For the past five years, the New York Mets have been stuck with a Triple-A affiliate they had no interest in. After losing a game of musical chairs, the Mets were forced from Buffalo to Las Vegas, widely regarded as having one of the worst facilities in the minor leagues. The shotgun marriage created numerous problems for the Mets, both logistical (making it difficult for them to make roster moves with their top minor league team nearly 3,000 miles away) and developmental (the ridiculously hitter friendly environment at outdated Cashman Field makes it difficult for the team to evaluate its top prospects). The Mets are set to get out of the bad situation after next season thanks to a purchase agreement to buy a Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, Marc Carig of Newsday reports.
The agreement, which was first reported by Syracuse.com, will take effect in time for the 2019 season. The move gives the Mets the ability to operate the Syracuse Chiefs, a Triple-A franchise that has struggled at the gate in recent years. The Mets will have the ability to upgrade existing LBT Stadium, a big incentive for them after their status as tenants didn’t allow them to upgrade Cashman Field. The deal will also give the Mets control of three of their minor league affiliates, with the others being the short season Brooklyn Cyclones and High-A St. Lucie. It also gives the Mets three minor league franchises in the state of New York, including their two top affiliates in Syracuse (in 2019) and AA Binghamton.
This move will also bump the Washington Nationals out of Syracuse. The Nationals have had an affiliate agreement with Syracuse since 2009, but with the Mets taking ownership of the affiliate they will need to find a new home for their Triple-A team. This purchase will likely start a new wave of scrambling for franchises looking to avoid getting stuck in Las Vegas. The Mets have learned the hard way that Las Vegas isn’t a great situation for an East Coast based franchise, and now they finally figured out how to get out.