Another part of the deal is that the Braves have given the Hillcat's board of directors "assurance that they will help the City of Lynchburg find another affiliated minor-league baseball team if they move the franchise to North Carolina."
BallparkDigest.com predicts that if the Braves move the team, an A-Ball replacement will not be likely.
Based on current affiliate agreements, most of the teams in the Appy are owned by their affiliate. Bristol (White Sox), Johnson City (Cardinals), Greeneville (Astros), Kingsport (Mets), Danville (Braves), Elizabethton (Twins), and Princeton (Rays) are all owned by the parent organization. Which means they could move the team at any time. They normally have a lease agreement for the stadium. For example the Astros signed a five year agreement with Tusculum College last August for the use of Pioneer Park.We're guessing that replacement -- if it happens -- won't come at the Class A level. Lynchburg is probably more of an Appy League kinda town.
The other teams, have player development contracts that are usually signed on a two year basis. Here is the status for each of the remaining teams:
Bluefield Blue Jays - signed through 2014
Burlington Royals - signed through 2012
Pulaski Mariners - signed through 2012, possible extension to 2014
I would be surprised if Lynchburg falls all the way down to the Appy. But it's facilities would be an upgrade over several of the other cities. We will keep watching how this plays out.
There are always rumblings about a team leaving or moving, for example in December, the Mets announced they are closing their GCL team and saying Kingsport will have the K-Mets for 2012.