Giants invite 4 Minor League affiliates

December 9th, 2020

The road to the Majors will look slightly different for Giants prospects who join the organization beginning next year.

As part of a restructuring of Minor League Baseball, the Giants announced Wednesday that they’ve extended invitations to four clubs to serve as their affiliates in 2021. If the invitations are accepted, the Giants will retain their Triple-A and Double-A affiliates, the Sacramento River Cats and the Richmond Flying Squirrels, respectively, and shift their Class A Advanced club to the Eugene Emeralds in Oregon, with the San Jose Giants dropping to the Class A level.

“It’s a privilege to extend invitations to the four communities in Sacramento, Richmond, Eugene and San Jose to become our affiliates under Major League Baseball’s new player development structure,” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said in a statement. “Our affiliate relationships with Sacramento, Richmond and San Jose have provided outstanding player development environments while producing many on-field successes. We’re excited to now have the opportunity to develop the same type of rewarding partnership with Eugene.”

With Short Season affiliates eliminated, the Giants lost their official ties to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, who were among the 40 Minor League clubs cut as part of the shakeup. The Augusta GreenJackets, the organization’s former Class A affiliate, will be associated with the Braves.

The changes mean that three of the four Giants’ affiliates will now be located on the West Coast. Richmond is the exception, as there are no Double-A leagues west of Texas.

Eugene had served as the Cubs’ Short Season affiliate in the Northwest League for the last six seasons. The Giants have partnered with Eugene in the past, as they served as the club’s first Minor League affiliate from 1959-1962.

“As we look to the next chapter of Ems Baseball, we are excited at the prospect of being a San Francisco Giants affiliate,” Emeralds general manager Allan Benavides said in a statement. “There is no denying the San Francisco Giants reputation in player development. They have dominated the Northwest League for years winning five League titles since 1998. Just knowing the sheer amount of Giants fans in the greater Eugene market, we know this will be a game-changer for Ems fans. At the end of the day, we are just incredibly eager to get back on the field and showcase our award-winning gameday experience for our fans at PK Park next year.”