Colorado Springs Sky Sox general manager Tony Ensor promised at 3:55 p.m. Wednesday that the Triple-A baseball franchise would have an affiliation agreement to announce soon.
It took almost exactly 24 hours.
At 4 p.m. Thursday, the Sky Sox announced its two-year player development contract with Milwaukee.
“We couldn't be happier to start the newest era in Sky Sox baseball with a world-class organization like the Milwaukee Brewers," said Ensor, who also serves as team president. "Their long and rich baseball history, as well as their commitment to a winning culture and player development is something that we know our fans will embrace.”
The deal was expected following Fresno’s announcement Thursday morning that it had an affiliation agreement, also called a player development contract, with Houston, one of two organizations considering the Sky Sox.
The Nashville Sounds signed a four-year deal with Oakland on Wednesday, prompting the Brewers to look for a new Triple-A home. The Rockies ended its longtime relationship with Colorado Springs the same day when they signed with Albuquerque.
By Thursday afternoon, the Brewers and Sky Sox had no choice but to sign an agreement.
“That’s how it works sometimes in this process,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. “Nashville decided to go in a different direction after we were there for a lot of years, like the Rockies did. We are confident we can make this a good fit.”
Any Brewers concerns were eased because they are familiar with the Sky Sox’s Elmore ownership group, which also owns the Helena (Mont.) Brewers, the organization’s rookie-level club. The Elmores will do what a MLB club needs for its players, Melvin said.
Recent Milwaukee minor league affiliates who have won league championships include the Nashville Sounds (Pacific Coast League, 2005), Huntsville Stars (Double-A Southern League, 2001), Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Class A Midwest League, 2012) and Helena (Pioneer League, 2010, 1996, 1995).
The Sounds finished 77-67 last season; second in the PCL American Southern division by only 2 ½ games. Nashville was in playoff contention until the final two games and spent 100 of 152 days in first place.
The Sounds had 10 players make their Major League debuts this past season. The Triple-A club fielded three league all-star pitchers, including the last two PCL Pitcher of the Year award winners: Jimmy Nelson, 2014; Johnny Hellweg, 2013.
Nelson, PCL all-star pitcher Mike Fiers and infielder Scooter Gennett all spent extended time in Triple-A before making the big club, Melvin said.
“Many players on our current roster have come up through our minor league system and we believe that Colorado Springs will continue to help us produce talent at a Major League level,” he said.
The final spot in this week’s affiliation musical chairs is expected to be filled on Friday when the San Francisco Giants announce a deal with Sacramento.