Nationals in talks with Syracuse

Nationals in negotiations with Syracuse

WASHINGTON -- General manager Jim Bowden confirmed on Thursday evening that the Nationals are negotiating with the Syracuse Chiefs to be their Triple-A affiliate.

The negotiations started on Thursday afternoon with Bowden, team president Stan Kasten and principal owner Mark Lerner taking a tour of Alliance Bank Stadium. The trio were impressed with what they saw. Talks will continue between the two teams on Friday.

"We don't have anything to announce at this time," Bowden said. "It could be a tremendous place for our Triple-A club. It would certainly make a lot of sense for us."

According to Bowden, the field was in great shape and the facilities inside the stadium were an upgrade compared to Columbus and New Orleans, their previous Triple-A affiliates.

Another reason the Nationals would love being in Syracuse is because the city is closer to Washington and a lot of the Minor League cities.

"We are very impressed with the field," Bowden said. "They put a lot of money in re-doing the field. They have a tremendous clubhouse, two indoor batting cages that are phenomenal. We are very impressed with the people and we had good discussions today."

According to one baseball source, the Nationals are not the only team looking at Syracuse. The Mets are still in the mix and they are expected to make a decision this week between Buffalo and Syracuse. Published reports, however, say that the team is leaning toward Buffalo.

For the past two years, Washington's Triple-A affiliate was Columbus, but according to published reports, the Clippers will be doing business with the Indians.

Columbus went 69-73 under manager Tim Foli this season. In 2005-06, the Nationals were affiliated with New Orleans.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.