The Sacramento River Cats, a Triple-A minor league franchise, are one of four teams invited Wednesday to join the San Francisco Giants’ system.
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<ins>Chris Allan/ 
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The Sacramento River Cats, a Triple-A minor league franchise, are one of four teams invited Wednesday to join the San Francisco Giants’ system. Chris Allan/ Shutterstock

Giants, A’s send invites to minor-league affiliates

TheGiantsandA’smadesignificantchangestotheirlineupsWednesday,butnotthetypethatwillgetfanssalivatingaboutareturntotheplayoffs.

Instead, the two Bay Area teams — in conjunction with the 28 other Major League Baseball franchises — announced the set of teams who have been invited to be in their minor-league system beginning with the 2021 season.

It is part of a movement by MLB to streamline and reorganize the minors, which are a development and feeder system for the major-league teams. All but one of the 30 MLB teams extended invitations to four minor-league franchises, which now must review and accept the rules MLB has set up for the affiliates to join the new system.

The Colorado Rockies were the only team not to offer a Low A invite as Fresno debates whether to drop from Triple-A to Low Class A. If not, Lancaster will be the Rockies’ affiliate in the California League.

The Giants will have Sacramento at Triple-A, Richmond at Double-A, Eugene at High Class A and San Jose at Low Class A. The biggest change is the addition of Eugene and the subtraction of Augusta and Salem-Keizer. Every franchise will also have a rookie-level affiliate based out of its spring training home.

Eugene has previously been a member of the short-season Class A Northwest League and affiliated with the Chicago Cubs. It comes back to the Giants’ organization after being a San Francisco affiliate from 1959-62. Augusta was invited by the Atlanta Braves to be their Low-A team, while Salem-Keizer was not one of the 119 teams extended an invitation to be affiliated with an MLB franchise.

Giants fans will also note the change in classification for San Jose. The California League has been dropped from High Class A to Low Class A.

For the A’s, their lineup is composed of Triple-A Las Vegas, Double-A Midland, High Class A Lansing and Low Class A Stockton. The change for the A’s comes with Lansing joining the system and Beloit lining up with the Miami Marlins as the Midwest League jumps to High Class A. Vermont, previously a short-season team for the A’s, did not get an invite. Lansing had previously been in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system.

The move to streamline the minors was made based on a number of factors, including stadium quality and shortening travel. MLB eliminated 40 franchises, with 11 who had been affiliates previously not receiving invites. Two independent teams, St. Paul and Sugar Land, are now affiliated. MLB has also created two new leagues that are unaffiliated to ease the pain of cities losing their relationships with MLB teams.

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