Following brief stints in New Orleans (2007-2008) and Buffalo (2009-2012), the Mets' Triple-A affiliate has seemingly found a home in the desert of Las Vegas. While it certainly isn't ideal having their top minor league club a five-hour flight from their major league team, it appears that New York will extend their partnership with a new two-year Player Development Contract with the Las Vegas 51s through 2016.
Speaking at Las Vegas's Cashman Field last week, GM Sandy Alderson left little doubt that New York's Triple-A affiliation in Sin City would continue.
"That’s a very strong possibility. We have a great relationship with the 51s organization. I’ve known (team president) Don Logan a long time, and he runs an excellent operation."
After enjoying a long and successful 37-season partnership with Tidewater/Norfolk (1969-2006), the Mets have been forced to affiliate with two Pacific Coast League franchises in four of the last eight seasons, a trend that looks like it will continue for at least another two years due to a lack of available options farther East.
Las Vegas skipper Wally Backman understands the preference to be closer to New York, but he has also enjoyed his time with the 51s.
"I’m sure the Mets would like to have us on the East Coast, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. And if we can’t be there, in my opinion this is the best place to be. I would like to see them come back here. I’ve got a real good feeling we’re gonna be back. I don’t know that for sure, but I think we’ll be back."
Though the distance may be a detriment, the 51s have enjoyed success in their brief two-year stint as the Mets' Triple-A affiliate, compiling a 160-123 (.565) record in 2013 and 2014, including consecutive PCL Southern Division titles.