Reports: MLB proposes overhaul of minor leagues, elimination of 40 teams

Major League Baseball is in negotiations with its minor league teams about efforts to "reorganize elements of the system" that could reduce the number of affiliated teams from 160 to 120, according to reports.

The current agreement between Major League Baseball and the minor league teams -- called the Professional Baseball Agreement -- expires at the end of the 2020 season. MLB is looking to make some major changes, according to reports, that would overhaul all levels of the minors, particularly at low Class A and below.

Baseball America was the first to report the proposal and detail the restructuring.

Major League Baseball issued a statement to The New York Times saying that discussions are ongoing.

"We are in discussions with the owners of the Minor League teams to reorganize elements of the system with the goal of improving the working conditions of minor league players," the MLB statement said, "including upgrading the facilities to Major League standards, increasing player compensation, reducing travel time between affiliates for road games, improving transportation and hotel accommodations, increasing the number of off days, and providing better geographical affiliations between the MLB clubs and affiliates."

Other major changes would involve overhauling full-season minor leagues and shuffling teams throughout the Triple-A, Double-A, high Class A and low Class A levels into leagues that are more geographically friendly, according to Baseball America.

According to the reports, the 40 teams at the lower levels that are not included in this venture would be reclassified into a "Dream League," which would be run jointly by MLB and Minor League Baseball and would include players who were not selected in the draft, which under this proposal would be moved to after the College World Series and reduced to 20-25 rounds from the total of up to 40 in its current format.

According to the Times, Pat O'Conner, the president of Minor League Baseball, sent a letter warning teams of "significant impending changes" and advised not making any major decisions, including financial commitments, beyond the 2020 season.

Some minor league teams would lose existing affiliations with major league franchises under the proposal, according to the reports.