The 51s are for sale, and the owners have put longtime Las Vegas general manager Don Logan in charge of finding a buyer and securing a new stadium deal for the Triple-A baseball team.
Logan, who has worked for the franchise since 1984 and served as its general manager for the past 20 years, is stepping down from the position to accept a new role as the team’s executive director.
Chuck Johnson, formerly the 51s assistant general manager and marketing director, will replace Logan as general manager.
"It’s time to take a look at other things," Logan said. "This frees me up from the day-to-day stuff to go out and find a new investment group or investor.
"The biggest thing is to continue to push to get some sort of stadium deal going. We need an investor who can not only own the team but has the wherewithal to do a stadium."
The Stevens Baseball Group, which purchased the 51s before the 2008 season, has the means to build a stadium to replace aging Cashman Field, which opened in 1983.
But the members of the Stevens family who own shares in the team want to sell them to concentrate on their investments in the family’s casino holdings and other interests, said SBG manager Drew Dondero, who replaced Logan as 51s team president last summer.
Major League Baseball prohibits casino owners from running a team, and brothers Derek and Greg Stevens own the Golden Gate and a percentage of Riviera Holdings.
"Rather than wait until there’s a difficult conflict down the road, we want to work with the (Pacific Coast) League now to find that right buyer," Dondero said.
While nothing is imminent, Logan said there has been interest in purchasing the team, which he estimated is worth more than $20 million.
"We have to separate the contenders from the pretenders," he said.
Until recently, Logan was a minority owner of the 51s. But SBG has bought out his 5 percent stake in the team.
"It’s cleaner and easier just to do it this way," said Logan, who might be part of the team’s next ownership group.
Logan said the new arrangement was his idea.
Johnson is the third GM in Las Vegas franchise history, along with original owner Larry Koentopp (1983-90) and Logan (1991-2010), his longtime mentor.
"It’s a daunting task to replace him," Johnson said. "I joke around that I’m Phil Bengtson (the coach who replaced Vince Lombardi on the Green Bay Packers). Nobody knows who Phil Bengtson is."
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.