Nats ink two-year extention with Class A Hagerstown

SEATTLE -- The Nationals announced the signing of a two-year player development contract extension with the Hagerstown Suns of the Class A South Atlantic League through the 2016 season.

The Nationals began their relationship with Hagerstown in 2007 after ending a six-year run with the Savannah Sand Gnats. The Suns are 530-501 (.514) since aligning with the Nationals, including three consecutive 80-plus win seasons and three straight playoff berths (2012-14).

In that span, Suns fans have enjoyed exposure to the big league talents of Bryce Harper, Steven Souza Jr., Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann.

The current version of the Hagerstown Suns started in 1992 as an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays and has been a member of the South Atlantic League for all of its 22 seasons. The Suns reside in the South Atlantic League's seven-team Northern Division with Delmarva, Greensboro, Hickory, Kannapolis, Lakewood and West Virginia.

The Nationals' Class A affiliate is just 70 miles north of Washington, D.C., allowing for convenient travel between the Major League club and the affiliate.

"We are happy to extend our player development contract with the Hagerstown Suns, continuing our seven-plus year relationship with them," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "Some of the organization's brightest talents have spent significant time learning the game with Hagerstown, before advancing further through our system. We're glad to continue our working relationship."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.