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Nats announce 4-year agreement with Syracuse

Dec 18, 2013, 2:49 PM EST

Photo courtesy Jason Benetti, Syracuse Chiefs Photo courtesy Jason Benetti, Syracuse Chiefs

The Syracuse Chiefs have served as the Nationals’ Class AAA affiliate for the last five years, and the two clubs will continue their partnership for at least five more years after Wednesday’s announcement of a player development contract extension that runs through 2018.

This new contract extension, a four-year agreement, is the first long-term deal the Nationals have made with any of their minor-league affiliates since the franchise arrived in town.

“It speaks to how much the Nationals organization values the Chiefs and the Syracuse community,” general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “In a sports-centric town like Syracuse, the Chiefs are a community pillar, and we are proud to be aligned with both the town and the team.”

After partaking in a bit of musical chairs with their Class AAA affiliates last decade — they partnered with New Orleans in 2005-06 and then Columbus in 2007-08 — the Nationals have now established some more-permanent roots in Syracuse.

It’s not the closest Class AAA market to Washington — 371 miles to the north — but it’s close enough to make player promotions and demotions with relative ease, and it allows club officials to make the short trip to see prospects in person.

By re-upping with Syracuse, the Nationals also stay in the International League, whose western-most club plays in Indianapolis. That’s an advantage over affiliating with, say, New Orleans, which plays in the Pacific Coast League and often finds itself three time zones away, complicating last-minute roster moves.

This new deal ensures the affiliation between the Nationals and Chiefs will run at least 10 total seasons, from 2009-18.

“Our five seasons here in Syracuse have been fantastic,” vice president of player personnel Bob Boone said. “This is home for us.”

  1. tcostant - Dec 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I was hoping that either AA or AAA ended up in Richmond, so I’ll cross AAA out now.

  2. sunshinebobby - Dec 18, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    It’s (still) time to cheer, cheer, cheer for the Chiefs.

  3. David Proctor - Dec 18, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Doumit would’ve been a good pickup for us. Bench bat. Can play the OF if needed. Backup C. Oh well.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Agree. Braves may use him as third C, Nats might have used him as second C. But the versatility — C, 1B, OF — would have been a nice addition.

      • masterfishkeeper - Dec 18, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Agreed, but the Barves gave up a pretty talented lefthander for Doumit.

  4. jd - Dec 18, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Doumit is not that big of a deal one way or another. He isn’t a good enough catcher to be a solid backup.

    The more interesting news is that Choo said no to 7 x $20 mil offer by the Yankees. Are you kidding me?

    I like Choo but he ain’t that good.

    • Hiram Hover - Dec 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      No, but Scott Boras thinks that Scott Boras is that good.

  5. Section 222 - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Ellsbury got $153 million over seven years. Think he’s better than Choo?

    Neither of them is as good as Ricky Henderson though. Check out this tweet:

    MLB Play Index ‏@BRefPlayIndex
    Rickey Henderson 1995 slash-lines:

    Bases empty: .261/.342/.417
    Men on: .382/.523/.511
    RISP: .419/.535/.541
    Bases loaded: .455/.417/.545


  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Chavez stays with Arizona

    • Hiram Hover - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      Will be interesting to see what kind of $$$ he got. Not sure the Nats would have matched it, nor that they could have given him as much playing as he wants.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        Playing time was probably key and I think the fact that Espi will back up 3rd and RZim will back up 1st made Chavez a no go anyway.

  7. David Proctor - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 27s
    Sources: #Brewers interested in Michael Young to play 1B. #Dodgers, #Rockies also in mix. #Nationals involved early, exploring others now.

    Exploring others now? Obviously this is talking about a backup 1B because Michael Young is a downgrade on LaRoche. But this makes it clear that they’re not confident in Tyler Moore. Interesting.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      If the Nats were ever actually interested in Michael Young, it would have been with the notion that he could fill multiple roles — 1B, 2B, 3B — where Tyler Moore is essentially just 1B now (as discussed in the earlier thread). If they’re truly exploring options, we’re back (maybe) to Jeff Baker or someone similar now that Eric Chavez is gone.

      On a related (sort of) note, the Astros traded for Jesus Guzman. He seems to me to be mainly a 1B/DH, although I could be wrong. But if the notion of Tyler Moore going to Houston was ever anything more than purely speculative (which is how I read it), that may have now gone away.

  8. Sonny G 10 - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    I’ve got nothing against Syracuse, except its too far away and too cold. I was hoping they would move their AAA affiliate closer to DC. At least its not in the mid-west or further away.

  9. nats128 - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Ghost, as you said Drew Stubbs would be traded. Sorry to report he wasnt traded to the Nats.





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