Nats extend invitations to Minors affiliates

December 9th, 2020

The Nationals are looking to move their Minor League teams closer to Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, they extended invitations to four organizations to become affiliates: Triple-A Rochester (N.Y.) Red Wings, Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators, Class A Advanced Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks and Class A Fredericksburg (Va.) Nationals.

The Hagerstown (Md.) Suns had been the Nats' Class A affiliate since 2007, and the Fresno (Calif.) Grizzlies were their Triple-A affiliate for the past two seasons.

“We are very excited to extend the invitations to these four affiliates and their communities,” Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo said. “All four affiliates are located in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, with Harrisburg, Wilmington and Fredericksburg located within 120 miles of Nationals Park. Wilmington and Fredericksburg are easily accessible via the I-95 corridor.

“Our four affiliates and their proximity to Washington, D.C., will be critical not only to player development and roster construction, but also to our injury rehabilitation process. We are certain that each affiliate and the surrounding community will be assets to our player development and organization as a whole.”

Founded in 1899, the Red Wings have been affiliated with the Cardinals (1929-60), Orioles ('61-2002) and Twins ('03-20). Frontier Field is located in downtown Rochester and has a seating capacity of 13,500.

“We are pleased to have received the invitation, and we hope that the terms put forward by Major League Baseball will be acceptable,” said Red Wings president/CEO/COO Naomi Silver. “Once we receive the full details from MLB, we’ll be evaluating the proposal carefully to assure that it works for our team, the fans and the community before formally accepting.”

The Senators have been the Nationals’ Double-A affiliate since 2005, and they previously were the Expos’ Double-A affiliate from 1991-2004.

"We are happy to have received the invitation to remain the Double-A affiliate for the Nationals," said Senators team president Kevin Kulp. "The support that the Senators and FNB Field receive from community leaders, ownership, fans, team partners, local media, and so many others makes our spot on City Island one of the best in Minor League Baseball and we’re excited for baseball to return in 2021.”

Class A Advanced
The Blue Rocks have been an affiliate of the Royals (1993-2004, ‘07-20) and Red Sox (‘05-06). Daniel S. Frawley Stadium opened in 1993.

“Clark Minker and I can’t wait to welcome the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals to Wilmington,” said Blue Rocks owner Dave Heller. “They are a team of great integrity which prides itself on doing the right things the right way. A championship community deserves a championship team, and from our first communications with Mark Lerner, Mike Rizzo and Mark Scialabba, we knew the Nationals were a first-class organization and a perfect fit for Wilmington. We couldn’t be more excited about the future.”

Class A
The Fredericksburg Nationals’ new stadium was the alternate training site for Washington in 2020. The team has been an affiliate of the Nats since '05, and it has helped during the rehab for injured Major League players.

“We are thrilled to be continuing an incredible and deep relationship with the Washington Nationals that began with their arrival in D.C. back in 2005,” said FredNats chairman and owner Art Silber. “We’ve enjoyed watching the Nats’ future stars -- like Juan Soto, Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg -- grow up and develop in front of our fans. The continuation of our long relationship will allow fans throughout the greater Fredericksburg region to enjoy seeing the next stars of the Nationals play in front of their eyes in our new ballpark opening in 2021 in Fredericksburg.”