Athletics could lose Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento to the Giants


Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics could lose the Sacramento River Cats, their Triple-A affiliate, to the Giants after the season. The Athletics’ affiliate agreement with Sacramento expires after the season, coinciding with the Giants’ deal with the Fresno Grizzlies, their Triple-A affiliate, expiring as well.

Slusser notes that Sacramento is considered one of the better minor league cities to play in and the River Cats play in one of the best stadiums in the minors. It would certainly hurt the Athletics’ ability to reign in free agents looking to make it back to the big leagues. The Giants are comparatively a more attractive partner given the market in which they play.

The Giants and A’s have some recent history with each other, as the Giants blocked the Athletics’ attempt to move to San Jose. The River Cats joining forces with the Giants would just be more salt in the wound for the Athletics.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.