Dodgers purchase stake in Triple-A Oklahoma City, citing ‘opportunity we couldn’t pass up.’

Oklahoma City baseball field

The 19-year-old Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is home to the Oklahoma City RedHawks.

Making formal a poorly kept secret, the Dodgers announced an agreement today with Mandalay Baseball Properties, LLC to purchase the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks, which will become the team’s new Triple-A affiliate.

The Dodgers had been affiliated with the Albuquerque Isotopes since 2009.

Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber will be the Executive Chairman and Managing Director of the RedHawks. Partners Paul Schaeffer and Larry Freedman (who are not directly involved with the Dodgers) will manage the operations of the company.

According to multiple reports, the ownership structure is a 50/50 arrangement in which Guber owns half of the RedHawks, and the other Dodgers owners control the other half.

The purchase agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approvals of the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball and the review of the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

“We enjoyed a great relationship with the Albuquerque organization and its fans,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said, “but the opportunity of franchise ownership was one we couldn’t pass up.”
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Dodgers’ third base coach details the perils of elevation on a player’s evolution.

Albuquerque Isotopes logoToday could be the day the Dodgers formally switch Triple-A affiliates from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City. The Oklahoman reported the move in August. Yesterday, BaseballAmerica.com reported that 23 minor-league teams have a two-week window to secure new affiliations beginning today, and that Albuquerque and Oklahoma City are two of those teams.

When the move was first reported, I mentioned that former Albuquerque Isotopes manager Lorenzo Bundy (now the Dodgers’ third base coach) offered his scouting report on exactly what playing at 5,200 feet does to a developing baseball player.

Here is that scouting report. This isn’t to presume that elevation was the primary reason for the Dodgers moving their Triple-A affiliate — far from it. Rather, Bundy’s experience adds some nuance to our understanding of why playing at elevation might be more or less desirable from a player development standpoint. This might be a business move first and foremost; here’s the baseball end of it:

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A few words on Carlos Frias and Zach Lee, and why one of them is here.

Carlos Frias

Carlos Frias shut out the Washington Nationals for six innings in his first major-league start on Sept. 3. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff photographer)

SAN FRANCISCO >> Glenn Dishman, the pitching coach at Triple-A Albuquerque, is with the big-league club this week. I caught up with him for his thoughts about Carlos Frias‘ evolution, and I’ll share what he said in a bit.

It’s not fair to compare Frias directly to Zach Lee, the former first-round draft pick who just finished the season at Albuquerque. They’re two different pitchers with two different repertoires. Lee turned 23 on Saturday. Frias is 24, but he’s been pitching in the Dodgers’ system since he was 17. Lee was a blue-chip high school quarterback recruit in Texas at the same age.

That said, only one of the two pitchers is here now. At the beginning of the season it wouldn’t have shocked anyone (at least, anyone who pays too much attention to the Dodgers’ farm system) if Lee were getting September starts. As it happened, Frias will probably start Wednesday at Coors Field — and maybe twice more, a lofty assignment for a rookie on a team chasing a playoff spot.

So what happened to Zach Lee?

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