This morning’s festivities in Buffalo will complete the player development shuffle on the Triple-A level. The Bisons will welcome the Mets to town amid much fanfare, with New York governor David Paterson, Mets owner Fred Wilpon and GM Omar Minaya expected to be on hand.
The other pieces of the Triple-A puzzle fell into place over the weekend when Syracuse and the Nationals, the Marlins and New Orleans, and the Blue Jays and Las Vegas each agreed to player-development contracts.
Las Vegas hardly seems to be welcoming the Blue Jays with open arms. Still stinging by the departure of the Dodgers, which obviously was a better geographic fit with a base of fans already in place in Las Vegas, 51s president Don Logan accepted the relationship for what it is: a last resort.
"It is what it is. We’re going to make the most of it," Logan told the Las Vegas Review Journal. "Obviously there are a lot more Dodgers fans here than Blue Jays fans . . . but we’re going to try to do some more things promotionally, and we want to grow the business."
Blue Jays farm director Dick Scott tried to put a positive spin on the situation, but the fact remains that Toronto was not the top choice for either Syracuse (who sought the Mets but settled for the Nationals) or Las Vegas (who clearly wanted to re-up with the Dodgers).
"We’re excited about it and think it’s going to be a good fit," Scott to the RJ. "I don’t want it to appear like there was nobody left and we had to pair up with each other. I think it will be a good situation, and we’re going to make the best of it."
No word on the 14 remaining unsigned affiliates. In Double-A, the Giants, Reds and Yankees still need a home with Connecticut, Trenton and Carolina available. Published reports have long indicated that the Yankees’ re-uping with Trenton was just a matter of time, but the delay does raise some questions.
The question in high Class A is who gets the final Carolina League slot? Seemingly the Astros and incumbent White Sox seem the best candidate for still vacant Winston-Salem, which debuts a new ballpark next season. The Dodgers, Giants, Mariners also remain unsigned with four open markets in the California League: High Desert, Inland Empire, Lancaster and San Jose.
Three low Class A markets remain available, though the Brewers and Wisconsin seem on course to sign. That would leave the Mariners and Rangers still standing, with Clinton and Hickory open.
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