— 13 would cease operations and 29 would lose their MLB affiliation, and essentially become independent teams — in what amounts to a cost-cutting measure. MLB teams subsidize their minor league affiliates (they pay player salaries, etc.) and they want to keep minor league costs down moving forward.
The plan to cut 42 minor league teams has been met with harsh criticism. Fans are against it, ballplayers are against it, and even Congress is against it. Several senators, most notably presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, have chastised MLB for their minor league plan. Several members of Congress recently introduced a resolution urging MLB not to eliminate any minor league teams.