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More than 3,700 words from Jim Bowden on Aaron Crow

Let the insight roll...

BOWDEN QUOTES ON CROW

Q: Randy Hendricks says the final offer was not a major league contract?

That is correct. This is what we did. We had a major league contract on the table the entire time. We had Ben Shaffer on call. We asked Ben Shaffer what time the player had to land to do the MRI on the shoulder and on the elbow. We could not do a major-league contract, obviously, unless we could get an MRI on both the shoulder and the elbow. We invited Aaron and his advisors up here right after the draft, like we did with all our top picks, so we could meet them, talk to them. They would not let us do that. They would not let us go to the house and talk to the family. And when we did move and offer a major-league contract, when we finally did that, that was on the table up until the time we could no longer do an MRI. In case we couldn't fly him in, we had Ben Shaffer call to get an MRI available near him, so maybe we could rush him in and get an MRI and send it. We were trying to prepare for all of that. When it got to the point where we could not do an MRI, we explained to them that no longer we could do a major-league contract. The same reason why Hosmer didn't get one, the same reason why Pedro Alvarez didn't get one. You just can't do it at the end. So at the end, there was not a major-league contract on the table for us. And in fact, their final offer to us was not a major-league contract, either.

We never got a number from them until August 12 at 6 p.m. And when we finally got a number from them, it was $9 million. That $9 million never changed - I went and checked the e-mail this morning - it never changed until 11:44 p.m. And their number went from $9 million to $4.4 million at 11:44. There was never an offer between $9 million and $4.4 million, ever. It went from $9 million to $4.4 million, and that happened at 11:44 p.m. last night.

We tried to get them to engage and talk, and we tried to explain to them where our offer was. Our offer on draft day was $2.1 million. We moved to $2.2 million. We moved to $2.25 million. We stayed at $2.25 million. We did not change off of that until Brian Matusz signed with Baltimore. The minute Brian Matusz signed with Baltimore, I called Randy Hendricks and said Brian Matusz, the fourth player taken in the country, the first [pitcher] taken in the country, just signed with Baltimore. We are prepared to do a deal within that framework if you want to talk about a Matusz deal. He responded via e-mail that he had no interest in the Matusz deal and he had no interest in a deal below Matusz. So we then moved our position, we gave them a final offer at 10:30 p.m. last night, we said here's a final take-it-or-leave-it offer of $3 million, which we later moved to $3.3 million. And then verbally at the last minute, we went to $3.5 million. Which was our final offer, by phone, at 11:59 at the buzzer. The last email offer we sent them was $3.3 million.

We kept telling them where our number came from. Because he kept saying you're in a slotting system. You're trying to slot the player. We said, wait a minute. Since I've been in D.C, we've never slotted a player. Jack McGeary was not slotted. (Destin) Hood was not slotted. Steven King was not slotted. Adrian Nieto wasn't slotted. Graham Hicks wasn't. We've never slotted a player. We value players, and we negotiate based on value. We know that we paid [Ross] Detwiler $2.1 million, first round pick, sixth player taken in the country a year ago. Jack McGeary, we paid $1.8 million. We took him in the sixth round, but he was a first-round talent, he was 12th on our board. We valued the player at $1.8 million and we paid $1.8 million. It wasn't a slot deal.

We never slotted Crow. In fact, we offered Crow more than any other pitcher got in this draft. We ended up offering him, whether you want to call it $3.3 million or $3.5 million (it was $3.5 million at the buzzer). That's more than Matusz got. That's how we valued the player. We've never offered a major-league contract to a first-round pick. We offered a major-league contract to this player. That's how we valued the player. And when Matusz signed, there was a value. Gordon Beckham signed with the White Sox, right above Crow. College player of the year who we loved. He got $2.6 million. Matusz got $3.2 million. We knew what we valued Detwiler. We felt that we had a reason why we had our number. We asked them where $9 million came from. Where'd it come from? Where's your number from? Can you justify the number? No. ...

Q: So you kept e-mailing and asking where they got their $9 million from?

(They) would not engage. Would not do it through e-mail. Would not do it verbally. Then it went from $9 million to $4.4 million. That's where it was. At the last minute, he went to $4 million. And we went to $3.5 million.

Q: Between August 12 and last night, what was the dialogue?

He wouldn't return our phone calls. We talked a couple times. We kept calling. Mike [Rizzo] had a couple calls with Alan [Hendricks]. It ended up being all e-mails. We kept trying to engage in discussion. We wanted to know where the $9 million came from. We never had a number until Aug. 12. And all of a sudden, the number is $9 million. Well, no one's gotten $9 million ever. Where did it come from? Beckham signed at $4 million. He was the first player taken in the country. Crow didn't go in the first $8 million. Crow went $9 million. Anyone could have taken Crow ahead of us. They didn't. We were the first ones to take Crow. We just wanted to know where the $9 million came from. We wanted to negotiate a deal. We wanted to sign the player. That's the point. We wanted the player.

Q: Why did they wait until Aug. 12 to give you a dollar figure?

That's a question for them. That's not for us. We gave them a number on day one. The only thing we were told on the day of the draft was that they wanted a major-league contract and they wanted a "out-of-the-box" deal. Later, they used the word "premium." We want a major-league contract and a premium deal. Well, you can define premium deal. I don't know how you define it. They never put a number to premium. The way he kept wording slotting, maybe it's above slotting. Whatever the slot numbers were, obviously we dwarfed that.

Q: Any discussions before Aug. 12?

All of the conversations prior to that time all were between Alan and myself. And I would just continue to call and say, this is where we define the player, let's look at Detwiler. Sixth player in the country. We paid him $2.15 million. This player was taken ninth. We think they're similar players. This is how we see the market. [His reponse]: "Jim, it's going to take a major-league contract, out of the box." We did not give into a major league contract for most of the summer until this week. We went this week, but most of the dialogue was we were asking them to engage, asking them for a number. They would not give us a number. Let's negotiate.

This is why we want to sign him. If you sign him, he'll be in the big leagues in September. He's in our rotation next year. He's a year closer to arbitration, and a year closer to free agency. Let's get him out there. Let's do a deal. We did it with Zimmerman. We did it with Detwiler. Let's get his clock going. Let's go. We want quick signings. We don't like sitting out all summer.

