published Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Dodgers likely to leave Chattanooga

Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Tommy Lasorda, addresses Lookouts fans at AT&T Field in 2010.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Tommy Lasorda, addresses Lookouts fans at AT&T Field in 2010.
Photo by Staff File Photo.

PLAYOFF TIME

The Southern League North Division playoff schedule (all times Eastern):

Thursday: Chattanooga at Huntsville, 7:30

Friday: Chattanooga at Huntsville, 7:30

Saturday: Huntsville at Chattanooga, 7:15

Sunday: Huntsville at Chattanooga, 2:15 (if necessary)

Monday: Huntsville at Chattanooga, 2:15 (if necessary)

The Chattanooga Lookouts may have played their last regular-season game as Class AA affiliates of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Los Angeles is ending its six-year player development partnership with Chattanooga later this month, according to multiple sources. This is only the second time in a quarter century that Labor Day has come and gone without the Lookouts having an agreement in place for the following season.

The other such occasion was in 2008, when the Lookouts left a 21-year relationship with the Cincinnati Reds for the Dodgers.

"I know that I enjoy coming here," former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda said last weekend during a visit to AT&T Field. "It's always been a great city for baseball, and it's got great people and great fans. They treat me great here, and I have nothing but great remarks for this city and this ballclub."

Los Angeles farm director DeJon Watson said Tuesday that the Dodgers continue to "work through some things internally." He declined comment on the speculation that the Dodgers would like their Class AA affiliate close to Oklahoma City, which was purchased recently by Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber and will be the organization's new Triple-A partner beginning next season.

The Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League, who have yet to renew with the Colorado Rockies, would fit that convenience as a Double-A franchise for the Dodgers.

Chattanooga owner Frank Burke would only say Tuesday that the Lookouts and Dodgers "have a good relationship." The Lookouts, who open their divisional playoff series Thursday in Huntsville, are among the more attractive Double-A franchises due to their location within the Southern League and the location of AT&T Field within the city.

"Chattanooga has been outstanding for me," Lookouts first-year manager Razor Shines said. "I haven't wanted anything that I didn't get, and I've tried in return to do whatever I could to help the organization. If this is the end, and I don't know, I've made some lifetime friends here."

Said all-star right fielder Scott Schebler: "I love this place. The city is awesome, and this is probably by far the best place I've been."

There were 11 big-league teams entering Labor Day weekend that had yet to renew Double-A player development contracts for the 2015-16 seasons. The others are Baltimore, Detroit, Minnesota and San Francisco of the Eastern League, Arizona, Milwaukee and Seattle of the Southern League, and Colorado, Oakland and San Diego of the Texas League.

Colorado and Minnesota could be among the possibilities for the Lookouts if the Dodgers leave, but conversations between organizations are not allowed until Sept. 15.

Lookouts take honors

Chattanooga starter Andres Santiago was named Tuesday as Southern League pitcher of the week, while catcher Chris O'Brien was tabbed hitter of the week. Santiago threw the first no-hitter for the Lookouts since 1996 last Thursday in the series opener against Tennessee, and it was O'Brien's two-run triple Sunday that clinched the playoff berth.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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