The Nationals have switched affiliates at the short-season Class A level, signing a player-development contract with the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League.
The two-year deal with Auburn, which had previously been affiliated with the Blue Jays, runs through 2012 and ends the Nats' longstanding affiliation with the New York-Penn club in Burlington, Vt. The Vermont Lake Monsters had been this franchise's short-season Class A affiliate since 1994, when they were known as the Vermont Expos.
The Doubledays (named for Civil War general, Auburn native and man who incorrectly was credited with inventing baseball) are located 35 miles west of Syracuse, home of the Nationals' Class AAA affiliate. They play in 2,706-seat Falcon Park, built in 1995.
"We are delighted to add Auburn to the Nationals' family," team president Stan Kasten said in a press release. "This agreement again narrows the footprint of our minor-league system, and starting next summer, Auburn and the Doubledays' fan base will get their first glimpse at the rewards reaped from both our scouting and player development systems."