The Nationals are looking for a new Triple-A home for the 2019 season following the Mets’ announcement they will take over in Syracuse after the upcoming campaign.
The Mets will be leaving Las Vegas after the 2018 season, and the 51s have a new stadium for their new team come 2019 in the nearby Summerlin neighborhood, which is in the northwestern part of the city.
According to Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Nationals and Brewers appear to be at least two of the clubs looking for a new Triple-A home in 2019. Fresno, Calif., is also expected to be available. The Astros are currently in Fresno, but are likely to head to Round Rock, Texas. The Rangers are in Round Rock and are expected to head to San Antonio, which is replacing Colorado Springs, Colo., as a Triple-A venue.
With all the cities that could be available, the most obvious choice geographically for the Nats is Nashville, Tenn., home of a Pacific Coast League franchise. But the Nashville Sounds are currently in agreement with the Oakland A’s and have had no comment on the possibilities for 2019 until at least the end of August:
“The Sounds have not been contacted by any MLB organizations about a possible affiliation,” said a Sounds spokesperson. “Per MLB and MiLB rules, teams are not allowed to have those discussions until they notify the Office of the Commissioner and to the President of the Minor League Association. That comes after the end of the championship season.”
Helfand confirms that Oakland and Nashville have a great relationship and the A’s possibly moving to Las Vegas may not be so obvious to them. Milwaukee used to be in Nashville, but apparently that relationship did not end well. Helfand told me the A’s are “happy in Nashville and didn’t want to move to Las Vegas,” as of right now.
Of course, the current state of affairs can change. Maybe Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo can convince his counterpart with the A’s Billy Beane to help his buddy out and move the Oakland’s Triple-A franchise to the more geographically advantageous Las Vegas, allowing the Nats to go to Nashville.
Fresno and even Reno, Nev., will be vacant, but if that’s the choice, you would think the Nats would prefer the brand new facility in Bryce Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas.
From what the Sounds press release intimates, a decision is not necessary until at least August or September, so there is still time to see how this plays out. It could be the Nats might like Las Vegas and only have to make a two-year commitment. But it certainly won’t be as easy to get a player quickly to and from Nevada as it was to and from Syracuse these past few seasons.