The Fresno Grizzlies (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and Washington Nationals are entering into an affiliation, as the clubs have announced a two-year player development contract (PDC). That means their agreement will run through the 2020 season.
“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.”
An affiliation change was expected for both clubs. The Nationals had been affiliated with the Syracuse Chiefs (Class AAA; International League) since 2009, but their time in Syracuse ended as a result of the New York Mets purchasing the Chiefs. Fresno, meanwhile, had already announced that it would seek a new MLB parent after being affiliated with the Houston Astros for the past four seasons.
“The Washington Nationals are excited to be partnering with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League,” said Nationals 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.”
This announcement marks the latest affiliation change at the Triple-A level. The Oakland A’s and Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) announced a two-year affiliation on Monday, while the Milwaukee Brewers will continue as parent of the San Antonio Missions (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), after the former Colorado Springs Sky Sox move for the 2019 season. Furthermore, it was revealed today that the Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League and Texas Rangers will announce a four-year PDC on Thursday.
As for the rest of Triple-A, the Mets are expected to shift their affiliation to Syracuse after being in Las Vegas from 2013-2018. It is anticipated that the Houston Astros will become the new parent club of the Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), taking the place of the Rangers.
You can read more about the current state of affiliations on our Affiliate Dance page. We expect a number of player development contracts to be renewed in the coming week, but there are always intriguing openings at every level of baseball. As you can see on the Affiliate Dance page, we’re now at the point where MLB and MiLB teams can search for new affiliation options, so there’s always a shuffle of sorts at the end of the season.
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