Bisons Close to Affiliation Deal with Blue Jays, Familia to Continue Relieving

By Matt Musico

Unlike Binghamton and Savannah, the Mets were not able to agree on an affiliation agreement with the Buffalo Bisons before that window closed, and it looks as if New York’s Triple-A affiliate will be playing in a different city and league for the 2013 season. It had been rumored that the Blue Jays, who housed their Triple-A team in Las Vegas, are going to be moving their squad to Buffalo, leaving the Sin City open for the Mets.

Sunday marked the earliest time teams could speak with Triple-A teams regarding PDAs, and Toronto is already in discussions with the Bisons; Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News tweeted yesterday that it’s a formality for the two sides to come to an agreement, as it’s just a matter of whether the agreement will be two years or four years. Adam Rubin reported a few weeks back that MLB teams are only able to move their Triple-A affiliates to established cities with teams, and since the Jays are the only other team that are moving markets, that means the Mets will have to start negotiating and agree on a deal with the Las Vegas 51s.

September 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the eighth inning at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Mets 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

After their 20+ years with the Norfolk Tides came to a close, New York was hoping they would be able to have a good long-term relationship with Buffalo so they could keep their minor league affiliates on the east coast. Now, it will be a little more difficult for players who get called up to make the trip over to Flushing when someone goes on the disabled list. We took for granted how quick a trip it was for Jordany Valdespin to make his numerous treks from Buffalo to New York, and those players will now have to deal with a much longer flight and a time change when they get called up. It’s a small detail, but it’s something that could affect players and the strategy of the coaching staff if they need to add players to the taxi squad.

Originally, Terry Collins was planning on giving Jeurys Familia a start on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, but that won’t be happening anymore. Although he went 9-9 with a 4.73 ERA in 28 starts for Buffalo this season, the Mets coaches and front office project him as a reliever in the long-term, which he’s been doing since he was called up earlier this month. In 4 games and 5 innings of work, Familia owns a 3.60 ERA and has struck out 5 hitters. Instead of giving him a start and changing his entire routine, they’ve decided to stay with the current plan.

My question is, why don’t they do that with Jenrry Mejia? If they feel that he’ll end up being in the bullpen for the Mets next year and beyond (which they do), then they shouldn’t be giving him starts this month. It’s understandable to have the urge to start him because he owned a 2.75 ERA in 10 starts this season in Buffalo, but they’re once again messing with his development by taking him out of the bullpen. It leads me to believe that the front office wants to build his trade value so he’ll look attractive to other teams over the winter, especially since Collin McHugh‘s last two starts haven’t matched his 7 dominant innings and 9 strikeouts against the Rockies in his MLB debut.

It’s good that Collins won’t be moving Familia out of the bullpen, but it makes no sense as to why they would be cautious with his development, yet throw caution to the wind in regards to Mejia’s situation. It leads me to believe that Mejia won’t be with the organization much longer, whereas they see Familia as a part of the team’s future.