The Fresno Grizzlies will remain the Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate for another two years, sources said.
A formal announcement is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at Chukchansi Park. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is expected to attend.
The news conference was scheduled for Friday but pushed back because of what the Grizzlies said was a “travel-related issue.”
Fresno has enjoyed two of its best years since joining the Astros’ farm system for the 2015 season, with Houston stocked with a wealth of highly regarded prospects.
After enduring losing seasons in 12 of 17 years as a San Francisco Giants affiliate, the Fresno Grizzlies captured the Triple-A National Championship last year as a Houston Astros affiliate and are contending for playoff spot again this season.
The Grizzlies captured the Triple-A National and Pacific Coast League championships last year and are in contention to make the playoffs again this season.
Fresno manager Tony DeFrancesco is a 13-year Triple-A veteran – the past six in the Houston chain after seven with then-Oakland affiliate Sacramento – and has won four PCL titles and reached the playoffs eight times.
The Grizzlies had operated as the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A affiliate from their inception in 1998 through 2014, playing a role in three World Series title runs.
But the Giants’ farm system lacked the steady talent supply and depth that the Astros have provided. The Grizzlies suffered through 12 losing seasons in their first 17 years.
7 Triple-A franchises, including the Grizzlies, facing expiring player development contracts entering the 2016 season
Entering this year, the Grizzlies were one of seven Triple-A franchises that had expiring player-development contracts. But it’s unclear if the Grizzlies or Astros considered finding different partners.
All five of California’s major-league clubs are signed with their Triple-A affiliates through at least 2018.
The Grizzlies rank ninth in the PCL with an average attendance of 5,765 at their 12,500-seat downtown stadium. Fresno averaged 6,457 last season in its first year with the Astros.
Fresno Grizzlies year-by-year
Won-loss record for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, with the first 17 seasons as a San Francisco Giants affiliate and the past two with the Houston Astros.
- 1998: 81-62*
- 1999: 73-69
- 2000: 57-84
- 2001: 68-71
- 2002: 57-87
- 2003: 55-88
- 2004: 62-82
- 2005: 68-76
- 2006: 61-83
- 2007: 77-67
- 2008: 67-76
- 2009: 71-73
- 2010: 75-69
- 2011: 65-79
- 2012: 74-70
- 2013: 68-75
- 2014: 68-76
- 2015: 84-59**
- 2016: 63-53***
**won PCL, Triple-A National titles
***with 25 games remaining entering Friday