MILWAUKEE -- The Double-A Huntsville Stars will be on the move next year, and the question is whether the Brewers will go along for the ride.
The Southern League on Friday announced that it had approved a sale of the Stars from a group led by Miles Prentice to a group led by Ken Young, who plans to relocate the franchise to Biloxi, Miss., for the 2015 season. Prentice will have a partial stake in the new group.
The sale must now be approved by both Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball to be final.
Huntsville has been a Milwaukee affiliate since 1999, under a player-development contract that is set to expire at the end of the 2014 season. The deal was last renewed in September 2012, when the Brewers reluctantly stayed in Huntsville despite what Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin called "a number of challenges on the player development front" related to Joe Davis Stadium, which opened in 1985 and is the oldest facility in the Southern League. The Brewers had hoped to see the Stars reach an agreement with officials in Huntsville for a new stadium in Huntsville.
The Brewers were not mentioned in Friday's announcement from the Southern League.
"Leaving Huntsville at the end of the 2014 season will be bittersweet for our league due to our long association with former Stars' owner and beloved former Southern League president, Don Mincher," league president Lori Webb said in a statement. "But, as sad as we are to be leaving the Huntsville market, we are also excited as we look forward to opening a new ballpark in Biloxi and bringing professional baseball to that community."
The Stars will play the 2014 season in Huntsville while construction begins in Biloxi. The team opens on the road at Jacksonville on April 3 before returning to Joe Davis Stadium for an April 9 home opener against Pensacola.
The Stars have yet to name a replacement for manager Darnell Coles, who was promoted to Triple-A Nashville in October and subsequently hired for the Detroit Tigers' Major League coaching staff. But Melvin confirmed to MLB.com earlier this week that it will be Carlos Subero, who managed a Dodgers Class A affiliate last year. The announcement of Subero's staff is expected on Monday.
Huntsville is not the only Brewers affiliate set to get a new stadium for 2015. Last month, the Nashville Metro Council signed off on a financing package to build a new ballpark in Nashville's Sulphur Dell neighborhood. But like Huntsville, the Brewers' PDC with Nashville expires at the end of 2014.