at the end of the 2020 season, early reports suggest as many as 42 minor league baseball teams could be eliminated if MLB negotiates the deal the league wants.

Negotiations between Major League Baeball and Minor League Baseball could impact Tennessee teams.

A report from Baseball America's J.J. Cooper said MLB has offered a proposal that, if adopted, would cut MiLB to 160 teams to 120 teams.

The biggest cut would be in the form of four, non-complex Rookie-level and short-season classifications, according to Cooper.

The Appalachian League, which consists of several Tri-Cities teams, includes the Greeneville Reds, Johnson City Cardinals, Kingsport Mets and Elizabethton Twins.

Cooper notes other MiLB leagues, like Double-A, which includes the Tennessee Smokies, would be restructured. MLB would take over how minor leagues are organized as far as affiliations and the geography of leagues.

WVLT reached out to MiLB Communications Director Jeff Lantz who couldn't say whether The Smokies are safe, but spoke highly of the facility.

"I think they have a very strong reputation and a pretty fantastic facility there and they do a really great job there, said Lantz. " There's a long way to go I understand fans in a lot of cities are worried about their teams and all that but we're going to hopefully be able to negotiate with MLB and come up with an agreement that's in the best interest of both parties."

Cooper reports that MLB wants to improve minor league baseball facilities and restructure player contracts.

Pat O'Conner, president and chief executive of MiLB, recently sent a letter to teams, advising them to not make any financial commitments or new lease agreements or schedules beyond 2020, according to The New York Times.

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