The Frustrated DC Faithful May Finally Get Their Wish...
According to a report by the same SI.com writer, Melissa Segura, whose work exposed the secret identity of the Washington Nationals' prospect formerly known as Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez, DC GM Jim Bowden is the subject of a federal investigation into the "skimming" of bonuses awarded to prospects from Latin American countries, going, in Ms. Segura's words, "...as far back as 1994, when he was GM of the Cincinnati Reds, according to a baseball executive familiar with the investigation."
The SMILEYGATE scandal that broke last week was just the latest in a long line of disturbing events that are part of an FBI investigation (my lord, why am i writing about this?) into the activities of the then-Reds' GM Jim Bowden, Jose Rijo, (a former Reds' pitcher and assistant to Mr. Bowden with Washington), and David Wilder, a former Chicago White Sox' executive, who are all connected, Ms. Segura writes, by "Two sources inside baseball," to:
"... a long-time scout in Latin America, Jorge Oquendo, 47...who links the FBI's investigations of Bowden and his special assistant Jose Rijo to that of former Chicago White Sox senior director of player personnel David Wilder."
Mr. Wilder and "two Dominican-based scouts", Ms. Segura writes, were fired by the Chicago White Sox, "Last May...after allegations surfaced that they had pocketed money earmarked for player signing bonuses." MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an article entitled, "Rijo takes leave of absence", reported on 2/21/09 on Jose Rijo's decision to "take a leave of absence" from the Nationals in the wake of the "Smiley" Gonzalez revelations. Rijo was Special Assistant to the DC GM Mr. Bowden, who, according to Mr. Ladson's article had been told not to talk to the media about the Esmailyn Gonzalez case by the Nationals' Team President Stan Kasten, though what, if any role Mr. Bowden played in either scandal has yet to be revealed.
Ms. Segura notes in the new SI.com article that the aformentioned Jorge Oquendo, "...distances himself from Jim Bowden, saying, 'He didn't even know who I was,'" though Oquendo, again, according to the article, worked for Mr. Bowden during two different periods of Bowden's tenure in Cincinnati.
And you thought not signing Aaron Crow was the worst thing that could happen to the Washington Nationals? Missing out on Mark Te - - - - ra was as bad as it could get? Thought Odalis Perez holding out was a big story? Now this tops them all...How can any Major League GM who is under investigation remain in his post? I would never go so far as to say that anyone should be fired, and especially not before they have been proven guilty in a court of law or admitted their own guilt...But I wonder if maybe Mr. Bowden, or any member of the Front Office who is under investigation, shouldn't step down, or at least relinquish their duties until such a time as it would be appropriate for a return?
Is this the end for GM Jim Bowden in DC?
AP report from Yahoo! Sports entitled, "Report: Nats GM part of federal investigation."
Washington Post writer Tracee Hamilton's Nationals Journal post entitled, "SI.com: Feds Investigating Bowden"