The Washington Nationals signed a two-year Player Development Contract with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League on Tuesday. The contract begins in 2019 and runs through the 2020 season. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the joint announcement, along with Fresno's Team President, Derek Franks.
"The Washington Nationals are excited to be partnering with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League," said President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. "Fresno is committed to player development and we hope this partnership will continue to yield success for both clubs on the field and off."
The Fresno Grizzlies will be Washington's fourth Triple-A club after being affiliated with Syracuse (2009-18), Columbus (2007-08) and New Orleans (2005-06) since moving to Washington, D.C. in 2005.
Fresno began play in 1998, serving as a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants until 2014 before joining Houston's player development system in 2015. The Grizzlies play at Chukchansi Park, an 11,800 seat stadium in downtown Fresno, Calif. The Grizzlies play in the Pacific Coast League's Pacific Northern Division along with the Reno Aces, Tacoma Rainers and Sacramento River Cats.
"This is another thrilling new chapter for Fresno Grizzlies baseball- we can't wait for the Nationals to get on the ground in Central California and see everything this community has to offer," said Derek Franks, Fresno team president. "Our new ownership group is continuing several upgrades to both the fan experience and baseball operations facets of Chukchansi Park that began during our previous PDC with Houston, including plans for a brand new playing surface in 2019. I believe the Washington Nationals will find this a comfortable place to cultivate all of their young talent, and will see early on how committed the fans of "Growlifornia' are to baseball in the Central Valley," continued Franks.