At the end of the day, I read (Hendricks') quote, which said ... tell me what his quote was. How much did he say we were apart? 700 [thousand]? 500 [thousand] ? Ok, so in his opinion we were $700,000 apart and the club walked away. Is that what he said? We were the only club to walk away? Well he's the only agent that didn't sign his player either, and he didn't sign his player over $700,000 if that's the number. I'm not agreeing with that, but if that's the number, let's just say that he's right for the sake of the conversation, which he's not, he walked away from $700,000. He's the only agent that didn't do a deal. And the player now has already missed this year. Now the player has got to miss next year. He goes into the draft next June. Hopefully he negotiates faster than this year and doesn't go until August 15. But now he has missed two years. Whereas, if he's with us, he's pitching in the big leagues in August and September, all next year and he's that much closer to arbitration and free agency.

Q: The fact that this organization has so emphasized it's ability to scout and sign players, do you think they tried to use that as leverage?

You'll have to ask them that question. The one thing we did have is we had the ability to value the player and we negotiated beyond what we thought was fair and reasonable based on the market shift. We went with the market. When Castro signed at $2.075, we reacted and we moved. When Matusz signed, we reacted and we moved. When Gordon Beckham signed, we reacted and we moved. We did not stick with, 'Well, that's the way it was coming in.' Because last year all those guys got $1.8 to $2.1. When Beckham got $2.6 and Matusz got $3.2, we went right with whatever the market was.

Q: If a player signs a major league contract, is it part of the CBA that he has to have an MRI or physical?

No, no, no. What if he has an ulnar collateral ligament strain? I give him a major league deal, a four-year deal with a net present value of (trails off). Our major league deal on the table had $400 [thousand], $400 [thousand], $500 [thousand], $600 [thousand] a year with minor league splits on it. That's all guaranteed. I can't do that deal and then find out he's got a bad elbow. With a minor league contract I can void the contract if he's not healthy. That's why we had Ben Shaffer prepared.

Q: What was your reaction when you saw $9 million?

You know, I've done this long enough. I've watched the process. I get the process. It didn't faze me as much as, you know, let's just negotiate. Let's get on the table. Let's talk. Let's try to work it out. Why are you at $9 million? We'll tell you where we're at and let's see if we can work out the details? We wanted to engage. We wanted to negotiate."

Q: Do you feel like part of this is a product of miscommunication?

Absolutely not. The communication is all documented. It was endless communication. They clearly know our position and we clearly know what they did. It is clear. It's not a he-said, she-said. He's got the emails. We've got the emails. We might not have all the phone calls that were done with Alan and I and some that were done with Randy and I in the middle, but there's enough dialogue to know that both sides are very clear on what took place. There will be no dispute over when they went from 9 to 4.4. It was all in text.

We offered more than [Mastusz]. We dwarfed what Gordon Beckham got from the White Sox. That pick went before us. They wanted a major league contract. We did not want to do it. We gave in. We gave them that. They wanted an out of the box deal. We gave them an out of the box deal. We tried to understand where they were coming from. We tried to value the player properly and we tried to negotiate a contract to sign the player. But that being said, we're not going to be bullied into just giving a number just because someone says, 'You've got to pay 'X.'' We have to negotiate a contract that is consistent with the value of the player and consistent with what the marketplace is paying at the time we negotiate the deal.

We sit here today, and it would be a lot different conversation if we didn't have 9B. That's a little bit easier to swallow because what we have is we've lost one really good player, but 10 months from now we can get the exact same talented player back. There's a lot of pitching in next year's draft, and we feel confident that with our 10th pick next year there will be a Crow or similar talented player sitting there for us. We've just got to wait 10 months.

Q: Do you think Crow ever really wanted to be part of this organization?

They wouldn't come up here, but I had one conversation with the dad prior to last night and one conversation with him last night. In my conversation with him, he said he and his son were 'tickled pink' that the Nationals drafted him. That was his exact words. Tickled pink. Yeah, so I think this was strictly a negotiation. I did call the father last night after our $3.5 [million] was rejected. We sent an email to Aaron and I made a phone call to the dad prior to 12 just to say, 'I just want to make sure that you're aware that you all rejected $3.5 [million] and we hope you reconsider because we really want you a National. And the dad said, 'Look, I'm tired. My adviser, Randy and Alan Hendricks, are handling negotiations and they're making the decisions.' I said, 'OK. Well I just want you to know that we really wanted your son to sign. If you change your mind between now and midnight give us a call because we'd like to sign him.' So we did have that phone call with the dad, we did send one of the e-mails to the son just so he was aware what had taken place. We also had a conversation -- and it did get them upset -- but we wanted to make sure that when we did get the $9 million offer, one of our scouts did contact the dad just to let him know: You're really at $9 million here with a day to go.

Q: August 15, does it work?

The system doesn't work. And, you know, I think it would be in the best interest of the players and the clubs and the fans if there was a hard slotting system, whatever the numbers end up being -- let's take the numbers out. The player has to sign into the draft. They have to say they're going to sign, and sign into the draft. The clubs then are allowed to take the best player, and wherever you're drafted, the slotting system will pay you whatever that value is. ... It should be a system where you don't have small markets trying to do pre-cut deals or small markets not taking the best player because they can't afford him. It should be a system where everybody gets to take the best player when it's their turn to draft, and the player should sign and go. We shouldn't sit all summer. Aaron Crow shouldn't have to go home right now and play for the Fort Worth Cats and sit out and wait 'til next year's June draft and then maybe until August 14 before he signs again. I don't think that's fair to him, I don't think it's good for baseball, it's not good for the club, it's not good for anybody.

I just think a hard slotting system would be the long-term solution for our sport. To sit there and have the negotiations that took place with several clubs between 11:30 and 12 where you're talking about huge movements with lots of players where some teams didn't even have conversations with the agent until quarter to 12 last night, and deals got done at 11:59 with literally, I understand, no conversations for long periods of time. I'm not sure that's the best way to do business for a sport.

Q: You were criticized at some point - you should have known what this player was looking for.

