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River Cats, Grizzlies affiliations in play?

Sacramento River CatsAnother potential affiliate shift to pass along: there are reports the Sacramento River Cats (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) are looking to the San Francisco Giants as a new parent.

The report quotes sources as saying the River Cats ownership is openly talking about switching to the Giants as a parent. Now, technically, no future affiliate deals can be discussed until the current one ends, which means that the Giants and River Cats can’t officially talk until their respective affiliations with the Fresno Grizzlies (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and Oakland A’s, respectively, ends. But we all know those rules are discreetly disregarded at times, and with all these agreements ending after the 2014 season, any smart operator is going to be planning for the future.

Interestingly, the River Cats ownership may not have much to complain about with the Athletics as a partner: the team has won seven Pacific Coast League titles since 2000 and led MiLB in attendance eight times. But more is always better when it comes to attendance and sponsorship, and the Giants may have the larger and more loyal fan base. From Susan Slusser:

“If they want the Giants and the Giants want to go there,” a minor-league source said, “there is nothing the A’s can do about it.”

Considering the Giants are blocking the A’s proposed move to San Jose, it would sting even more for the A’s.

“No San Jose and no Sacramento?” a major-league source said. “That’s really sticking it to the A’s.”

In Fresno, the loss of a Giants affiliation is being dealt with calmly:

Though the Grizzlies’ two-year Player Development Contract with the Giants is set to expire at the end of this season, Grizzlies executive vice president Derek Franks expressed confidence the contract would be renewed and that the Fresno club has received no indication the Giants think otherwise.

“We have a pretty strong relationship with the Giants,” Franks said Sunday while speaking for Grizzlies primary owner Chris Cummings, who was out of the country and unavailable for comment.

“We’ve been a Giants affiliate since the club came to Fresno. We have such a strong relationship with them, we don’t give it much thought or have much anxiety.”

The A’s do have a strong farm system, as evidenced by the River Cats’ strong record in recent years.

Here’s a look at the current affiliate status.

RELATED STORIES: Astros, Rangers affiliate shifts likely at end of season?


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