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Jim Bowden criticizes Pudge Rodriguez deal

That small rumbling you felt this morning on your way to work? That was just the universe's irony scale shifting a few degrees to the right, thanks to Jim Bowden.

Bowden, as you likely know, has been co-hosting "Baseball This Morning" on SIRIUS XM Radio's MLB Home Plate channel this week, live from the winter meetings in Indianapolis. Bowden and co-host Steve Davis are on from 7-10 a.m., and one of their first topics Tuesday morning was the Nats' signing of Ivan Rodriguez.

"Two years, $6 million?" Davis asked. "Did they need to pay Pudge two years, $6 million to mentor and back up [Jesus Flores]?"

"Following in the footsteps of Paul LoDuca and Dmitri Young, another bad [signing] by the Nationals," Bowden said, as the world's irony scale exploded. "This time by a new GM, at least," he said, as Davis laughed.

"At least a different GM is making this decision along with Stan Kasten and the organization," Bowden continued. "But $6 million for two years, a lot of eyebrows raised at 12:17 in the morning when Jon Heyman reported that it was done at $6 million. But let's give a lot of credit where credit is due. Scott Boras, his agent, was able to get a two-year guaranteed contract for a 38-year old catcher with an on-base percentage of .280...."

"Here's something I wonder about Pudge," Davis later said. "Pudge signs with the Nationals, right? And you look at Pudge, why would he want to go to the Nationals? Wouldn't he want to try to get a back-up job where he might be able to...."

"Six million dollars, Steve!" Bowden explained.

"But he's [already] loaded," Davis countered. "He doesn't want to win?"

"No no, you don't get it," Bowden said. "Six million dollars at the end of your career, that's all it is. You don't sign there if it's not, because [they're] the only team that came to the table with $6 million and two years guaranteed. This was strictly a business decision. Look, Pudge can catch it and he can throw you out, and in his day he was an impact offensive player. And as you said, he is a future Hall of Famer. The reality is he never really was very good at calling a game. Been criticized most of his career. If there's a guy on, he's going to put the one finger down. You're going to get a fastball, because he ain't gonna let that guy steal the base late in the career. That doesn't work as far as having a pitching staff get people out, and that's why this decision to mentor young pitchers, not sure if Pudge is the right guy here."

Later in the show, Rodriguez's agent Scott Boras was on, and Bowden asked the natural question.

"Early this morning or late last night you completed a deal for Pudge Rodriguez, two years, $6 million guaranteed, 38-years old, .280 on-base percentage," Bowden began. "Why does Pudge decide to go to Washington instead of a contending team?"

"I think for any player that, you know, where you have a role and you have an element where you're going to be able to have significant contribution, where you're going to play a good bit," Boras said. "And certainly in Washington Pudge has an opportunity to, particularly this year, to play at a number that's well above that of a back-up catcher. So he's going to be a significant contributor. You know, he's won a World Championship in his career and he took on a situation like this in Detroit a few years ago where a club was building, and it worked out rather well for him. So, you know, certainly Washington, on their landscape, has a great city and a chance to advance rather quickly if the ownership chooses to do so. And where Pudge was at in his career and getting a chance to stay in a place for a couple years, it worked out well."

Or, to put it another way, six million dollars!"

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 8, 2009; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Jim Bowden is definitely the pot, but if Pudge can bring some veteran leadership and consistent play, he'll be the kettle too.

Posted by: walkdwalk | December 8, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

does Bwoden think we've got that shrot a memory, or we're just plain stupid?

this is the Nats way of telling us Flores won't be ready to play until the All-Star break.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | December 8, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Of course Jimbo doesn't like the signing. I-Rod never played for the Reds.

Posted by: js_edit | December 8, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

the deal is actually 5 million

Posted by: JDB1 | December 8, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

this is the Nats way of telling us Flores won't be ready to play until the All-Star break.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | December 8, 2009 4:11 PM

Right after they told us that he'd be ready sooner than expected?

I think people are reading way more into this than need be. They have to overpay for free agents because they've lost 385 games in the last 4 seasons. Rizzo wanted someone with talent to play when Flores can't - and to pinch hit and add some credo to the club. And even with paying Pudge 5 or 6 mil they're still in the bottom ten in salary. More roster improvements will be coming - or the few of us who pay attention will go nuts. And what would be the point of that?

