Today, Jim Bowden resigned as the GM of the Nats. Here is his statement. I would think most Nats fans are happy about this decision. Others are ecstatic. I am of the opinion that this was a long time coming. For all of the arguments you could make for him to keep his job, the distractions lately were too much. He said it: “My resignation is based upon my realization that my ability to properly represent the Washington Nationals has been compromised because of false allegations contained in the press.” He’s got such a reputation that I think it would be hard for other GMs to take him completely seriously. Between a reputation for asking for the world in each trade to the Smiley Gonzalez situation to the allegations of illegal activites with Latin American players, it’s hard for me to take him seriously as well. I don’t know if he was forced out, but it seems that might be the case and the organization wanted to let him leave with his dignity. I’m not sure that worked, but so it goes.
I’m personally glad the organization is able to move on. He’s taken too long to build a farm system (it’s still not that special despite 3 years of being run by him) and I’m still get mad that he didn’t get anything in trades for players that aren’t going to be a part of the future. What’s funny about it, from that perspective, is that he may be vindicated, in a way. If Dukes, Zimmerman, Zimmermann, Balester, Milledge, Flores, Olsen and Willingham are all parts of this team when it does begin to win, Bowden will have some claim to those victories.
The big question is who is taking the job now? Well, the Nats haven’t named their replacement for Bowden, but there is talk that Mike Rizzo, the assistant GM, is next in line. He isn’t a Bowden protege, so it is not like replacing one guy with someone very similar. Mr. Rizzo was the Director of Scouting for the Arizona Diamonbacks from 2000-2006. He had alot of success with producing major league talent there, drafting and signing Brandon Webb (2000 round 8) and Justin Upton (2005 round 1, #1). And Carlos Quentin (2003 round 1, #29) and Conor Jackson (2003 round 1, #19). And Mark Reynolds (2004 round 16), Chris Snyder (2002 round 2) and Micah Owings (2005 round 3). Nice group. Maybe 3 or 4 potential All Stars in addition to Quentin and Webb, who have already made it. Webb also has a little thing called a Cy Young award. For those of you who are paying attention to the youngsters, Rizzo was also responsible for drafting future stud Max Scherzer. He seems like the kind of guy you want around if you are building an organization from the ground up. And if you’re curious what direction their going to go under him, the DBacks drafted a ton of college players in the high rounds. Regardless of beliefs, this should change this year with the #1 pick, as Strasburg is a college player.
Rizzo came here a year after he was passed up for the Diamondbacks GM position. He wasn’t passed up for a no name, it was for Josh Byrnes. Byrnes was the assistant GM under Theo Epstein in Boston, and was there when they won their first World Series. Byrnes is a young guy, only 39 this year, and the Diamondbacks probably saw him as their future GM in perpituity. While I’m not sure how old Rizzo is, I know he’s been in baseball close to 30 years. Unless he’s Bill Veeck, I doubt he’s only 39 after that time in the league. He was one of the final names for the Pirates GM job recently, and is very highly regarded in the league. I am guessing he’ll be named GM soon, but you never know, they may decide to seriously look outside the organization. Regardless, the Nats will soon have their second GM ever.
The other question remains – are the former Reds players shaking in their boots right now?