I have noticed that this is a topic of discussion here at Federal Baseball, and I have found a lot of interesting information on the subject.
Columbus Clippers' general manager Ken Schnacke made it clear when the agreement with the Washington Nationals was reached at the end of the 2006 season that the club would only sign a two-year deal, knowing the affiliation agreements with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians expire after the 2008 season, along with the opening of a brand new, downtown ball park.
So, it was basically assumed by Clippers fans that the affiliation with the Nats' was temporary.
Most in Columbus were never exactly thrilled with being the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, as fans hoped that eventually the Clippers would become affiliated with one of the Major League teams in Ohio.
Though Columbus is actually closer to Cincinnati than Cleveland, most sports fans favor Cleveland teams over Cincinnati ones, so clearly, the best option is an affiliation with the Indians. Plus, Cleveland would have four of their six minor league teams in the state of Ohio. With that, I tend to think that there's a 99.9 percent chance that in September both the Cleveland Indians and Columbus Clippers will agree to a long-term deal.
So where does that leave the Washington Nationals?
According to an article found on InRich.com:
"Why can't the Washington Nationals put a Triple-A team here?
The Nationals do not own a Triple-A franchise. They can only partner with one of the franchises in Triple-A (currently they are with Columbus), and Richmond won't have a franchise once Atlanta leaves. No franchise, no affiliation. You can't have the second without the first."
So the Atlanta Braves not only affiliated with the Richmond Braves, they OWN them.
Also in the article, The Diamond in Richmond is not up to Triple-A standards, and if the city wants another minor league baseball team, a new stadium will be needed. And it appears that they are going to try and land a lower division (AA or A) team.
If Cleveland takes on Columbus, and the N.Y. Mets switch to Syracuse, then it's assume that Toronto signs Buffalo. The odd team out, unless there are other agreements ending at the end of the season, would be the New Orleans Zephyrs, who were once affiliated with the Nationals before signing with the Clippers.
Sounds like musical chairs.