Photo courtesy Harrisburg Senators
Harrisburg's Metro Bank Park will continue to house the Nats' Class AA affiliate.
The two-year extensions run through 2014.
"We could not be more pleased to make this commitment," general manager Mike Rizzo said in announcing the agreements. "To make this announcement so early in the season speaks to how much we value our relationships and the environments cultivated by the good people in Syracuse, Harrisburg, Potomac and Auburn. We take our affiliate relations very seriously in Washington. They are a vital part of our family and we know that with time, these bonds will only strengthen."
After a period of steady changes among their Class AAA affiliates (from New Orleans to Columbus to Syracuse), the Nationals now have established some stability with their top minor-league outlet. The organization signed on with the Chiefs in 2009, and this represents the third two-year agreement between the franchises.
The Harrisburg Senators has the longest continued affiliation with the Nationals franchise, having first joined the organization in 1991 when the big-league club played in Montreal.
The Woodbridge-based Potomac franchise joined up with the Nationals in 2005, changing its nickname to Nationals from Cannons. The relationship with the two hasn't always been cordial, particularly when it came to the poor field conditions at aging Pfitzner Stadium. But the P-Nats announced a major overhaul to the field for the upcoming season, and the Nationals responded by announcing top prospects Anthony Rendon and Matt Purke will open the year there.
The Auburn Doubledays franchise (located in upstate New York) joined the organization in 2011 after the Nationals ended their longstanding affiliation with the Vermont Lake Monsters.
With today's announcement, the only Nationals affiliate facing an uncertain future is low-Class A Hagerstown. That affiliation is set to expire at the end of this season. The Suns have been in discussions about relocating to Winchester, Va., though the talks recently hit a snag.