Mets, Cubs fill Big League Weekend slots in March

Start spreading the news. The New York Mets are coming to Las Vegas to play the Chicago Cubs in a pair of exhibition games March 15 and 16 at Cashman Field on the annual Big League Weekend.

Making their first appearance here since 1997, the Mets — parent club of the Triple-A 51s — will travel to Las Vegas from their spring home in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

“It shows the commitment from them,” 51s executive director Don Logan said. “It’s tough with Florida (teams). It’s a lot more expensive to fly from Florida to Vegas than it is from Phoenix to Vegas.”

The Cubs, who will make the short trek from their spring home in Mesa, Ariz., for their 10th straight appearance here, always travel well but might meet their match with the Mets.

“There are so many New Yorkers in Vegas and a lot of New Yorkers from (New York) are going to come, too,” Logan said.

Both games will feature split squads, but Logan expects the Mets to bring their A squad to Cashman, which means there’s a good chance New York star third baseman David Wright will play here, provided he’s healthy.

The Mets, 74-88 last season, feature several players who spent part of last year with the 51s, including right-hander Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud — New York’s top two prospects — outfielders Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares and first baseman Josh Satin.

Chicago replaced manager Dale Sveum with Rick Renteria on Nov. 7 after finishing 66-96. The Cubs are led by shortstop Starlin Castro, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and starting pitchers Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija.

Logan expects Chicago to bring Las Vegas native Kris Bryant, one of its top prospects, to Cashman, where at the very least he’ll probably put on quite a show in batting practice.

The former Bonanza High School standout belted an NCAA Division I-leading 31 home runs for San Diego last season and was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

In his first taste of pro ball, Bryant hit .336 with nine homers and 32 RBIs over 36 games last season in rookie ball and Single A. He continued his tear in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .364 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 20 games on his way to being named Most Valuable Player on Sunday.

“Everybody raves about how much pop he has,” Logan said. “He has light-tower power.”

For tickets to Big League Weekend, call the 51s at 702-798-7825.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.