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Mets anxious for ease of Chiefs affiliation

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -

Ever since parting ways with the Norfolk Tides in 2006 after 37 years of affiliation, the New York Mets have been trying to find a Triple-A Affiliate close to Queens.  In 2006 there were rumors of the Mets trying to partner with the-then Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (currently the RailRiders), but the Yankees beat them to it.  Then the rumors swirled to Syracuse before the Blue Jays re-signed with the Chiefs which was the obvious move at the time, an affiliation that lasted 30 years.  The Mets settled for two years with the New Orleans Zephyrs.  

They weren't pleased having their highest affiliate father away or in the Pacific Coast League, so after 2008 the search began again.  Syracuse was rumored to be a target again, but the Chiefs signed with the Washington Nationals and the Mets signed with the Buffalo Bisons.  It looked like the Mets had found their home.  After the four year Player Development Contract expired, the two sides parted ways and the Mets were again sent looking for a Triple-A affiliate.  They landed in Las Vegas for the 2013 season.  Now, farther west than ever, the Mets have only signed the minimum two year PDC extension with Las Vegas, continually searching for a team back east to partner with.  This week they took matters into their own hands.

New broke Monday that the Mets purchased the Syracuse Chiefs and will own and operate the team, moving their Triple-A affiliate to Central New York in 2019.  The Mets and Nationals both have PDC agreements with the Las Vegas 51s and Chiefs, respectively, through 2018. 

This is a great move for the organization.  Not only will it help the big club shuttle players back and froth between the majors and Triple-A, but it will help the farm system as well.  On a regular basis players go up and down between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas, moves that involve driving players to  or picking players up at the airport at odd hours.  Starting in 2019 the players can drive themselves if they so choose.  Also, the baseball aspect plays an important role. 

"The logistics will be greatly simplified - distance, it's not just proximity, but also from a baseball stand point - playing conditions, climate, weather, a variety of things that are more comparable here than they would be in Las Vegas to the conditions we have at Citi Field," said Mets GM Sandy Alderson.  From a baseball standpoint, for a team located on the East Coast, particularly for a team in New York, this would be an ideal spot."

It's common knowledge among baseball that player stats in the Pacific Coast League are not necessarily accurate representations of a players ability.  Due to the higher elevations, hotter temperatures, and drier air offensive statistics are often inflated.  On the flip sides, pitchers don't usually like looking at their numbers as ERAs and HR totals are higher than they would typically like, or see if they played back east.  For the Mets and their players, moving to Syracuse will be a blessing.

Details of the sale, including price paid for the Chiefs and who approached who, were not made public.  The Chiefs are currently publicly owned and the sale is pending a vote by the stockholders.  That vote will take place November 17.

The agreement struck between the Mets and New York State runs through at least 2025.