The New York Mets will keep the core of their MiLB affiliates in place for 2021 and beyond, with the only change adding the Brooklyn Cyclones as a new full-season affiliate, replacing the Columbia Fireflies (Low A; Sally League).
New/returning Mets President Sandy Alderson made the announcement today at a press conference where Steve Cohen made his debut as the new Mets owner.
With the move of the Florida State League from a High-A to a Low-A league, there was a conflict between the Fireflies and the Mets-owned St. Lucie Mets, which will become the Mets’ Low-A affiliate. We do not expect this to be a situation like the Trenton Thunder where the Fireflies lose affiliation completely; the player facilities at Segra Park will be attractive to many other teams, and we have heard Columbia fans can look to the AL Central for a new parent.
The thing Alderson did not address, and what we expect to be clarified shortly, is where the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and the Cyclones appear in the affiliation pecking order. There had been talk that the Cyclones would raise to a Double-A level from Short Season A and the Rumble Ponies go from a Class AA level to High A, as part of a new Mid-Atlantic League.
Syracuse, Brooklyn and St. Lucie are all owned by the Mets.
The folks in Binghamton are pretty pleased, considering the Rumble Ponies were on MLB’s original contraction list:
A statement from @RumblePoniesBB owner John Hughes:
“Incredibly excited to be part of the New York Mets under Steve Cohen and our long time friend Sandy Alderson. We look forward to supporting their mission in any way possible. It’s a great day to be a Mets fan.”
— Nicole Menner (@NicoleMenner) November 10, 2020
— Mayor Rich David (@MayorRichDavid) November 10, 2020
Here’s a statement from the Fireflies, announcing the affiliate change:
The Columbia Fireflies will have a new Major League affiliate from 2021 forward. The team’s new affiliate will be announced at a later date.
The New York Mets today announced that three of their four affiliates, moving forward, will be in the state of New York (Syracuse, Binghamton and Brooklyn) and the fourth will be at their Spring Training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida. As part of Major League Baseball’s ongoing restructuring of Minor League Baseball, Major League teams have placed a heightened emphasis on the geography of their affiliates.
Segra Park, voted both the 2016 Ballpark Digest Ballpark of the Year and the Ballpark of the Decade for the 2010s, is one of the top facilities in all of Minor League Baseball and is assured of a place in the revamped Minor League system.
The Fireflies would like to thank the New York Mets for more than a dozen years of affiliation between Savannah and Columbia, with highlights including five playoff appearances, the 2013 South Atlantic League Championship and our first homegrown player in Spring Valley High School / South Carolina outfielder, Gene Cone. Our Mets affiliation also brought us players like two-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL Rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom, Steven Matz, Dominic Smith and Andrés Giménez.
The Fireflies look forward to announcing our new Major League Baseball affiliate in the coming weeks.
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