When it came down to it, the folks in Syracuse had had enough of the failures of JP Ricciardi and the Toronto Blue Jays. I have no idea whether he managed to offend them as thoroughly as he's offended Blue Jay fans, but there was no question that when it came time to choose which MLB organization to throw down with, the Chiefs decided to go with the woeful Washington Nationals, ending 31 years of affiliation. And don't let anybody tell you it was Toronto wagging this dog of a story. Syracuse filed for affiliation 'divorce' three weeks ago. Most of the time since has been spent on wooing the New York Mets, before settling on the Nationals.
That's right. Syracuse 'switched' leagues and took on a losing organization to avoid pairing up with the Blue Jays for another two years. Instead, Toronto gets to partner up for the next two years with the consolation prize in the game of Franchise Musical Chairs, Las Vegas. The 51's aren't a bad lot, but play at a bad stadium and get their players up close and personal with temptation. The Dodgers were ecstatic to get out of town, moving their minor league affiliate to Albuquerque. Nobody wanted Las Vegas, Toronto included. But when you are the only two left standing at the dance, you get paired up.
As for the long-rumoured hookup between the Jays and the Buffalo Bisons, a logical partnership that would feature cross-promotion and ease of travel between the bigs and the top affiliate, the Jays were up against the Mets in currying the Bison brass. No contest there.
Let me also point out the dichotomy of Syracuse wanting to bail, JUST as the so-called talent pipeline is supposed to fill up with excellent Toronto AAA prospects. That means one of two things are true. Either the talent isn't as good as Ricciardi blows smoke about to the media (a good bet). Or Syracuse can't stand working with the Toronto management (of which Ricciardi is the star PITA). That's also a good bet. Both are probably true in equal amounts.
Just how bad did it HAVE to be for Syracuse to prefer Washington? Obviously, PLENTY bad!