The Texas Rangers have purchased the Hickory Crawdads of the low-A South Atlantic League, the team announced today. The Crawdads have been the Rangers’ low-A affiliate since 2009, and the direct ownership of the team would indicate that the Rangers will have Hickory as their low-A affiliate for the foreseeable future. The Rangers also own their high-A affiliate, the Down East Wood Ducks of the Carolina League, which finished their inaugural season this year.
The trend in recent years has been for more and more major league teams to own some of their minor league affiliates, and the Rangers supposedly had at least expressed an interest in acquiring the AAA Oklahoma Redhawks prior to that franchise being sold to the Dodgers. The Rangers now appear to be aiming to move their AAA affiliate from the Round Rock Express -- which is owned by Nolan Ryan, who is now with the Astros — to a new San Antonio team in a couple of years.