Four seasons in Las Vegas is more than enough for the New York Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.
On Monday the Mets played three players short, unable to recall able-bodied players in time for the game. This offseason, the Mets contract with their distant Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, is up, lining them up perfectly for a change.
The Rochester Red Wings, the Twins Triple-A affiliate, has an expiring contract as well. Rochester, a city in upstate New York, is only a 1.5-hour flight into the city, opposed to the 5.5-hour flight from Vegas.
Playing in Las Vegas has been tough on the Mets prospects, with the ripe hitting climates inflating numbers, thus making it harder for the Mets front office to evaluate their players. The conditions have had the same effect on pitching prospects, making it harder for them to continue pitching at high levels.
The switch to Las Vegas would not be unbearable for the Twins organization as the flight time only increases from around two to three hours. The 51s organization has already spent time with the Twins, as their Triple-A affiliate out of Portland, in 1971.
The Mets move would make sense for the Red Wings organization as well. Currently, the organization does not see too many Minnesota fans making the long trek out to the stadium but playing in the same market as the big league ball club could change that.
The close proximity to the big league ball club would undoubtedly increase their attendance with Mets fans across the state coming in to see the current crop of prospects.
The Phillies are an example of a franchise who keeps its Triple-A affiliate nearby. The Iron Pigs play in Lehigh Valley, a short ride out from Philadelphia, and have seen very high attendance numbers.
Since they came into existence in 2008, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs have ranked in the top five in average game attendance in the International League.
Rochester has been paired with the Twins since 2003, so it could be challenging for the Mets to break the tight bond. If Sandy Alderson and the front office could break such a bond, it would be a tremendous lift for the team in the future.
Terry Collins would no longer be stuck throwing Seth Lugo, who pitched three innings two days prior, in the tenth inning, with multiple severely injured players on the active roster.
If the Mets Triple-A affiliate was in New York, there is a good chance that they don’t lose that close game against the Yankees on Monday night.
It is the front office’s job this offseason to make sure such a similar situation does not arise again.