I made the point last night: We call them before the draft, and last year, we passed on (Rick) Porcello; we understood the price tag was $10 million and he wasn't on our signability sheet. We couldn't afford it. Had we known that Aaron Crow's number was $9 million, we would have passed on the player. We don't have it in the budget to pay that kind of money. But all the top picks, what are they going to say, what are their agents going to say? We want a major league contract and we want a premium-dollar deal. That's of course what you're going to say if you're an agent or a player.

Q: If when you're gauging signability before the draft and everybody's total is inflated, how do you measure this?

We want to take the best player; we owe that to our organization and our fans. But, there's a difference. You've got a value. There's a high risk with a high school pitcher. To put a $10 million value on a high school pitcher with a risk of being injured isn't something that, philosophically, we support. That doesn't mean there won't be an exception some day because two years from now, three years from now, maybe we take that player because there's an exception. But for us, it's gonna be very hard to ever price a high school pitcher at $10 million.

You know, Pedro Alvarez signing with Pittsburgh I thought was a really good signing; he's a good player, he's gonna hit in the middle of their lineup really quick. It's all about valuing the player. What is the player worth?

We just want to get the best players. When it was our turn to pick, it was clear that Aaron Crow was the player we wanted to take. We have no regrets over taking him. We only regret that we weren't able to sign him. We just wanted to sign him.

Q: People see the money that was given this year to a Lo Duca or an Estrada and wonder, well, when you have a player you really do value, why can't you give him that $1 million?

I get that argument, too. We've used it, too. We sit here and say, What if we trade this guy and that guy? Or, I can move this contract to make that work. But we have a system in place of valuing players in a marketplace. You can't just be writing blank checks because people want them.

Q: What about when you're talking about the bonus money given to Crow and then Ramirez in the 15th round?

He was done at one minute 'til midnight at the end. Here was a guy that, we were holding on to that because we didn't know if we had enough money in our budget to get Ramirez. We had enough money to get Ramirez because we didn't sign Crow. So that was done right there at the end. Because, OK, the money is sitting there and he's a first-round talent. We took him like McGeary late but we didn't think we could sign him. He wanted $1.6 million and we negotiated all summer with him, but at the end of the day, we didn't think there were enough dollars. We wanted to save our money in case we could save Crow. That was what we were trying to do. Our scouting budget that we had to sign players - we were saving it for Crow. When he fell apart, we picked up the deal and closed it at the last minute.

Q: Ramirez?

We really like J.P. We think he's got the potential to be a Brian Giles-in-his-prime caliber hitter, a left-hander that can really hit. We loved him, but he was an unsignable player. We took him off our board. We had him up high, but he wanted $1.6 million; we knew he wasn't No. 9 in the country where we picked, and we knew we couldn't afford him in the next spot. But we kept the conversations going, invited him up here with his mom, he came up here and hit, spent a lot of time with him... And we're very pleased. That's a first-round talent.

Q: Marcus Jones?

He got $150,000.

Q: September call-up for Crow, just to be clear, which you'd mentioned at the beginning... that would have been this year?

Oh sure. Sure. Yeah, through the process we offered him a major league deal. Through the process we offered a September call-up. We took our offer from $2 million to the end of the day $3.5 million. At times there was a major league contract offer in there, at times there wasn't. But we were very flexible.

Q: At what point did the major league contract, just because of the time element, become unfeasible?

Um, we were told that we had to have him in the tube at 6:30 p.m. yesterday in order to make sure we'd get the answers. Once it was determined we couldn't do 6:30, then our offer became a minor league contract, which was understood, and their counter-offers at the end were minor league contracts. Their offers were not major league contracts at the end. They understood that. Just like Hosmer's guys did and Alvarez's guys did.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 16, 2008; 6:17 PM ET
 
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Next: One Player Going to a Contender, Nine Players Who Are Not

Comments

Man... Coverage is lacking...

Chico you need to step up on this, I mean, c'mon? 3,700 words? Thats it?

Geeeeeeez...

(Nice job)

Posted by: natsinthevalley | August 16, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Fire that GM -- now!

Posted by: ohplease | August 16, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Well done Chico. Well done. Thank you for an excellent interview....I think it's obvious Crow just did not want to play for the Nats. Time will tell if that was a wise decision as he turned a lot of money that he's not guaranteed of ever seeing again.

Posted by: Cobra | August 16, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Chico: Stan Kasten said awhile back that they'd use money not spent on draft bonuses to sign International Free Agents. Could you ask Kasten or Bowden if that's still part of the plan? By my count they have almost $2.4 million saved from Crow. There are several Cuban junior players that defected in Canada recently. Please find out what, if anything, they plan to do.

Right now this will come down to Ramirez+Jones+9B vs. Crow. I wouldn't mind seeing them up the first side of that equation.

Posted by: John | August 16, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post! I learned a lot about the process from it. It'll be interesting to get the other side of the story. It seems like Crow picked the wrong agents. Has this agency been around awhile? Who else do they represent? By the way, there's nothing that turns off fans more than greedy athletes. I'm glad he's going elsewhere from what I'm reading here. Lastly, I like Bowden's idea about slotting for the draft. The agents are out of control.

Posted by: Nats Fan | August 16, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

If I acurately interperate what Boden says, what I am hearing is "I will not play for Washington!"

Posted by: 6th and D | August 16, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Both sides failed. This is compelling CYA from JimBo, though.

Posted by: Carl Williams | August 16, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Chico. Great work, as others have noted!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree re. greedy athletes, Nats Fan. Among others, I believe that the firm has represented Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, and Mike Stanton.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 16, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, until we hear from the other side, this does not seem like a reason to fire JimBlow . . . luckily we have all those other reasons.

Posted by: Other Marc with a C | August 16, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate your giving us Bowden's full answers, Chico. They seem pretty candid. I don't doubt we tried pretty hard to get him.

I can only imagine the sunken feeling Aaron and his family must be feeling today. Regardless of "fault," it must feel like an enormous missed opportunity.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 16, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

so, who do you believe more here:

Jim Bowden, or Randy Hendricks?

