The Washington Nationals today announced the signing of a two-year Player Development Contract with the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League. Nationals President Stan Kasten, Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Rizzo and Director of Player Development Doug Harris made the joint announcement.
"This decision to extend our Syracuse affiliation was easy for us," said Kasten. "We have greatly enjoyed our affiliation with the Chiefs and their fans, both of whom will discover in the coming years there is another wave of exciting, young talent in our player development pipeline."
Chiefs General Manager John Simone added, "The Washington Nationals organization is first class all the way and has provided our fans with winning baseball and outstanding talent during the past two seasons. Our fans look forward to seeing the great number of good young players that will come through Syracuse on their way to Washington during the next two seasons."
In nearly two seasons, the Chiefs are 141-131 (.518) since aligning with the Nationals. Syracuse is one of only five International League clubs to sport a winning record the last two years.
Currently 65-63, the Chiefs have an excellent chance of posting their second straight winning season, as they finished 76-68 during their inaugurual campaign as Washington's top affiliate. Only three other IL clubs - Durham, Louisville and Scranton/WB - are currently in a position to claim consecutive winning seasons in 2009 and '10. The Chiefs have not posted back-to-back winning seasons since a three-year run from 1998-2000.
The Syracuse Chiefs entered the International League in 1885 and have been a continuous member of the league since 1961. The Chiefs reside the IL's six-team North Division with Buffalo, Rochester, Lehigh Valley, Pawtucket and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Four of the Chiefs' five division rivals are located within a 200-mile radius of Syracuse.
By partnering with Syracuse, the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate is just 250 miles north of Harrisburg, the Nationals' Double-A Eastern League affiliate, on Interstate-81.
The Chiefs currently play in 11,071-seat Alliance Bank Stadium, which opened 1997, and includes a natural-grass surface installed in 2007. Alliance Bank Stadium also houses one of the finest indoor hitting facilities in Minor League baseball.
The Chiefs have won eight Governors' Cup titles (1935, '42, '43, '47, '54, '69, '70, '76).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.