Posted by: Kev29 | December 8, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Bowden is funny. I wonder if he thinks people actually believe anything he says.

Anyhoo, don't discount Pudge's opportunity to play more often with the Nats than with other teams. That, and the two years, and yes the 6 mil, all add up to one thing I haven't heard much talk about - Pudge is pretty close to 3,000 hits. He probably won't get there unless he catches more than 120 games each of the two seasons, but don't ever underestimate the ego of a superstar player in hitting those types of numbers for the HOF resume. Does he need 3,000 to make the Hall, of course not, but I'd be willing to bet he wants it pretty bad. Just my opinion.

Posted by: ryaneades | December 8, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

If he gets back on the juice he could hit 35-40 homers.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 8, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

This from the buffoon who wasted umpteen millions on ridiculous deals like Willy Mo,LoDuca,Austin Kearns....Shut up.

Posted by: ridgely1 | December 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

you can say what you want about bowden, as many of you feel the need to do so ad nauseum. at the same time, his comments about pudge's ability to call the game and throwing runners out at this point in his career is spot on.

Posted by: theraph | December 8, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

you can say what you want about bowden, as many of you feel the need to do so ad nauseum. at the same time, his comments about pudge's ability to call the game and throwing runners out at this point in his career is spot on.

Posted by: theraph | December 8, 2009 5:07 PM


I'll take Jack McKeon's analysis over Bowden's any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

"What a leader he was," McKeon said. "He not only leads by example, but he was really positive with the Latin players. He's a guy that took charge. He took charge of that [2003] club. Good guy, comes to play, unselfish, does all the little things. He's a winner. I heard about the move and I couldn't wait to see Rizzo to say, 'Damn, you got one of my favorite guys!'"

Speaking about the Nationals, McKeon said, "You're probably going to get a half a year quicker development from those young guys and that's where he'll really pay off. That's where you'll really like him."

Posted by: js_edit | December 8, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

So what is the problem with Bowden's self-depricating statement? He made fun of himself here folks, no? And he is dead on in his comentary as this is a very nice job by Boras.

What I note is Boras stating that Nats ownership -- if it chooses -- can advance rather quickly. Will the Lerners make that choice or will it be yet another year of wait til next year?

Posted by: dfh21 | December 8, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Guys, please: barring the complete collapse of every other team in the NL East, except the Marlins who need only maintain the status quo, the Nats are NOT going to be contending in 2010. Everyone with a brain knows it. The difference is, they'll be putting a product on the field that is FUN - not frustrating - to watch. Some of us know how to enjoy good National League baseball without coveting a championship. (Hint: It helps to be a Yankee fan.)

Posted by: MikeH0714 | December 8, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Jim Bowden is easily one of the most loathed ex-GMs in baseball, that's one of the reasons he is on the radio and not in someone's organization after he left Washington under a cloud.

This is a guy whose close contacts and friends helped to put a pall on the organization last year with their dealings in the Dominican Republic.

The fact Bowden could even show his face in public and make comments like these are a testament to his corrosive personality.

Posted by: leopard09 | December 8, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't sure of the deal at first.

But knowing that Bowden doesn't like it instantly makes it the greatest signing in the history of the universe. Well done!

Posted by: jbanks979 | December 8, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what Cerrato-errr-Boowden has to say.

Posted by: djorl | December 8, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Jim Bowden critical of a signing by the Nat's? That's like Tiger Woods lecturing on marriage fidelity.

Posted by: tanman1 | December 9, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Of course Bowden didn't like the move. Most of Rizzo's moves are definitely the opposite of Bowden's style which was about finding cheap reclamation projects and high-risk, high-reward players.

With Rizzo's veteran signings so far, I have seen him take some chances on potential, but mainly he has been going after professional ballplayers and good clubhouse guys at the expense of a little talent. Given where the Nats are in their history, I think that's a better way to go. Build a team culture that is about playing the right way and the talent will eventually take care of itself.

Posted by: ts35 | December 9, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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