Posted by: MrMadison | August 16, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

personally, as much as it pains me to say this...I'm siding with Bowden on this one.

remember, Hendricks is the one who produced a 18,000 word essay on why Roger Clemens is the greatest human being alive....oops, I mean on why Roger Clemens never used steroids.

the Hendricks just screwed Aaron Crow out of a near-guaranteed September call-up and a lot of money.

I guarantee you, he will *not* officially sign with them, and the Hendricks will not be his "advisors" for next years draft.

Posted by: MrMadison | August 16, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

That all sounds nice, but what we are left with is no first round pick while Florida, NY, Philly, and Atlanta all got better. The worst team in the league just got worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I really side with the Nats on this one. I hope the Hendricks bros. see a lot less interest from players after this fiasco, although to be fair, we haven't read a thorough interview with them yet.

Posted by: BF | August 16, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I think some of the things that Bowden says that can be verified--Crow never visited here, he was not willing to take an MRI (I say he wasn't willing because he didn't do it), even Bowden isn't dumb enough to say something that can be proven inaccurate by e-mail evidence--are pretty telling. One, they show that Crow either really never planned on playing here, or the Hendricks' chose to make it seem that way to force the Nats number up. Two, they may indicate that there IS an injury concern. I can't imagine that if he wanted a Major League deal, and the team said the only way a Major League deal gets done is to have an MRI, that Crow wouldn't have conceded. Three, the $9 million number not getting thrown until Tuesday indicates that the strategy of the Hendricks' was to be ridiculous, then right at the deadline be less ridiculous, but still pretty nuts, and the Nats will fee you're doing them a favor.

I think that the things Bowden says point to an unwillingness on the part of the Hendricks' to deal.

Posted by: Cavalier | August 16, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating. Thanks, Chico.

Posted by: Annie Savoy | August 16, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

thats pathetic when you are so bad, you tell a 20 yr old kid he will not have to play really more than a month of minor league ball in his career, and he still balks. This oganization is in shambles

Posted by: luv da nats | August 16, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

The most telling thing in this entire interview is Bowden's comments on Ramirez. As far as Crow is concerned, not signing a player for more than the Nats determine he is "worth" is one thing, especially when his demands are disproportionate to other draftees. And quite frankly, though it might be a great shock to some of you on here, I don't have a problem with the Nats' position.

But when signing Ramirez or not comes down to a "budget" for this team--a guy who JimBo just described as a "first-round talent," then what does that say? It screams cheap. Let's be clear on what Bowden said about signing this guy--unlike Crow, the issue wasn't whether or not the Nats thought Ramirez was worth the money he would sign for. The issue was only whether the Nats had enough money in their "budget" to sign him. Why should thay be the case? For a team that is tens of millions of dollars behind the pack on the big-league payroll side of things, the fact that the Lerners would approach draft signings this way shows how shallow their commitment to "The Plan" really is. What a joke.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 16, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we don't need any pitching!

Posted by: Carl Williams | August 16, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Nice interview, Chico. Hopefully you'll be able to work this in to a feature some time soon and follow up on your feature about how the Nats' system still lacks a premier power arm.

Natsinthevalley, if you think the coverage issue revolves around whether or not the beat writer is able to run a lengthy interview on the online blog, you really don't get it.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | August 16, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

It's a pity that Lannan never gets any run support ....

Posted by: Aaron Crow | August 16, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

your entire team concept is built on draft picks. your team stinx. people arent jumping out of the woodwork to play on you lousy team. if you havta overpay to get draft picks to sign, you betta overpay and get them signed. dont wanna hear no excuses.

every freakin team except the yanks signed their draft picks. and last i looked, the nats aint no yanks. the yanks are doin fine thank you, the nats are the laughing stock of the freaking league.
there is absolutely no explanation for not signing your draft pick.

Posted by: dk | August 16, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Well done, Chico, you and Brian are the only ones who come out of the Crow fiasco better than you went in.

I'm delighted that Ramirez signed but JB implied we would not have signed him had Crow signed, despite the fact that he was viewed as a 1st round talent. This seems counter to the highly hyped plan. If the plan is to work the Nats will have to outspend the competition in the draft at least for a few years. It appears that they are not willing to do so.

Why do I feel like I'm being played?

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 16, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

LAC,
I was tyuping while you were posting. I'm beginning to agree.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 16, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

has anyone noticed lannan has over a 5.5 era at home this season?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I hear you SP63, I really wish it wasn't this way, but the message is becoming pretty clear.

If the Lerners really aren't pocketing a penny in profit as promised, where is the money going? Seriously. The team ranks fifth-lowest in baseball in payroll, and first in baseball in income. They're not spending millions and millions more than everyone else on signing amateurs, from the US or internationally. So what are they doing with the money?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 16, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

So you guys are like a whole new ballclub, huh?

Posted by: Lopez & LoDuca | August 16, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

What is the profit sharing like in the Major Leagues?

Posted by: Cavalier | August 16, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

On another thought - "batting stance guy" just put a video on you tube on the Nats four hours ago. This guy is hilarious!

Posted by: Baseball fan | August 16, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I've been a professional contracts negotiator longer than I care to remember - about 29 years. We used to have a saying "what does the number want to be?" If the numbers are accurate, it appears to me that someone grossly overestimated Crow's worth. Sometimes you have to walk away from a deal.

The body of evidence over the last two years is that, all other faults aside, the Nats WILL go over slot to sign draftees.

Posted by: Millon de Floss | August 16, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Sign Texeira then I'll believe you can deal with Scott Boros and the number 1 overall draft pick in 2009.

Posted by: Tom | August 16, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Batting Stance Guy on you tube just posted a new video on the Nats. This guy is great and one of my favorite things on the web. I just found it an hour ago. Its only been posted for 4 hours.

Posted by: Baseball fan | August 16, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I can never recall a GM going into so much public detail regarding a failed negotiation. It really reeks of amateurism. Even if everything went down like Bowden says, I find it highly unprofessional to reveal all of those details. At a minimum it will be more difficult to work with Hendricks again. But I think this interview only adds to Bowdens' reputation as a hack. Bottom line is that this is business, and the Nats blew a negotiation. For him to deflect blame onto the other party is a shameless attempt to skirt accountability. Nothing the Hendricks did was outside what happens all the time....Boras is famous for last minute highjinks. The team was just not prepared and it's clear to me by the negotiations that the Nationals were just trying to keep the deal as low as they could....they had no idea what the market was or how they valued Crow.

