Mets to be Booted from Buffalo, likely headed to Vegas

By Steven InmanImage

The Mets have been keeping their triple AAA affiliate in associated with the Buffalo Bisons for the past 4 years but apparently sources say that affiliation is about to end. The Bisons have been frustrated with the Mets for years for failing to field a quality Triple AAA team. The few position player prospects the Mets have had in the last few years (Tejada, Davis, and Murphy) spent little to no time in Triple A. It’s uncommon for players to skip Triple AAA all together but because of a lot of injuries at the big league clubs minor league guys have been taken away from Buffalo. Players such as Vinny Rottino and Omar Quintanilla were very successful in buffalo but are no longer with the Mets or the bisons, further frustrating Buffalo. Bisons manager Wally Backman admitted this would be the Mets last year being associated with the Buffalo Bisons “It’s a shame for us, really. Buffalo is a great city but I don’t envision us coming back, from the things I’ve heard from the grapevine.”

This would be the Mets 3rd Triple AAA franchise in the last 7 years. After the Mets were kicked out of Norfolk they went all the way to the Pacific Coast League to New Orleans for two years and then spent the next 4 in Buffalo. There are 30 minor league franchises like the 30 major league ones so if Buffalo kicks the Mets out they can’t just make their own Triple AAA team they have to go to an already preexisting one. There are only 30 businesses in America licensed to run AAA teams, 14 in the International League and 16 in the Pacific Coast League. All 30 of those AAA teams are guaranteed a player development contract with a big league affiliate. The Bisons are rumored to want to go to the Toronto Blue Jays and the feeling appears to be mutual. Blue Jays play in Las Vegas which is known to be the worst place to develop young pitchers. The Jays have really struggled to develop their own pitching leading to their downfall at the mlb level this season.

Vegas is just an awful place to develop pitching. The ball flies and the infield is baked into a hard surface. The Pacific Coast League averages .279/.346/.432. At home, the Las Vegas 51s have hit .313/.386/.487. Yikes. Imagine how the Mets would be able to develop young pitchers like Zack Wheeler when the average player hits .313. You will have Mets pitchers coming straight from Double AA, less sure than ever if they are ready for the show. If you do decide to send top pitchers to Las Vegas, you have to worry about their confidence if they struggle at home. The ballpark plays like “Coors Field +Yankee Stadium on Steroids” and it will also have hitting prospects putting up just ridiculous numbers and team brass will be unsure if they are ready. Finally if the Mets need a call up right away Buffalo isn’t too far but now in Las Vegas it will be very difficult to get a call up to Queens by game times more often than not.  It also hurts the front offices ability to scout players if they are much further away. The Las Vegas 51’s appear to be the only “free agent” minor league franchise available to the Mets.

The reason this is happening is because the Mets have failed to develop a quality farm system for a long time now. Every organization needs top prospects but it appears that once the Mets find one they are rushed immediately to the big leagues, whether they are ready or not.  The Mets have only begun to slow their prospects down in the last year or so when Sandy Alderson took over as General Manager. Player development contracts are for two years or four years so ideally the Mets go to Vegas for two years, Sandy Alderson develops the farm system again and the Mets will become an attractive location again to International League Clubs like Buffalo.

Image  The Mets should team up with the Jets, much like the Yankees and Nets did.  Because both the Mets and the Jets have made an art of “fouling things up,” for most of their teams history.  Because the Mets have failed to field a “quality”  AAA team, the Mets affiliation with Buffalo will end.  It looks like the Mets AAA affiliate will be in Las Vegas.  If this does not work, the Mets are interested in New Zealand, so their players, when brought up, can fly half=way around the world.  EDB


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