St. Paul Saints set to become Twins’ Triple-A affiliate

The St. Paul Saints, the East Metro’s independent-league baseball team since 1993, is giving up independence to become the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, an industry source confirmed Tuesday.

An official announcement is likely to come this month after Major League Baseball completes an overhaul of its minor league affiliates, cutting the total from 160 teams to 120 and aligning them regionally with big-league clubs. The Twins severed ties with their longtime Triple-A partner the Rochester Red Wings in November after nearly two decades in upstate New York.

CHS Field, the Saints’ Lowertown ballpark, is 11 miles east of Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, a straight shot down Interstate 94. The Twins are moving their Double-A franchise from Pensacola, Fla., to Wichita, Kan., and expected to keep their Class A affiliates in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Fort Myers, Fla.

The Twins and Saints both declined comment Tuesday.

The Saints have been an independent team since 1993, first at the former Midway Stadium near the State Fairgrounds, and since 2015 at CHS Field, a state-of-the-art stadium that officially seats 7,210, though the team was averaging about 8,000 a game; pandemic restrictions limited the Saints to 1,500 fans during a shortened season this summer. They won their first American Association championship in 2018.

WHAT IT MEANS

The new affiliation allows the Twins more flexibility with roster decisions, will let them keep rehabbing major league players close to home and give Twins fans a chance…

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