Posted by: vaclipper | August 16, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I side with the NATS and did so in the poll. These kids with fat heads and stars in their eyes think they can ask for the moon and get it. Welcome to Reality Crowe. It doesn't work that way. To be a MLB player you have to prove yourself constantly and consistently. You have to work towards what you want in life. Unfortunately many of todays players don't have that attitude.

Good for Bowden for only paying what the market indicated for a quality draft pick abd not bowing to this kid's agent's temper tantrum.

Posted by: CALSGR8 | August 16, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

So now Bowden talks of a draft budget? Being that our MLB payroll for the last few years has probably been at least 40 million a year lower than it should have been based on our market we are now told we are being limited by a draft budget? Where is the Nats revenue from the brand new stadium being spent? We can't sign Free Agents, our MLB payroll is in the bottom tier. Now we don't sign our top draft pick. Is Bowden skimming money from the Diamond Club revenue? Fans who are paying Major League prices for a Minor League product deserve better. Four year season ticket holder - WE WON'T BE BACK NEXT YEAR.

Posted by: I Hate Plans | August 16, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

My suggestion: see if you can convert Ayala into a starter. He looks like a 15-game winner to me.

Posted by: Aaron Crow | August 16, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like one of two things happened here:
1. Crow *really* didn't want to play in Washington. Its possible that all of this was just posturing to get away from the team with the worst record in baseball. Which really makes little sense since he'd be playing w/ the big club in September, would probably have a shot at our starting rotation in spring 2009, and would be that much closer to free agency and a road out of town if he was that anti-DC.

2. Crow's agent unbelievably blew this. If its true that he ducked phone calls and refused to negotiate then that's close to malpractice. How is Crow served by basically sitting around for an entire year (since he's signed a pro contract) and then probably falling into the mid-teens next year with NO leverage against who signs him (what if some poorly run franchise drafts him next year, a team like Kansas City or Houston with little chance of succeeding AND bad management)? He gets less money, absolutely won't get a major league contract next year, and apparently enters a stronger draft.

dumb dumb dumb. I can't fault anything the Nats did here.

Posted by: Sec131 | August 16, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

The key question to the next Nats GM will be how "The Plan" is going to be modified now that draft pick salaries are getting out of control and how to justify paying this much money to unknown players. At this point they might as well spend the money on MLB free agents rather than a pick they probably will be a bust.

Posted by: What Now? | August 16, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

bowden contradicted himself about 30 times in that. Keep your mouth shut dude. I want the crow side of the story. Something tells me bowden screwed them over (like he did with cordero, of course different circumstances) and maybe by not saying anything, crow has class. He was rubbed the wrong way from the start by bowden and the lerners. Read keith law on espn, it's a good read from a real insider

Posted by: natsss | August 16, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Aaron Crow and his agent are grade A douches

Posted by: tellmeaboutit | August 16, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of Bowden's, but he did the right thing here. But the stakes go up for next year's draft.

Posted by: Ashburn | August 17, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Aaron, how does it feel to lose out on 3.5 million and an almost guaranteed Sept 2008 call up? Fire your agent, now. Have fun in Fort Worth....dumbass.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | August 17, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Jim Bowden does not negotiate with terrorists.

Posted by: Dubya | August 17, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

If they didn't have enough to sign both Crow and Ramirez this year, then how will they sign both 1 and 9a next draft?

Posted by: Cash Rules Everything Around Me | August 17, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Great post Chico. Thank you for asking Bowden why they didn't know about Crow's lack of signability prior to drafting him point blank. Too bad he didn't answer it directly.

As others have noted, Bowden discussing the budget and holding money back from other picks to give to Crow is by far the most telling thing in this article. Hmmm. This has never been mentioned by Nationals management in its many media discussions regarding The Plan. I have a feeling we weren't supposed to know about that.

Clearly Bowden realizes how much credibility the organization loses by failing to sign a draft pick after all this time touting that they are re-tooling the minor league system while putting on the major league field a team destined to lose 110 games. But the bottom line remains unchanged. The Nationals are the only team with a top ten pick that didn't sign. And they are the team that needs help the most.

Posted by: Ray | August 17, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

The detail in the piece is illuminating. It reaffirms my conclusion that the Hendricks screwed their client in this case. For all those saying that they want to hear the agents' details on the story I would like to know why they stuck to 9 million and would not let their client have an MRI done. Does it sound a little fishy-like perhaps they were trying to hide something? No one is going to know the answer to that for a while. What is the deal with Hendriks not taking phone calls? Does that sound like a professional agent? These guys had a good reputation going in to this deal. I don't see them smelling so good after this one though. I always thought that an agent's job was to get the best deal that he could and act in his client's interest. If the Nats truly offered a deal that was way beyond slot and the offer of a September shot in the big leagues it seems that not taking this offer was unjustified on the part of the agents. It will not be in Crow's interest to sit for another 12 plus months. If the following year's draft is deeper then the chances of them getting 3.5 million decreases because he probably will not be drafted as high. I certainly was in the camp of those who anxiously anticipated Crow pitching for the Nats. However, the way that this went down I can live with pick 9A next year.

Posted by: Dale | August 17, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if mlb can pre-determine each year the value of every pick and adjust for inflation and then just say to all players drafted....this is the number, take or leave it. Make that a two year deal, guaranteed, and then the player can negotiate a contract based on performance. This crap of just handing out 7 figures to all these clowns and then have them never materialize into quality players is wrong. If they don't prove to have any worth after 2 years, to bad, try carpentry, or some other trade or continue there education.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 17, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Anybody who thinks having a budget means you are cheap is an idiot. Anybody who thinks 3.5M was not enough is clueless.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 17, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

so, who do you believe more here:

Jim Bowden, or Randy Hendricks?
___________________________

I hate to say it, but Bowden. Hendricks must have really done a number on Crow and his father. Makes me question how intelligent Crow is.

