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Mets to leave Las Vegas 51s after '18 season, but bigger deal is stadium vote Tuesday

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In what was described as one of the worst kept secrets in the baseball world, the New York Mets will no longer be the parent club for the Las Vegas 51s after next season.

The Mets are expected to make an official announcement Tuesday that they will end their player development contract with the Class AAA Las Vegas 51s when it expires at the end of the 2018 season. The teams have been affiliated for five seasons.

The website, Syracuse.com, reports that two sources said the Mets have “reached an agreement to buy the Syracuse Chiefs and make the International League baseball team its top minor league affiliate.”

The 51s will have to reach a deal with another major league team for the 2019 season, but their management is not worried.

Las Vegas 51s president and COO Don Logan said Monday that the 51s will seek a new MLB affiliate and expect to have one in place by the 2019-2020 season.

"It's not a big deal," 51s spokesman Jim Gemma told News 3 on Monday. "We don't want the Mets to leave because it has been a great relationship for five seasons, but it makes sense for them to have their Triple AAA team closer to them."

The bigger deal for the 51s is a possible vote Tuesday by the Las Vegas Convention Visitors Authority to award naming rights for a proposed Summerlin stadium to be the new home of the 51s within a few years.

The LVCVA Board of Directors is scheduled to discuss and possibly approve a 20-year deal for the naming rights for a proposed stadium in Summerlin that would be adjacent to the Las Vegas Golden Knights practice facility. The LVCVA would pay $4 million a year to the 51s as part of the deal.

The owners of the 51s have been seeking a new stadium since they took over the club about two seasons ago. Financing has been the major roadblock, but that may soon be resolved.

"If the LVCVA votes for it, we believe everything else (for the stadium) goes forward in a positive direction."

As for the new parent team, Gemma praised the Mets but said the Pacific Coast League is guaranteed a franchise for Las Vegas.

"We will have a new major league affiliate," Gemma said. "There is a two-week window after the season in mid-September next year for reaching a deal with a new team."

Gemma pointed out that Las Vegas has a great track record for developing minor league players into Major League performers, nothing that about half of the players in the Mets 2015 World Series team played in Las Vegas.

Before the Mets deal began five seasons ago, the 51s were affiliated with the Toronto BlueJays and before that the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"The Mets have been a good brand for us," Gemma said. "We don't want them to leave, but it makes sense geographical to have their top minor league team closer to New York."

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