The Washington Nationals today announced the signing of a four-year Player Development Contract extension (which begins in 2015) with the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League through the 2018 season. Nationals President & General Manager Mike Rizzo, Nationals Vice President/Player Personnel Bob Boone, Assistant General Manager & Vice President of Player Development Doug Harris and Director of Player Development Mark Scialabba made the joint announcement.
“This is the first PDC that we have signed with an affiliate in excess of two years and it speaks to how much the Nationals organization values the Chiefs and the Syracuse community,” said Rizzo. “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.”
“Our five seasons here in Syracuse have been fantastic. This is home for us,” offered Boone. “We are also excited about the lineup and power pitching that will make its way through Syracuse this summer and beyond. The best is yet to come for Central New York baseball fans.”
“The rebuilding of this organization is founded on developing and nurturing partnerships,” Syracuse Chiefs’ President Bill Dutch said. “The Nationals have shown themselves to be a successful organization and a fantastic partner, and the Chiefs are thrilled to continue the relationship with them.”
“We have really enjoyed our dealings and discussions with the Chiefs’ new front office,” said Harris. “They offer a unique energy that will resonate with players, fans and media alike.”
The Chiefs are 354-361 (.495) with a pair of winning seasons since aligning with the Nationals in 2009. In that span, Chiefs fans have enjoyed exposure to the big league talents of, among others, shortstop Ian Desmond, left-hander Ross Detwiler, outfielder Bryce Harper, first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore, infielder Anthony Rendon, and right-handers Drew Storen, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann.
The Syracuse Chiefs entered the International League in 1885 and have been a continuous member of the IL since 1961. The Chiefs reside in 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 NBT Bank Stadium, which opened 1997, and includes a natural-grass surface (installed in 2007) that is regarded as the best in the International League. NBT Bank Stadium also houses one of the finest indoor hitting facilities in minor-league baseball.