Reports have the Washington Nationals and the Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) extending their player-development contract for four more years.
The Washington Post is reporting the extension. It’s not a surprise: For an eastern team like the Nationals, being in the International League is a must in terms of logistics: You can drive from Syracuse to Washington in under seven hours, and even if the Chiefs are on the road, it’s easy enough to shuttle players around from almost every International League city to D.C. or another East Coast location.
Plus, the numbers are pretty compelling when you look at other affiliations. Buffalo (Blue Jays) Charlotte (White Sox), Columbus (Cleveland), Indianapolis (Pirates), Lehigh Valley (Phillies), Louisville (Reds) and Toledo (Tigers) are all committed to affiliations to 2016 and beyond. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Gwinnett are off the table, as their parents control half or all of the team. That leaves Durham (Rays), Norfolk (Orioles), Pawtucket (Red Sox) and Rochester (Twins) as potential free agents at the end of the coming season, but we’ve heard nothing that indicates any of these IL teams are thinking of seeking out a new affiliate. Though there have been some upheaval in the Chiefs front office, it didn’t prove to be too much of a concern to Nats officials.
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