WASHINGTON -- The Syracuse Chiefs will be the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate for four more years, the Nats announced on Wednesday.
The Nationals have been affiliated with Syracuse since 2009, during which time the Chiefs have gone 349-366. Syracuse has had players such as Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond on its roster in the past five years.
By partnering with Syracuse, Washington's Triple-A affiliate is just 250 miles north of Harrisburg, Pa., the location of the Nationals' Double-A Eastern League affiliate.
The Chiefs currently play in 11,071-seat NBT Bank Stadium, which opened in 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.
"This is the first [player development contract] 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 Nats general manager Mike 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," said assistant general manager Bob 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 Chiefs are currently in need of a manager, pitching coach and hitting coach. The Nationals hope to have the manager and coaches in place by Friday. This past season, the Chiefs were managed by Tony Beasley, but he is now Washington's Minor League field coordinator. Greg Booker was the pitching coach in 2013, but he was relieved of his duties after the season, while hitting coach Troy Gingrich took over as Minor League hitting coordinator.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.