The Houston Astros have one year left on a two-year contract with Mandalay Baseball Properties, which runs five minor league teams, including the Oklahoma City RedHawks.
But when the Astros/RedHawks contract expires next September, who will be the RedHawks' MLB affiliate in 2015?
The three leading candidates are the Astros, Rangers and Marlins.
The simple solution is the Astros and RedHawks sign a two-year deal through 2016.
But there's a new variable. In May, the Astros named Reid Ryan team president.
In March, Astros owner Jim Crane announced he's dreamed about building a ballpark in The Woodlands, a Houston suburb, and moving his Triple-A affiliate 30 miles north of Minute Maid Park. But Reid Ryan, Nolan's son, has gone on record saying he's against that proposal.
In an interview with SB Nation, Ryan said his father doesn't like having the Rangers' Double-A affiliate in Frisco, a Dallas suburb, because Nolan feels it directly competes with the Rangers.
How does that impact the RedHawks?
One rumor is Reid Ryan's first choice might be Round Rock, an organization he helped build, a city located two hours from Houston. The sticking point is the Rangers and Round Rock have a deal through 2018.
But if all parties agree — Rangers, Astros, Round Rock and Oklahoma City — the Astros feasibly could move their Triple-A team back to Round Rock and the Rangers would return to OKC.
Again, it's only a rumor. But there's precedence involving Round Rock.
In 2003, Frisco was opening its new ballpark as a member of the Double-A Texas League. Tulsa still had a year left on its contract with the Rangers.
When the dust settled the Rangers moved their Double-A team to Frisco and the Rockies moved their Double-A team from Shreveport to Tulsa. Shreveport has played in an independent league the past nine years.
A third scenario for OKC is the Astros might have interest in New Orleans because it would open up another TV market. If the Astros signed a deal with New Orleans in 2014 that probably would send the Marlins' Triple-A team to OKC.
As for The Woodlands' saga, Crane this summer reportedly was part of a Houston development group that purchased Camp Strake from the Boy Scouts of America. Camp Strake is a 2,175-acre property near The Woodlands. But with Reid Ryan now on board, The Woodlands scenario is in limbo.
Even if Crane pursued The Woodlands it would take months to design blueprints and construct a ballpark. Bricktown Ballpark broke ground in October, 1995, and opened 2 1/2 years later in 1998. At best, a Woodlands ballpark might be ready for the 2017 season.
RedHawks fans simply want to know who will be OKC's MLB affiliate in 2015.
No way of knowing in September 2013. The most likely options are the Astros, Rangers and Marlins.