Jim Bowden's tips for small-market GMs
A few months ago, Stan Kasten was asked whether he considers the Nats a small-market or big-market team. He sort of suggested it's impossible to know just yet.
"I never use those designations," he told Rick Horrow on Versus. "I always talk about big revenue, small revenue, because you can be a big market like Miami but still be small revenue. I think right now we are a big market with medium revenue. I think when we do our job on the field, we're gonna be a big big market with big revenue. Two bigs in the market, only one big in revenue, because we're never gonna be L.A. or New York, but we don't have to be to win consistently."
It's an optimistic enough projection, and the "medium" category is a nice twist on the small/big dichotomy. But former GM Jim Bowden -- a man who should understand the D.C. situation fairly well -- seemed to come down decidedly on the "small" side during his latest video spot on FoxSports.com. (Video below.)
"I had to trade for Elijah Dukes in Washington," Bowden said, while discussing what small-market teams must do to succeed. "We couldn't afford to go get a $10 million outfielder, so we traded an A-ball pitcher for a guy that's been arrested I don't know how many times. When we went into the room and talked to our owners about the deal, I told the owners straight out, I said 'This guy has as good a chance of landing in jail as he does an All-Star game, but he could land in either one. We should take this chance.'
"But in a small market, what's the choice? If you don't make the trade, who's gonna play right field? And that's the question that has to be asked, and that's why small markets take the gamble. Do you want to roll over and just quit? Do you want to just give up, because you don't have the money to compete, or do you want to find a way to compete? GMs in small markets have to try to find a way."
Well then. I could also refer to Bowden's introductory remarks, where he said "This week we're gonna take a look at the difference between a big-market GM and a small-market GM. A big-market GM means big payrolls, lots of wins and job security. A small market means low payroll, lots of losses, and 4-to-6 years before you get fired."
So I guess that's another way to guess how he'd classify Washington. Bowden's tips for winning in a small market? "Good scouting, shrewd trades, and the ability to find the best young talent that can play both offense and defense."
I'd be remiss if I didn't include this exchange with Boston's Theo Epstein, conducted via Skype. (And yes, there's a statute of limitation on Bowden Bog posts. Maybe two years or so. Then he no longer counts as one of ours. Until then, you'll have to bear with me.)
Bowden: "And what's next for Theo Epstein? When you're done being a GM, do we go to President, do you go to Commissioner of baseball? What's next for Theo?"
Epstein: "I don't know about any of those things, Jim. Really, as you know, in this job, you can't think too far ahead with respect to your own career, with respect to yourself and your job. You really can't think anything but day-to-day, because you never know in this world. We'll see, if your job's open in three years, maybe I'll get a Skype account of my own and step in your shoes."
Bowden laughed. I guess it was either that or break down in tears and cry.
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