I hate to see the highlights of Crow on Comcast. He seems like a beast. But in reality, if he's not willing to deal, if he doesn't want to play on the squad, and if he isn't serious enough to tell his agent to stop screwing around, then IMO he's not ready for professional baseball.

I'm a tad concerned about Bowden's waiting until Aug 12th for an offer. If he hasn't heard from the player/agent, then shouldn't he make an offer himself???

Posted by: 756* | August 17, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

NatBisquit, it does mean they are cheap when they have a budget for signing draft picks that would have prevented Bowden from signing Ramirez at what Bowden believed was a fair price. Signing young talent through the draft is the way the Lerners promised to build--and it is their justification for spending tens of millions of dollars less on mlb payroll than they can afford. So how can you justify a budget that, had they signed Crow, would have caused them to miss out on "the next Brian Giles" for a bonus number they could live with? Total draft bonuses pale in comparison to the amount of money they are saving on mlb payroll.

So rather than call people idiots, why don't you explain yourself. If you need to sober up first, we'll look for your response in the morning.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 17, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

According to Bowden's comments, he made an offer on draft day - 2.1 million. That's almost exactly what they gave to Detweiler last year at the number six spot.

Posted by: Brian G | August 17, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Hey Aaron. You are a certified, no frills IDIOT and loser. You have to take charge buddy - and you failed - miserably. You let a bunch of agents in suits determine your future. You are stupid son. You just turned down more money than most people see in their lifetime. Frankly, I hope you blow out your arm and have to wash dishes the rest of your life - dumbass.

Posted by: egrib | August 17, 2008 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Will someone help me out--what with the Nat,s present w/l record and they finish with the WORST RECORD in baseball--WHERE WOULD THEY PICK IN NEXT YEAR,S DRAFT--excluding the 9A/B pick??? Would appreciate the answer.

Posted by: vergens2 | August 17, 2008 3:30 AM | Report abuse

V2,
The y'd pick first and tenth.

Let's pick two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 17, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Mr. M. and 756* on the Hendricks/Bowden credibility issue (at least as pertains to this situation).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 17, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

0% of 3.5 million = 0% of 9 million = 1 well-deserved payday for this sub-rookie and his handlers.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

The biggest surprise in the poll -- that there are 350 people who care about this, considering the disaster that is the 2008 season.

Posted by: pollwatch | August 17, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"I'm a tad concerned about Bowden's waiting until Aug 12th for an offer. If he hasn't heard from the player/agent, then shouldn't he make an offer himself???"

Perhaps you should go back and re-read the 3700 words. The Nationals made an initial offer right after the draft, and even raised it a little bit as time went on. They heard no initial offer from Crow until Aug 12th, despite repeated attempts to engage his agents in dialogue.

Posted by: Ray King's Gut Feeling | August 17, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Chico - first of all, great stuff.

ANd I assume we'll get a thousand words from the Hendricks brothers tomorrow - their rebuttal.

To NATSSS - can you show me where Bowden contradicted himself 30 times? How about 5 to start?

For the multitude of posters who are concerned that the Nats and Bowden have to work from a budget - it's called business. Everyone has a budget and guidelines and I am sure that Bowden know that he can ask to stretch his budget if need be.

As for the conspiracy theorists saying that Crow just didn't want to pitch for the Nats, go back and look at the Dad's response to Bowden's last minute call, "Look, I'm tired." - I've never been too tired to talk about $3.5M and as a dad (my kids are way young), I'd be all over the Hendricks making sure that my son was being taken care of. Not, I'm tired. I'm tired menas I don't care. It seems to me that Crow didn't want to sign all along. The $9M
offer, the refusal to get an MRI and finally, "I'm tired." all adds up to - I'm not signing with you.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | August 17, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Dad's response "I'm tired" could also mean that "I am about 3 degrees removed from the decision chain regarding my son". I think it has more to do with the anxiety and emotional strain of gambling with millions of dollars. The same strain can be detected in Bowden's long string of consciousness explanation. I am sure that are parties involved are bewildered and perhaps wishing that the clock could be set back to somewhere around August 12 when the Hendriks could begin by putting out a real figure for the start of negotiations. Sticking with the 9 million figure until 11:40 Friday is an example of the lunatic fringe of an agent's thinking.

Posted by: Dale | August 17, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Any chance we can get reporting on how much agents played chicken right up to midnight for the other final first round signees? The Hendricks holding out until fifteen minutes before midnight and then putting the Nats in a take-it-or-leave it position at $4.4M is a tremendous flaw in the CBA if that happened to all the teams as the clock wound down. If the Nats had bent to the extortion would they have been the most out-of-whack/overslot in the first round? I'd like to know Chico.

Posted by: Arlington Nats Fan | August 17, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

That doubleheader sweep seems like it must have been a fairytale, so long ago. : < ((

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 17, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, of course that's the case that there's a budget and Bowden can ask to have it adjusted. But the fact is that the budget wasn't adjusted--for a guy Bowden describes as a "first-round-talent" and potentially "Brian Giles in his prime." So the question is, why not? The answer is, because the Lerners are incredibly cheap. The Plan is a snow job.
_____________________

For the multitude of posters who are concerned that the Nats and Bowden have to work from a budget - it's called business. Everyone has a budget and guidelines and I am sure that Bowden know that he can ask to stretch his budget if need be.


Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | August 17, 2008 9:09 AM

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 17, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

A shocking conclusion by LAC.

Posted by: Not really. | August 17, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Crow's decision may have been the equivalent of a John Elway move except MLB doesn't permit draft trades.

But Crow's view of the Nats was so low that he was willing to wait a year. And, you know, he probably made the right decision.

With the Lerners running the show, few self-respecting players will want to play here. Get use to it, folks. It's our future.

Posted by: ohplease | August 17, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

What's this "CBA" stand for?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 17, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

As we are talking about draft signing "budgets" and how cheap the Lerners are, it might be helpful to look at some numbers on the big league payroll side of things. The point here for present purposes is not that big league payroll should be bigger, but to show that the Nats are spending tens of millions of dollars less than other teams on the big league payroll side of things--so where is the money going? Why are we hearing about a "budget" constraining deals that the Nats would like to make (like signing Ramirez), at a price the Nats believe is fair, when player development is the one area that they vowed to focus on, and when they aren't spending the money anywhere else?

