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Nationals invite Rochester, Wilmington as new affiliates

Washington NationalsA few changes for the 2021 Washington Nationals farm system, with Rochester and Wilmington invited as new affiliates, joining Harrisburg and Fredericksburg in the team lineup.

The addition of the Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League) had already been announced by the Red Wings and the Nationals. Wilmington will remain in High A, while Fredericksburg will shift to Low A.

“We are very excited to extend the invitations to these four affiliates and their communities,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “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.”

“We are pleased to have received the invitation, and we hope that the terms put forward by Major League Baseball will be acceptable,” said Rochester 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 Harrisburg Senators will continue to serve as Washington’s Double-A affiliate as they have since 2005. Prior to baseball’s return to D.C. in 2005, the Senators spent 14 seasons (1991-2004) as the Double-A affiliate of the Montreal Expos. The Harrisburg organization and the surrounding community have been key to the development of the homegrown talent that has been integral to Washington’s success at the Major League level.

“We are happy to have received the invitation to remain the Double-A affiliate for the Nationals,” said Kevin Kulp, Senators Team President. “The support that the Senators & 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.”

The Wilmington Blue Rocks join the Nationals after spending 26 of the last 28 seasons (1993-2004, 2007-20) as the Kansas City Royals Single-A Carolina League affiliate. They spent two seasons (2005-06) as an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The Blue Rocks play their home games at Frawley Stadium, a facility that opened when the organization relocated to Wilmington, Delaware 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!”

Here’s the most up-to-date information about the current affiliation status.

RELATED STORIES: Royals add Quad Cities, Columbia as affiliatesNo changes in Boston Red Sox affiliates; No changes in Philadelphia Phillies farm system; Angels add Tri-City as affiliate, keep rest of system; Rays revamp farm system, adding Charleston and promoting Bowling Green; Twins revamp farm system with new St. Paul, Wichita affiliates; Braves add Augusta to affiliate lineup; D-Backs unveil 2021 affiliates; AA to AmarilloTigers announce 2021 affiliates: No change

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