Dec 18, 2013, 2:49 PM EDT
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.”
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Nationals get a big rally, then hang on for dear life
- Nats end road trip with much-needed 4-3 win over Marlins
- Bryce Harper rediscovers his hitting stroke
- Nationals need win today to avoid losing road trip
- Depleted Nationals lineup shut out by Marlins
- Nationals can't fight back against Marlins, lose 3-0
- Werth out but says ankle sprain isn't serious
- Strasburg takes mound for big start vs. Marlins
- Zimmermann returns to form in dominant start
- Around the NL East: Which team will make a big splash via trade?