The Oakland Athletics have been involved in quite a bit of moving and shaking, and only some of it has involved their performance on the field.
In May, reports surfaced that the Sacramento River Cats, the A’s triple-A affiliate at the time, were considering switching affiliation to the San Francisco Giants upon completion of its Player Development Contract with the A’s.
Well, after 15 seasons with the A’s, the River Cats announced that they would be switching affiliation to the Giants. Meaning Oakland would need to find a triple-A affiliate for next season.
The A’s, clearly prepared for the relationship to end, signed a four year PDC agreement with the Nashville Sounds. The Sounds opted to change big league clubs after its deal with the Milwaukee Brewers expired.
From a baseball perspective, Oakland absolutely preferred Sacramento as an affiliate due to its proximity to the Bay Area. But from a business point of view, Nashville could be an increasingly profitable arrangement. The A’s first season with Nashville coincides with the Sounds opening a new state-of-the-art ballpark that seats around 10,000 fans. Moreover, with direct flights going in and out of a major city like Nashville, player movement will be more convenient than other remote minor league affiliates.
With benefits like that, some are left to wonder if Oakland actually upgraded with its new Nashville affiliate.