Also, let's remember how much money is at issue here when we're talking about draft signings--per NFA, last year the Nats spent $7.9 million on the draft. While that was good relative to most other teams (fifth-highest), it is still a drop in the bucket. Also, keep in mind that other teams are signing guys too, so the marginal difference is much smaller.

So, to the numbers. The Nats rank 26th in big league payroll this year, at approximately $55 million. Here is a sampling of how far behind other teams the Nats are:

Royals: $3 million more than Nats (rank 25)
Twins: $7 million more than Nats (rank 24)
Orioles: $12 million more than Nats (rank 22)
Rangers: $13 million more than Nats (rank 21)
Padres: $18 million more than Nats (rank 19)
Reds: $19 million more than Nats (rank 18)
Indians: $24 million more than Nats (rank 16)
Brewers: $26 million more than Nats (rank 15)
Astros: $34 million more than Nats (rank 14)
Phillies: $43 million more than Nats (rank 13)
Blue Jays: $43 million more than Nats (rank 12)
Braves: $47 million more than Nats (rank 10)
Mariners: $63 million more than Nats (rank 9)
Cubs: $64 million more than Nats (rank 7)
Mets: $83 million more than Nats (rank 3)
Tigers: $84 million more than Nats (rank 2)
Yankees: $154 million more than Nats (rank 1)


Think about that list. So the Nats are paying tens of millions of dollars less than other teams on big league payroll. And they have stated clearly their intentions to build the team through drafting and developing young players. Yet they are constrained by a "budget" that limits them from signing guys they want to sign, at a price they agree is otherwise fair? When we're talking about a budget that is probably in the neighborhood of $10 million or so? That is pathetic. The Plan is a sham.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | August 17, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Collective Bargaining Agreement (between the players' union and MLB)

I'd come up with something funny instead, but I'm tired.
************
What's this "CBA" stand for?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 17, 2008 10:39 AM

Posted by: Section 3, my couch, gonna take a nap now | August 17, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Collective Bargaining Agreement, NatsNut.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 17, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Sleepy or not you beat me to the punch, Sect. 3. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 17, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Willie Harris would have gotten the kid signed for $2.1M payable only to his grandmother, and his major-league contract would have been that he had to be Screech all during September.

Posted by: Section 3 mc | August 17, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Good post, LAC. Agree 100% and it's the same point I've been making on other forums about this group. I actually think your payroll numbers above are a bit dated as a few of those payrolls have increased significantly from where they were when that data was originally compiled.

As far as next year's draft goes, if our signing budget is in the neighborhodd of $10mil then we can forget about 9A being anyone worth a damn because Strasburg (if we're lucky enough to get him) is going to command an amateur deal the likes of which nobody has ever received. And if we're not able to pony up the money to get a potantial once-a-generation talent like Strasburg into our organization then I have better things to do with my money than spend it on the Nationals.

Posted by: timc | August 17, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Budgets? We ain't got no budgets ... We don't got to show you no stinking budgets!

For the multitude of posters who are concerned that the Nats and Bowden have to work from a budget - it's called business. Everyone has a budget and guidelines and I am sure that Bowden know that he can ask to stretch his budget if need be.


Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | August 17, 2008 9:09 AM

Posted by: Alphonso Bedoya | August 17, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Looks to me the only way the Nat's could have signed sign Crow would be to cave in and accept the ridiculous terms. A $9M bonus, major league contract and no MRI? Get real. The kid is the big loser in his agent's game of chicken. Now he waits another whole year to be re-drafted and plays in a dead end minor league? If he wasn't serious about signing with the Nat's he should have gone back to MU for his senior year. Wow, he could have been playing in the bigs next month with a shot at the starting rotation next spring with over $3M in the bank. Probably could have gotten tha ML contract too if the agent hadn't stalled until it was too late. Hard to see the advantage for the kid in this outcome. Hope he enjoys the bus rides in Texas with his new club.

Posted by: NatMan | August 17, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

*************
"I'm tired" means I don't care.
Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | August 17, 2008 9:09 AM

Posted by: s3mc | August 17, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

wah wah wah . they werent fair. they wanted to much money.
funny how every other team was somehow able to sign their picks. every other team except the number 28th pick. every other team got it done.
well done nats.

Posted by: dk | August 17, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

bowden is beyond a joke. the ownership of this team is pitiful. the nats are now ridiculous and sad on and off the field. talk about setting a tone from the top down. this top is empty.
what did bowden actually say, we'll just have to wait 10 months longer. did he really say that? this coming from the worst team in sports. yea we don't mind waiting. we're so bad it doesnt really matter.
wow.

Posted by: dk | August 17, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

And the other side of the coin - every other agent found a way to get a deal done and get their client in uniform - but the Hendricks, did not. Worse, Crow has signed an Indy contract and will not be allowed to pitch his senior year at Missouri - which gives him little chance to improve his draft standing.

----------------
wah wah wah . they werent fair. they wanted to much money.
funny how every other team was somehow able to sign their picks. every other team except the number 28th pick. every other team got it done.
well done nats.

Posted by: dk | August 17, 2008 12:07 PM

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | August 17, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

btw 3000 words from bowden on this:

it seems he doth protest too much!!!

Posted by: dk | August 17, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't see any problem with having a draft budget...but don't fall into the trap of blaming the player's reps. for trying to get all they can. The fact is that the amateur draft is an incredible bargain for the owners. The Nationals are paying Dmitri Young $5 million to eat eclairs and bon bons. They are paying Belliard $2.5 million. That is the "market" for ML players no one wanted. If they truly felt that Crow would be ready for the majors next year, then how can they with a straight face argue that the difference between $3.5 million and $4.4 million is a deal breaker? For that money, they get the right to control a top flight pitcher for the first 6 years of his major league career at below market prices.

