Texas Rangers Pick Up New Triple-A Affiliate in Nashville Sounds
By Kenneth Nash
The Texas Rangers agreed to have the Nashville Sounds as the new Triple-A affiliate of the club in a four-year deal on Tuesday.
After parting ways with former Triple-A affiliate Round Rock Express on Monday, the Texas Rangers announced Tuesday that they had agreed to a four-year affiliate deal with the Nashville Sounds. Expectations were for the Rangers to be in search of a new Triple-A team at the close of the season and it seemed the options available to them were the Sounds and the Fresno Grizzlies, formerly of the Houston Astros. The Washington Nationals were also in search of a new partnership and have subsequently agreed to a deal with Fresno.
Why the Rangers and Round Rock Parted Ways
A Major League club and their Minor League affiliates can part way for a number of reasons. Often it’s due to a more lucrative benefit on the part of either team, or the Major League club has the ability to move their Triple-A club closer to wherever the MLB club is located. Obviously, moving from Round Rock to Nashville doesn’t satisfy the distance reason and the partnership with the Express has been a beneficial one.
The reason that Texas and Round Rock split ways though has more to do with the Ryan family than finances. Round Rock’s CEO is Reese Ryan, son of Nolan Ryan and brother of Houston Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan. Nolan is also a principal owner in the minor league club. Prior to Round Rock joining the Rangers system in 2011, they served as the Astros Triple-A club for five years and the their Double-A club for four.
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While no formal announcement has been made about an agreement between Round Rock and the Houston Astros, it’s not much of a leap to assume that the two will resume an affiliate partnership for the upcoming season.
Background on the Nashville Sounds
The Nashville Sounds just parted ways with the Oakland Athletics at the end of the 2018 minor league season. Nashville had been their Triple-A team since 2015 and prior to that spent nine years with the Milwaukee Brewers organization. The Texas Rangers are the Sounds 9th major league affiliate since the club’s formation as a Double-A team for the Cincinnati Reds back in 1978.
The Sounds play their home games in Nashville, Tennessee at First Tennessee Park, built in 2015 and which seats about 10,000. A part of the Pacific Coast League, Nashville is in the American Northern Division which also features the Iowa Cubs (Chicago), Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis) and Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City). The American Northern Division falls in the American Conference which also houses now recently departed Rangers affiliate Round Rock.