Following last week’s news that the Yankees had ended their long association with the Columbus Clippers of the International League, it was announced earlier today the Bombers will field a Triple-A team next season in Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

While the Red Barons previously served as the Phillies’ taxi squad, Philadelpia will have a Triple-A club in Ottawa next springColumbus’ Cooper Stadium will be home to the Nationals’ IL farm team in ’07, and the Orioles — having vacated Ottawa — are said to be in negotiations with Norfolk.

Baseball America’s Will Lingo writes of the probability of the Mets moving their Triple-A outpost to New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League, previously the home of the Nationals’ Zephyrs.

That would leave the Mets to sign an agreement with New Orleans, which is the only Pacific Coast League franchise on the open market. The Zephyrs are the easternmost team in the PCL, but their location is still the least attractive among the available options for the Mets.

As an indication of how desperate the Mets were to try to go back to Norfolk, they enlisted third baseman David Wright to call the Norfolk front office Wednesday night and try to persuade the Tides to continue the relationship with the Mets.

“I’m disappointed,” said Wright, who grew up a Tides fan and whose father is assistant chief of the Norfolk Police Department. “The way the minor leagues is now, there are so many teams hopping from city to city. The Mets have been in Norfolk for a long time. That’s the reason I’m a Mets fan.

“I think it’s disappointing. Hopefully they reconsider. There are a lot of Mets fans in the Tidewater area because of that team. It’s sad they’re considering it and I think they need to reconsider.”

The Mets also had made a push to get into Scranton, but the Yankees had always been the frontrunners there and sealed the deal when team officials visited this week. As part of the Red Barons’ new affiliation, the team also announced that Mandalay Baseball would take over management of the team.

Mandalay, which already owns five minor league teams, is also taking over management of the New York-Penn League’s Staten Island Yankees. Staten Island has been a Yankees affiliate since joining the league in 1999, but it has faced financial problems in the last couple of years. So the New York Yankees are buying the club, and turning over the operation to Mandalay.

This is all dizzying stuff. Surely the good people of New Orleans have suffered enough without having to watch Jose Offerman.