The Las Vegas 51s will continue to be the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate through at least 2018, as per the terms of a new agreement. The Mets’ partnership with the 51s dates back to 2013.
Though there are probably some benefits to being in Las Vegas, they are easily outweighed by the myriad negatives. The most obvious downside to having a Triple-A team on the opposite side of the country is the added travel time; it is possible for an emergency call-up to miss a major league game because their flight didn’t arrive in time. Hopefully frequent call-ups like T.J. Rivera and Ty Kelly don’t have any John-Madden-like aversions to flying.
Complaints more specific to Las Vegas include the fact that the Pacific Coast League skews strongly in favor of offense, as well as with the fact that Cashman Field is a hitter’s paradise on top of that. For a team that has built its success on strong pitching, having their highest proving ground for pitching prospects take place in an environment that is not conducive to pitching seems counterintuitive. But at least the 100-degree desert air is refreshing.
From 1969 to 2006, the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate had been the Tidewater/Norfolk Tides, until that relationship disintegrated and the Mets’ Triple-A squad bounced around from New Orleans, to Buffalo, to Las Vegas. There had been some hope that the Mets could find a more convenient Triple-A affiliate, but once the Rochester Red Wings re-upped their deal with the Twins, that optimism evaporated.