WASHINGTON -- Triple-A manager Wally Backman told Bisons beat writer Mike Harrington that the Mets are expecting to be booted from Buffalo at season's end, after a four-year player-development affiliation.
"It's a shame for us, really," Backman told Harrington in the Buffalo News. "Buffalo is a great city but I don't envision us coming back, from the things I've heard from the grapevine."
A source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that Backman's assessment is "not far off."
This would mark the second time in recent years the Mets have been booted by their Triple-A affiliate.
They had a four-decade relationship severed by Norfolk after the 2006 season because the Tides became disenchanted with the quality of the product and the attention given by the Mets.
The Norfolk departure led to the Mets ending up with New Orleans in the West Coast-dominated Pacific Coast League for two seasons. That geographic dynamic makes it more challenging for the Mets to get players quickly to the major league club.
Buffalo presumably would align with the Blue Jays. That potentially would leave the Mets in the PCL with Las Vegas, which is Toronto's current affiliate. (MLB clubs cannot place a team anywhere; they have to affiliate with an existing Triple-A market.)
Since Buffalo received disproportionate media/marketing attention from being affiliated with a New York ballclub, dumping the Mets is a major rebuke of the organization.
The Bisons' attendance steadily has decreased, with Buffalo struggling to win during the four-year relationship. With a loss Sunday to Pawtucket, Buffalo has a .456 winning percentage (255-304) in four seasons as a Mets affiliate.