Washington Nationals' General Manager Jim Bowden did not want to go. Mr. Bowden, in a public statement this morning about his resignation as the Washington Nationals' General Manager, (as recorded in Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's Nationals Journal post entitled, "Bowden Statement"), told the baseball world, that in his opinion:
"'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. I am disappointed by the media reports regarding investigations into any of my professional activities. There have been no charges made, and there has been no indication that parties have found any wrongdoing on my part...'"
But Mr. Bowden did resign this morning, ending his tenure as the Washington Nationals' first General Manager by summing up the situation with the words, "I've become a distraction." The revelations of the expansion of a federal investigation into Mr. Bowden's "involvement" (as yet undisclosed) in the "skimming" of signing bonuses given to Latin American prospects, as reported by SI.com writer Melissa Segura in an article entitled, "Feds expanding probe of longtime GM Bowden for bonus skimming", followed close on the heels of the disclosure (in another article by SI.com's Melissa Segura entitled, "Nationals prospect falsified indentity") of the real identity of the Nationals' prospect fomerly known as Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez, who was also revealed to be four years older than had been believed when he'd originally been signed by the Nationals (with much fanfare) to a $1.4M signing bonus back in 2006.
Last night, Washington Post writer Chico Harlan had noted Mr. Bowden's absence from the Nationals' Spring Training game against St. Louis on Saturday in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Bowden Saga Continues", where Mr. Harlan wrote that Mr. Bowden was, as of that moment, "..still responsible for at least minor decisions," but, "Less clear, though, is whether Bowden would be authorized to make major trades...," which, following on a week's worth of speculation about a possible replacement, seemed to foreshadow this morning's events.
Still, Mr. Bowden remained defiant, even in announcing his resignation, challenging further the reports that he believes led to his dismissal in his farewell statement this morning, as quoted, again, in the Washington Post's Chico Harlan's, "Bowden Statement":
"I will also carry with me the cold hard realization that my life has been turned upside down by a news media that prints entire stories attributed solely to anonymous sources who refuse to be identified and who are free to allege anything they choose for any purpose without fear of retribution."
(ed. note - "Or more, 'ed. rant' - The 'baseball source' or the 'unnamed source' or the 'source familiar with the team's thinking, but unable to comment because of their proximity to the situation', has long been the norm in sports (really all) reporting, and the ability to determine whether or not what one's reading is in fact, well, 'fact', or if it's someone with an agenda strategically leaking the information they're providing, has become increasingly difficult, and has led to the credibility of many a writer being questioned, as Mr. Bowden does here generally, but the abililty to protect one's sources is a necessary right of the press...is it not? Though it must feel Josef K'ish to be on the receiving end of this sort of coverage...")
Whatever the reason for Mr. Bowden's departure, it is now official, and the next step is to hire a replacement. Washington Team President Stan Kasten, who had taken over as the public face of the Nationals in light of the recent reports, when asked about who would become the second GM in Nationals' history, told MLB.com's Bill Ladson, as quoted in Mr. Ladson's article entitled, "Nats general manager resigns", "I assure you we will not miss a beat. We have a really deep staff here," but the announcement might not come for several days according to Mr. Kasten, who continued:
"'Today, I just want to talk about Jim and all he accomplished,' Kasten said. 'I can tell you that we are not missing a beat. Our staff has a meeting tomorrow morning -- first thing. I'm not going to say anything to you about the next steps for a while. There is a reason for that. It would be unwise to speculate or guess what's going on. I have some things I'm working on and things I have to think about.'"
The speculation, here and elsewhere in the press, has been that either Assistant GM Mike Rizzo, who made a dramatic (and well-documented) trip to the Dominican Republic last week to restructure the Nationals' operations in the DR, or Toronto Blue Jays' Assistant GM Tony LaCava, who would be considered for any open GM job these days, would replace Mr. Bowden should he eventually be forced to resign, but Washington Post writer Chico Harlan, (ed. note - "Who has been ALL OVER this coverage!") placed a call to his contacts in the Blue Jays' organization, and reported in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "No Request Yet To Interview LaCava", that, well, the title says it all, right?...Mr. Kasten's quoted by Mr. Harlan stating, "'I'm not going to have anything to say to you about next steps for a while -- later in the week...'"
So the speculation now turns from, "Will Bowden Go?" to "Who will be chosen to replace the only GM the Nationals have ever known?" History will have to judge the legacy Mr. Bowden left behind...Whether the draft picks, trades, signings and releases he made during his tenure will positively impact the future of the franchise, or leave it once again in need of rebuilding...either way, it's yet again the beginning of another new era in the history of the Montreal Expos, er, uh, Washington Nationals.
Around the Natosphere:
Fire Jim Bowden, "BOWDEN RESIGNS!" (ed. note - "Q: Does resigning count, Steven?")
YardYoder at "TheNatsBlog", "FFFREEEEEEEDDDDOOOM" (ed. note - "I think I spelled the title right?")
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