This much is clear about the future of Las Vegas' Triple-A baseball franchise: The 51s will play at Cashman Field for at least the next four years after renewing their lease, and they will be affiliated with one of 30 major league teams.
The identity of their partner isn't quite so certain.
While Las Vegas and the Toronto Blue Jays appear likely to renew their two-year player development contract after the season, that could change by Oct. 7. That's the date on which Triple-A teams that have failed to agree to major league affiliations will be assigned one by Minor League Baseball.
That's what occurred after the 2008 season, when Las Vegas was the last Triple-A city and Toronto the last big league team without a partner. The pair had no choice but to make their shotgun marriage work.
In 2008, the Los Angeles Dodgers ended their eight-year affiliation with the 51s by bolting for Albuquerque, and Syracuse, N.Y., severed a 31-year affiliation with the Blue Jays in favor of the Washington Nationals.
Though Las Vegas and Toronto are separated by more than 2,200 miles, Blue Jays director of minor league operations Charlie Wilson said the long-distance relationship works, largely because there are many direct flights to McCarran International Airport.
"Traveling to and from Las Vegas is not an issue. The geography is, but getting in and out of there is not a problem at all," said Wilson, who also didn't have an issue with Cashman Field, which was built in 1983. "We've got a great relationship with the people in Las Vegas. They run a first-class operation. We're very happy there."
51s general manager Don Logan said the feeling is mutual and he would be happy to renew the affiliation.
"These guys have been great," Logan said. "Everybody knows each other and works well together. It would be crazy to change if there is not a better option out there."
There aren't many options left for Las Vegas or Toronto; most clubs in the Pacific Coast and International leagues have renewed their affiliations or are expected to soon.
"I don't think there are any teams available in the West," Logan said. "A lot of teams have already re-signed."
Clubs can renew their existing affiliations until Sept. 11 and have a 15-day window -- Sept. 16 to 30 -- to negotiate with other teams.
Wilson said the Blue Jays have been busy with the draft and trades and will soon begin evaluating their affiliations.
"I can't say with any degree of certainty which direction we're going," he said. "We haven't started looking elsewhere, as far as I know. Our president and general manager are going to weigh in on that in the next couple of weeks. As of right now, there has been no progress or negotiations."
The New York Mets and the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate nearest to Toronto, renewed their affiliation through 2012, leaving a couple of International League cities for the Blue Jays to explore, including their old partner, Syracuse.
Other International League franchises that have yet to renew their deals include the Charlotte (N.C.) Knights (Chicago White Sox) and Norfolk (Va.) Tides (Baltimore Orioles).
The Fresno Grizzlies and the San Francisco Giants renewed their affiliation Monday, and the other West Coast PCL teams are expected to follow suit.
If the Blue Jays don't renew with Las Vegas, a possible replacement for the 51s could be the Milwaukee Brewers, who are reportedly set to leave Nashville after the season.
"I hope it's the Blue Jays," Logan said, "so we don't have to repaint the logos in the park again."
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354.