Houston Astros split from Fresno, look for new affiliation for 2019

FRESNO, California -- The Houston Astros will have a new Minor League Baseball affiliate in 2019, after four years of serving as the Fresno Grizzlies' MLB affiliate.

"Affiliation shifts are more the rule than the exception. It's often inevitable," said Grizzlies president Derek Franks. "It was truly a thrill to be welcomed into the 'Astros family' as Houston called it in 2015. We respect their decision, and understood when we first signed with them it was likely the relationship would last only four seasons."

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The Grizzlies wrapped up their 2018 season with a loss to the Memphis Redbirds Saturday in the Pacific Coast League championship. They had a franchise record four consecutive winning seasons as the Astros affiliate and won an MiLB championship in 2015.

But word around the league is the Astros want their AAA team closer to home and they've been involved in negotiations to possibly move back to Round Rock, near Austin, where they called home from 2000 to 2010.

"We appreciate the excellent partnership we have had with the Fresno Grizzlies for the past four seasons," said Reid Ryan, the president of business operations for the Astros. "We sincerely thank everyone in the organization and the community of Fresno for their unwavering support for the Houston Astros - they were key partners through our rebuild and World Series Championship season. We look forward to the next chapter and will announce our next MLB affiliate prior to the end of the month."

Ryan's younger brother Reese is the CEO of the Round Rock team.

San Antonio could also be a potential target for the Houston Astros' new AAA affiliate.
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