The Richmond Flying Squirrels have finally announced that they have signed a player development agreement to remain the SF Giants Double-A affiliate. While it normally isn’t newsworthy when a minor-league affiliate returns, this winter’s unprecedented minor-league restructuring has left everything up in the air.
Initially, when the Giants officially extended invitations to their affiliates, the Flying Squirrels did not explicitly accept the Giants’ invitation to return as their Double-A affiliate. Instead responding, “We look forward to reviewing the specifics of the invitation and final document.” Now, with an official agreement,
SF Giants Double-A affiliate Richmond Flying Squirrels finalizes agreement.
For Giants fans in the Richmond area, MLB’s interest in bringing affiliates geographically closer to their parent organization made the Washington Nationals an obvious possible problem. The Nationals, though, found an upper minor-league affiliate next season in Rochester, opening the door for the Giants to maintain their relationship with Richmond.
Had the teams parted ways, the Giants Double-A affiliate next season would have very likely been in the Texas League. A move away from the Eastern League (where Richmond is) might have been a welcome change for some fans. The Eastern League is a severely pitcher-friendly environment with expansive ballparks and climates that depress the ball’s flight. Player evaluation of both position players and pitchers has been difficult over the years due to these factors.
Still, Richmond’s facilities have been upgraded, and continuity remains a valuable tool for any organization. Moving to the Texas League would have thrown previous statistical comps for SF Giants prospects at Double-A out the window. Instead, everything will remain the same for fans checking out those Double-A box scores.