Leading Off

Leading Off: No matter affiliation, they’ll be River Cats

The River Cats on Monday wrapped up their 15th season in Sacramento – all as the A’s Triple-A affiliate – with a winning record for the 14th time.

Despite losing four of their last five games against the Reno Aces and failing to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season and just the fourth time, the River Cats were 79-65, the fourth-best record in the Pacific Coast League. They also led the PCL in attendance again, averaging 8,561 fans. While that doesn’t come close to the 12,516 they averaged in 2001, it was the best since 2010.

The biggest question in the offseason is what they will do when their four-year contract with the A’s expires Sept. 30.

Various reports based on “unnamed sources” say the River Cats will switch to the Giants, with some suggesting the A’s will move their Triple-A team to Nashville and the Milwaukee Brewers will affiliate with the Fresno Grizzlies.

No one’s talking on the record because of the threat of fines under baseball’s tampering rules, but no matter the affiliation, the team will be the River Cats.

River Cats general manager Jeff Savage made that clear Tuesday, though he said he couldn’t specifically address the reports.

“That’s a misconception,” Savage said. “Even if there is a change, we’ll still be the River Cats.”

Savage explained that the players, coaches and managers work for the big-league club, while the front-office staff is employed by the River Cats.

No matter the affiliation, Savage is looking forward to the River Cats’ 16th season at Raley Field.

The team is adding the “Legacy Club,” a premium suite overlooking left field that also will be available to rent for special events.

Even better for average fans, parking in general lots will be free next season.

Tom Couzens


Today’s poll

With which major-league team should the River Cats be affiliated?

• A’s

• Giants

• It doesn’t matter

To vote, go to sacbee.com/sports

Poll results

How concerned are you about the 49ers?

• Very; they have not looked good: 31%

• Somewhat; still a lot of talent: 37%

• Not at all; preseason means nothing: 32%

Total results: 565

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