Triple-A baseball will remain in Oklahoma City past this season. The question is, which big league organization's prospects will be playing here? The RedHawks started their first series at Round Rock, Texas, on Thursday night. And although there is plenty of uncertainty about what will happen with either Triple-A franchise after this season, their fates are linked. The reason? The sale of the Texas Rangers, the RedHawks parent club, has opened the possibility that the partnership between the Rangers and their Oklahoma City affiliate might end after nearly 30 years. The player development contract between the Rangers and RedHawks expires after this season. So does the contract between the Houston Astros and the Round Rock Express. Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan is part owner of the Express, having brought Triple-A baseball to the suburb located 15 miles from Austin. Ryan, the Rangers' team president, has paired with Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg in making a bid to buy the Rangers. But in a move originally designed to expedite the sale process, current Rangers owner Tom Hicks went through U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The result has been anything but efficient. Some creditors objected to the sale, calling the Ryan-Greenberg group's bid inadequate. The team is expected to go to auction July 16, though the sides involved continue to negotiate on the ground rules of the auction. Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott urged the Fort Worth court to reject the team's reorganization plan. If the Ryan-Greenberg group buys the Rangers, there has been speculation that Texas could shift its Triple-A affiliate to Round Rock. That would leave Oklahoma City looking for a new Major League affiliate — and the Astros searching for a new Triple-A site. Oklahoma City was the top farm team for the Astros over the 1962-72 seasons. Round Rock is slightly closer to Arlington than Oklahoma City, but it would allow Ryan to have his interests closer together. But if another group buys the Rangers, or the sale remains in the air for much longer, it becomes more likely the Rangers continue their Triple-A partnership with Oklahoma City. Texas and Oklahoma City have one of the longest relationships in baseball, dating back to 1983. Only three pairs of teams (Kansas City-Omaha, Boston-Pawtucket and the Chicago Cubs and Iowa) have been together longer. The teams can start negotiating a new player development contract at the end of the Pacific Coast League season. Oklahoma City and Round Rock are far from the only teams whose contracts expire at season's end. A total of 19 teams have yet to sign a player development contract that extends past the end of this season. In the PCL, only Iowa (Cubs), Memphis (St. Louis Cardinals) and Salt Lake City (Los Angeles Angels) are signed past this year. The terms of the player development contracts are for either two or four years. RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said the coaches haven't paid much attention to what's going on with the Rangers sale. "We read about it in the papers every once in a while, but we're not looking at it too closely,” Jones said. "There's nothing we can do about it, so there's no point in worrying too much about it.” Affiliation shuffles aren't rare in the Pacific Coast League. New Orleans is on its fourth affiliate in the last seven seasons. In recent years, the Zephyrs have been affiliated with the Florida Marlins (2009-present), the New York Mets (2007-08), Washington Nationals (2005-06) and Astros (1997-2004). The RedHawks are also going through a sale process of their own, but that figures to have less of an impact in the on-the-field product in Oklahoma City. Mandalay Baseball is negotiating to buy the RedHawks; and it was recently approved to have the lease for AT&T Bricktown Ballpark transferred. But that sale, which must be approved by the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball, is still in the negotiating process.