A former minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees filed a lawsuit against the organization alleging that the franchise made “false promises” in regard to restructuring its farm system.
The Staten Island Yankees had been an affiliate of the Yankees since 1999 and played in the New York-Penn League. However, the Yankees’ restructuring of its minor league affiliates at the end of the 2020 season saw the Staten Island Yankees and Trenton Thunder get axed.
The Staten Island Yankees said in a statement Thursday that the team will be forced to cease operations. The team said the New York Yankees “made repeated assurances we would always be a minor league partner” but without the affiliation the team would be on the hook for additional expenses making it “impossible” to continue.
“The best thing we can do for the community is to step aside and let others try to save baseball in Staten Island. While we have invested considerable resources into the development of the North Shore, and hoped to remain a piece of that renewal, we have not been offered support to create a sustainable business entity,” the minor league team said in a statement.
“Accordingly, with regret, we must cease operations. Earlier today we filed a lawsuit against the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball to hold those entities accountable for false promises. A portion of any settlement or jury verdict will go to the Staten Island Yankees Foundation to be distributed to local Staten Island charities like the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation and Person Centered Care Services. All outstanding ticket purchases will be fully refunded upon request.”
According to the New York Post, the minor league team filed the $20 million lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York and claimed the Yankees were in “breach of contract.” Nostalgic Group, which owns the minor league team, accused the Yankees of breaking promises to keep the team.
The Yankees nor MLB have commented on the lawsuit.
New York’s restricting affected their Double-A team in Trenton when the organization chose to align itself with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. MLB announced earlier this week that the Thunder would be a part of the MLB Draft League, which would showcase potential baseball prospects.
The Staten Island Yankees were a Class A Short Season team. New York did not replace them with another team.