Oakland A’s: What to do with the Vermont Lake Monsters

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 22: General view of the Oakland Athletics logos in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at the Oakland Coliseum on July 22, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the San Francisco Giants 6-5 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 22: General view of the Oakland Athletics logos in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at the Oakland Coliseum on July 22, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the San Francisco Giants 6-5 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /
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The Vermont Lake Monsters have an interesting history, but one must question their place as part of the Oakland A’s farm system.

In theory, major league teams want to keep their minor league facilities as close as possible, with the Oakland A’s being no exception. Excluding their entry in the Dominican Summer League, that is the case with the A’s, with the Beloit Snappers and Vermont Lake Monsters notable exceptions.

The Lake Monsters are the furthest distance away from the A’s, at least in the continental United States. It is just over 3000 miles from Centennial Field in Burlington Vermont, home of the Lake Monsters, to the Colesium.

In a way, that distance makes sense. The Lake Monsters, a part of the New York Pennslyvania League, are the lowest team on the A’s totem pole, outside of the rookie league teams. Prospects will work their way closer to the A’s geographically, as well as in terms of moving up the organizational ladder.

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But that distance creates a dilemma for the A’s. Major League Baseball was already looking to eliminate 42 minor league affiliates, with the Lake Monsters being one of them. Even before the minor league season was canceled due to teams refusing to send players out, their future was in question.

The Lake Monsters also tend to be the first taste of professional baseball for the A’s prospects. The likes of players such as A.J. Puk, Sean Murphy, and Matt Olson have gone through Vermont, as the NYPL is considered a key part of their development. This is also an affiliate that draws well, with approximately 100,000 fans annually in a historic stadium that is the oldest in the minors.

That history and place in the development of the A’s prospects may not matter any longer. Teams are looking to consolidate expenses, and that includes the minor league level. Sending prospects over 3000 miles away, where there are teams much closer, may not be an expense that the A’s desire any longer.

However, that does not have to mean the end of the Lake Monsters. With a half dozen teams near Vermont, it could be possible to trade affiliates. The Blue Jays, for instance, have a team in low A ball located in Vancouver. It could be worthwhile to swap affiliates.

Next. A's top ten prospects. dark

The Vermont Lake Monsters hold a key place with the Oakland A’s minor league development. But given their distance from Oakland, it may be best to trade affiliates with another franchise.

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