I think that the Nats caved into peer pressure to not break the bank and that the only people who benefited from this breakdown is the other owners who will not have to cave into high demands next time. If there's one organization in baseball that should be willing to thumb their noses at the rest of the league it should be us. We've been handed a crappy organization, and are still expected to toe the line on amateur contracts to keep other teams' profits high. That's what really ticks me off.

Posted by: vaclipper | August 17, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

so bowden said they werent bullied, then caved to his demands by going from 2.1-3.5. Thats being pushed around. If they value him as 2.1 THEY WERE NUTS. This guy was the number 2 player in the draft according to baseball america. He is much better than jack mccgeary who got 1.8 in the 6th round. That deal is financially haunting this team right now. It sent a terrible precedent. Bowden does not know what hes doing and HE is the bully. Always has been. Notice we only deal with the dbacks and reds, because no other team WANTS TO TALK WITH HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck signing the top picks next year. They will ask for the moon. Hopefully they dont lowball them with BS numbers.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Ronnie Baseball is a player noone wants? Really? I'll take him.

Posted by: Brian G | August 17, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

We signed Belliard to a minor league deal two years ago, which, by definition, means that no one wanted him. He's older and slower and worse than when we signed him....why would any one want him now as anything more than a bench player?

Posted by: vaclipper | August 17, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, 'coverage is lacking', with regard to your comments toward 'natsinthevalley', you're the clueless one! Go look up 'sarcasm' in the dictionary.

Crow's 'advisors' are at fault for botching this, they did a disservice to the kid. If he was completely behind the nonsense they pulled, he obviously never showed up for his classes as a business major. There's stuff to bust Bowden's chops about, but this isn't one of them.

We have to wonder now if he wasn't hiding an injury, look up Chris 0'Leary's website where he does an analysis on Crow's mechanics and how it sets him up for trouble, he posted it on his site in March '08. If I can post the link here I will:
http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/Baseball/Pitching/ProfessionalPitcherAnalyses/AaronCrow.html

Posted by: NatsSeasonTicketHolder | August 17, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

crow does not lose here. He figures waiting out and being picked by another team is better than being with the nats for 6 years. It was business for him. Luke hochevar was a high pick in '05, then pitched for fort worth, and was the number 1 pick the next year. Its not like leaving it on the table is horrible. It could be, but may not be. If this kid turns into be one of the best of his generation, this will be another one of those washington blunders. Bullets (chris webber, rasheed wallace) anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

All the whining about the budget is meaningless, it's all about worth and value. Even for the last place team there is such a concept as value. $4.4 mil, no mri and a roster spot for the second pitcher with possible arm trouble/mechanics issues is not value. Sorry, it just isn't.

To "Crow does not lose here Anony 3:27" wtf are you smoking? He's 1 year behind his FA. He misses 1 year of MLB professional pitching instruction. He misses the value of $3.5 mil between Friday and when he gets paid in another year. He is ALREADY the number 2 pitcher taken next year, AT BEST! He misses 1 year of MLB experience. If you think all of that is not losing you're nuts.

All Crow's really done is pass up a great deal to expose himself to more scrutiny.

Posted by: Johnny Baconbitz | August 17, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Why does Jim Bowden continue to refer to us as a "small market team???" This is Washington DC. Are they that scared of the Orioles??? There's at least 5 million in population in the surrounding DC area that can shape the Nats fanbase.

We saw what fielding a winner did for the Caps attendance, there's no reason the Nats couldn't have over 3 mil in attendance every year if they fielded a contender. Step up Nats ownership and start acting like you're a big market player. You don't sign any big free agents, and now you have the nerve to not sign your top draft pick?

To top it off Bowden makes a completely low budget, nothing trade of Ayala just a few hours after the draft pick wasn't signed, just to take the headlines away from the fact the Nats lost out on the ninth pick in the draft. PR at its finest!! These Nats will never win, but boy our ownership group are really some shrewd businessmen!!!!

Posted by: Joey Sports | August 17, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

This is a huge failure for the Nats no matter how the GM spins it. I won't be renewing the season tix I've had since Nov 2004. Kasten's plan is BS.

Posted by: NatsFan2005 | August 18, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Because not renewing season tickets is the right thing to do... When the Nats start fielding a good team don't bother picking up the season tickets again, I have no tolerance for fair-weather fans.

Posted by: will continue to attend games | August 18, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I have a bad feeling that the Nats didn't do all they could have to avoided last minute negotiations, regardless of how difficult the agents were. You have to do what you have to do to make sure you don't lose your first round pick because of bad communications with the agents. It should have never got to the point it did, IMHO.

Posted by: Wallpass | August 18, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Ahh, "the Plan" in action. Draft big time talent and then fail to sign it? Was that the Plan? Wallpass is right. The Hendricks brothers messed up here in a big way, but JimBo's head should be on the block -- they lost this kid over less than $1M. The organization looks like hell in this. Add this to the results on the MLB level over a period now of years and with not much light in sight at the end of the ever-getting-longer tunnel and it is regime change time. 86 Bowden and Acta on day ONE of the off season.

Posted by: dh | August 18, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/08/18/heyman.cubs/1.html

The nats were at 2.25 million until 6 hrs before the deadline. It signals a huge setback for the organization that this deal couldn't be completed. Especially if Crow was expected to be in the rotation for 2009. Unless there are significant changes for next season, anyone that goes to a Nats game is a sucker. This team will be bad for years because they don't want to pay for players (draft picks or free agents).

Posted by: Al | August 18, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, here's a tip of the cap to the Nats, for holding the line on stupidity. How in the world did we get here? A kid who has done NOTHING turns down an immediate "gift" of $3.5 MILLION . I am 62 years old. I was a Police Officer for 32 years. I will NEVER approach 3.5 million dollars in my LIFETIME, and this kid's paydays were just beginning. Guaranteed money, even if he NEVER threw another pitch as long as he lived. If that's not stupidity, I don't know the definition. It's not worth a thing, NATS, but you have my admiration forever.

Go O's!, Go Nats!

PS: I'm not exactly happy about the O's allowing themselves to be held up either, I'm not a hypocrite.

Posted by: Hoosier Oriole | August 18, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

You know, its not the first contract that matters, it's the second one. This kid will wake up one day and realize it.

Posted by: cappy | August 18, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

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