Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Day The Nats Stood Still...

Around 2 weeks ago, BP's own Christina Kahrl gave me the thumbs up on using an idea of hers(sorta, it was her facebook status) and making a "WWBD?" post. Why make a "What would Bowden do?" post, well mainly because it's easy and it would be a funny post.

Jim Bowden is one of those types of GMs that owners like, but the ones fans love to hate. Fans probably loathe him more than Pat Gillick, Chuck LaMar or Bill Bavasi.However, like those guys, he always manages to find a job and get free-reign of baseball teams(whether fans like it or not).
Knowing he has a job, guarantees that one team's beat writer will have his share of headaches and laughs.

Jim Bowden, the segway-driving, leather pant-wearing GM resigned today from running the Washington Nationals and somewhere Wily Mo Pena sheds a tear. He was on the receiving end of a lot of rumors and turmoil dealing with Latin American prospects. A week after one of his prospects wasn't who he claimed to be and how old he was supposed to be, Bowden decided that it was easier to wave the white flag than risk his career/freedom by continuing in Washington. Freedom, mainly due to Federal inquiries from claims that Bowden and a few select high-ranking officials were part of a widespread bonus-skimming controversy. Not sure if the Carlos Lugo "whoops" was the last straw, but the dominos were falling when Jose Rijo(one of Bowden's special advisors, who also was embroiled in the skimming controversy) took a leave of absence from the team. Rumors started to follow that Bowden was the next to get the axe and Bowden beat the team to it.

When I say Wily Mo Pena shed a tear when Bowden resigned, it's probably not very factual. While its possible that a player is brought to tears by a GM's departure, Wily Mo and Jim Bowden are like the "Bert & Ernie" of baseball. Wily Mo must have an envelope with pictures involving Bowden and farm animals, seeing as no matter where Bowden went...soon Pena was to follow. Cincinnatti the relationship began and Washington was where the "spark" was rekindled. The obsession with his former Cincinatti power-hitting outfielders grew when Bowden acquired oft-injured Austin Kearns and batting average/defensively-challenged Adam Dunn. Christian Guzman, Livan Hernandez and Odalis Perez are all bad contracts that Bowden can be blamed for, as well, and Guzman is the only remaining on the team right now. Dmitri Young and Nick Johnson were both acquired on Bowden's watch too, but they at least have redeeming qualities and possible value.

Luckily for Bowden's sake, Mike Rizzo was put in charge of the Nationals' farm-system and positive personnel moves were made. Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge both came with baggage, due to their preceding teams selling low rather than dealing with them anymore. Jesus Flores was a Rule 5 Draft steal, which some Mets fans still cringe at. Ross Detweiler, Jordan Zimmerman and Aaron Crow(though he didn't sign) are among the talents that Rizzo has directed the Nats to draft. Rizzo has righted the ship of a formerly-poorly ran franchise and is one of two known candidates(the other being Tony Lacava(sp?) of the Toronto Bluejays) likely to takeover the GMing duties.

March 1st was indeed the day that the Nats stood still, figured out they've been standing in a puddle for a couple of years and finally took a step forward.

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