Arizona Winter League Ceases Operations
California Winter League Acquires Assets from AWL as Yuma-based Showcase League Closes Doors Ahead of 2019
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The Arizona Winter League will cease operations and will no longer host their annual showcase baseball league in Yuma, AZ. The AWL was a showcase league for free agent baseball players who were interested in becoming professional players or advancing their professional careers. The AWL’s inaugural season was in 2007 where the league also played games at Palm Springs Stadium in Palm Springs, CA. After their 2012 season, the league went dark before moving operations to Texas and operating as the Texas Winter League. In 2015, the AWL returned to the backfields at the Desert Sun Stadium complex for its 2015 thru 2018 seasons.
Last month, representatives from the AWL reached out to the California Winter League regarding the assets owned by the AWL. Both leagues quickly reached an agreement that allowed AWL ownership to move forward with other opportunities as the CWL acquired baseball equipment and other physical assets from the AWL. The CWL now becomes the longest operating showcase winter league as it enters its tenth season. Over the years, the AWL and the CWL have led the showcase winter league industry, with other leagues coming and going over the years. Both organizations have strived to provide players with the best opportunities to gain exposure in front of scouts from Major League Baseball and other professional leagues while allowing players to develop their skills each winter. Last season, five AWL players signed professional contracts while the CWL saw 96 professional offers made to its players. While they were competitors in the industry, the individuals responsible for operating each organization enjoyed a friendly relationship and worked together to make sure that the industry as a whole did not suffer when other leagues made false promises to players.
“The AWL would like to thank the many players, coaches, and scouts who have joined us in Yuma or Texas over the last 12 years. We hope you all were able to use the AWL to help your careers in some way. I strongly recommend that players who were considering the AWL for 2019 look towards the CWL as they offer the best opportunity in the US to sign a pro contract,” said AWL President Stephen Bedford.
The California Winter League is now the exclusive winter league of the professional Frontier League, meaning that the Frontier League will look solely towards the CWL for players during the winter months in 2019 and 2020. The CWL has enjoyed a working agreement with the Frontier League since 2015 that states that each Frontier League team reserves two roster spots for current CWL players. The CWL is the only showcase winter league that is able to offer guaranteed jobs in a professional league. The Frontier League is the longest running independent professional baseball league in the US. They begin their 27th season of play in May of 2019.
In addition to working with the Frontier League, the CWL employs MLB scouts and managers from other professional leagues such as the Atlantic League, the American Association, the United Shore League, the Can-Am League, and the Pacific Association. These scouts and coaches come to Palm Springs with contracts in hand, ready to sign players before spring training begins. Since its inception, the CWL has seen over 700 contracts offered to its players, including offers from 16 MLB franchises. In 2019, the CWL will operate from February 4th thru March 4th with games taking place at Palm Springs Stadium. The league looks forward to accommodating graduated college players who are looking to sign their first professional contract as well as players with professional experience who are aiming to advance their professional careers.
For more information on the California Winter League, visit www.californiawinterleague.com or call (760) 778-4487. Players interested in playing in the CWL can register online.