We’ve got a major shake-up in the PCL, as six of the 16 teams will have different major league affiliates for 2015.
This was the biggest affiliation shuffle in the Pacific Coast League in many years – and it all went down in just three days. Here are the teams that changed affiliates:
- SACRAMENTO – was Oakland A’s, now San Francisco Giants
- FRESNO – was San Francisco Giants, now Houston Astros
- OKLAHOMA CITY – was Houston Astros, now Los Angeles Dodgers
- ALBUQUERQUE – was Los Angeles Dodgers, now Colorado Rockies
- COLORADO SPRINGS – was Colorado Rockies, now Milwaukee Brewers
- NASHVILLE – was Milwaukee Brewers, now Oakland A’s
I have received enough questions to clarify this: the Triple-A players are all employees of the major league teams. That means that a player who has been with Sacramento seemingly forever – for example, Daric Barton – will now suit up for the Nashville Sounds (assuming the A’s re-sign him for 2015). The guys who were in Fresno this year like Gary Brown and Adam Duvall and Chris Heston will be Sacramento River Cats next year. The coaching staffs move, too: if Dwight Bernard remains the SF Giants Triple-A pitching coach next year, he’ll be stationed in Sacramento instead of Fresno.
Radio broadcasters, clubhouse managers, PCL general managers, sales reps, ushers, ticket takers… they all stay in the same minor league city, because they work for the minor league team.
It doesn’t appear that any PCL teams need to re-brand themselves with their new affiliate, so we probably won’t have any team name changes.* If the Iowa Cubs had changed this would have been an issue, but they stayed with Chicago.
So, how does all of this affect the Tacoma Rainiers in 2015?
First off, the Rainiers will remain with the Seattle Mariners. The four-year Tacoma-Seattle agreement from Fall 2010 expired two weeks ago, but before it expired the sides agreed to extend for a currently unknown number of years which will be announced soon.
The big change will be on the field for 2015 and beyond: the Rainiers will no longer regularly play against Oakland A’s affiliates.
This is both good and bad.
Oakland always puts a winner on the field in Triple-A, and that winner will be in the American-South division now. This theoretically makes it a lot easier for Tacoma to win the Pacific-North.
On the other hand, Mariners prospects will not face Oakland prospects in Triple-A all of the time anymore. Now when Oakland brings in a rookie reliever to face a young Mariners batter, the two will not have faced each other multiple times in Triple-A. With Oakland in Nashville, the Mariners and A’s Triple-A players will square off in just one four-game series each PCL season.
Here’s a look at Tacoma’s division, the Pac-North:
- Tacoma (Seattle Mariners)
- Reno (Arizona Diamondbacks)
- Sacramento (San Francisco Giants)
- Fresno (Houston Astros)
It should be noted that the Houston Astros farm system is currently very strong, so the Fresno Grizzlies will no longer be the pushover they have been for the past 15 years. Meanwhile the SF Giants have a long history of fielding bad Triple-A teams, so Sacramento fans may have to get accustomed to that.
It’s going to take a while for all of us to get used to these new affiliations. Memorizing all of these gives me something to work on during the off-season!
- This entire affiliation shuffle started with Sacramento making a decision to change. Here’s the story on how it all went down.
- While losing the Giants is a bummer to Fresno, local columnist Marek W. writes that there is a plus side: the Fresno Grizzlies might actually win baseball games now. Fresno’s mayor unsuccessfully tried to save the Giants affiliation. The Grizzlies are happy to have the Astros, and the Fresno club is still for sale. Fan opinion is mixed. To welcome the Houston Astros to Fresno, we have seven things the Houston Astros need to learn about Fresno.
- After 22 seasons the Rockies pulled out of Colorado Springs, resulting in this rip job from Colorado Springs Gazette columnist David Ramsey. While everybody said the right things, the Brewers and Colorado Springs got stuck with each other.
- The story from The Tennessean says it all when it comes to the seemingly awkward Nashville – Oakland marriage. Nashville wants a winner as they move into their new ballpark and Oakland always wins in Triple-A, and the A’s want the benefits of the new ballpark for their players. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers feel like they got a raw deal by getting the boot from the Nashville Sounds.
- The news story on the Dodgers moving to Oklahoma City has reaction from new owner (and movie mogul) Peter Guber. The paper even went out and found some Dodgers fans who live in Oklahoma.
- The agreement between the Colorado Rockies and Albuquerque Isotopes is for four years. The Rockies confirmed that the reason they moved to Albuquerque was the quality of the ballpark there.
- The Mariners had a must-win game yesterday, and they won it – in somewhat terrifying fashion, but they won it.
- Taijuan Walker is going to get some starts down the stretch, we learn from Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook.
- For a long Friday read, here’s a story on former Portland Beavers shortstop Khalil Greene and his “disappearance” from the game.
I just went out to the mailbox and found an issue of ESPN The Magazine in there… with former Rainiers outfielder Adam Jones on the cover. Nice!
* feel free to go for it anyway, Sacramento.