Yankees torched by Trenton Thunder owner after minor league shakeup

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman
Mar 8, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“Mislead” was the word Trenton Thunder owner Joseph Plumeri used when deciphering the Yankees‘ decision to transition their affiliate minor league teams to Somerset and Hudson Valley.

This move was a big surprise, as the Yankees are heading toward the hot stove months and have free agency plans in place. Since the Bombers will shift their affiliate programs, Trenton is now left dead in the water, as they could theoretically join another major-league team. They could also join the independent Atlantic League, but this surprise undoubtedly was not received well by Trenton‘s owner.

“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.”

These are strong words by Plumeri, but one that makes sense and are justified if his statements are true. The Yankees lost a significant amount of revenue due to COVID-19, so this could’ve been a financially driven move, but it still isn’t right to back out of a deal in the final moments.

“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.”

The proximity between Yankee Stadium and the new affiliates will be far closer, making the strain of travel simpler in the future. In addition, it seems as though the Yankees wanted more control of their development and the structural progressions regarding the quality of equipment and services.

The major factor behind this comes down to money, as the Yankees likely see Somerset as a more profitable location, where more money can flow, and the business can do even better. Of course, this significantly damages Trenton in the process.