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Bowden Denies Wrongdoing [Updated]

Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden this morning denied any wrongful practices in Latin American scouting, saying simply, "I'm innocent of any wrongdoing, and besides that I don't have any comment."

Bowden is the highest-ranking baseball official whose name is yet to surface in a federal investigation examining the skimming of signing bonuses given to Latin American baseball prospects. Bowden declined to speak further about the matter today, but reiterated that he stands by comments made last July, when he was first interviewed by the FBI.

Since then, amid various reports this week, Bowden's connection to the case has intensified. Both in Cincinnati and in Washington, Bowden worked with Jose Rijo, who owns and operates a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. In 2006, Rijo brokered negotiations with a prospect, thought to be 16-year-old Esmailyn Gonzalez, who was using a false name and age. Major League Baseball confirmed this week that Gonzalez is actually four years older than thought, and named Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo. The Nationals, with Bowden's approval, awarded Gonzalez a $1.4 million signing bonus in 2006.

One baseball source confirmed this morning that Bowden is being investigated for practices dating back to 1994, when he worked as general manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bowden has been back at the Nationals' spring training facility in Viera, Fla., for the last three days after returning from Phoenix, where he had a series of arbitration cases. Since then, he has maintained a visible presence, watching portions of the morning practice.

On Saturday, Rijo, a special assistant to Bowden, took a leave of absence from his job after meeting with team officials. Rijo has since returned home to the Dominican, but has not been fired. No other team officials have been punished, team president Stan Kasten said.

This morning, Kasten, asked directly about support for his general manager, said, "Listen, I support everyone who works for the Washington Nationals all the time, period. But we're not going to talk about things that are going on away from here that I have no control or involvement in. I've told you, I am gonna allow the process to play out. We'll allow the chips to fall where they may, and we're going to look at things honestly and deal with them as is appropriate."

Kasten noted the investigation involves many pieces, the Gonzalez case being "just a discrete thing" within the bigger picture. So far, both the Yankees and the Red Sox have fired scouts over the investigation. "This has already taken in, covered a number of teams. Several teams have already let people go," Kasten said. "Several other teams have learned they didn't need to let people go. So it's a wide-ranging investigation."

By Chico Harlan  |  February 23, 2009; 11:44 AM ET
 
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Comments

Dear Mr. Bowden,

Please resign. Por favor.

Thanks.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | February 23, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Chico, one question:

Has Bowden's connections to the case intensified or has our knowledge of Bowden's connections to the case intensified?

It's a very important distinction, please a follow-up!

Posted by: Section506 | February 23, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Innocent until proven guilty, but what is the obligation of the team's owners and senior management to stand by him? Can he do his job under this cloud? Can the Nationals afford to stand by him? Wouldn't it be wrong not to stand by him? I would not think this is an easy thing for Stan, Mark, and Ted. If Bowden steps down, his career as a GM is likely over even if he is innocent.

It would be much easier if Bowden's record was either extremely successful or extremely unsuccessful, but alas it is currently rather middle of the road. He's just your average GM with an ongoing FBI investigation around alledged wrong doings.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 23, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

... can't recall who said the same thing in a previous thread, but let me reiterate it here. Now that Jim has voiced his position, fans need to hear from those above him. Stan Kasten and Messers Lerner, what is your position? Do you support Jim Bowden as GM of the Nationals or don't you?

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Enough of the legal mumbo-jumbo, if the LernerStans have had enough of this guys antics or questionable behavior they have every right to let him go. There is no court of appeals in a privately owned business.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 23, 2009 9:56 AM

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 23, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of the ultimate result of the investigation, someone from the management team, preferably Ted Lerner, needs to come out with a statement. They need to publicly support him or fire him. Whichever the choice, they need to say something now.

The lack of any comment aside from Stan Kasten's "us versus them" comments is just not enough. Someone in charge (with a last name of Lerner) needs to make a decision one way or another. Or else this is just going to drag on and on, distracting from the efforts needed to rebuild this organization.

Posted by: Brian_ | February 23, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's the math...

Incompetent + Crook = 102 losses + Blind to the realities of the Nationals future.

Time to turn a page -- fire Bowden and Kasten.

Posted by: BubbaGump13 | February 23, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

To me, another interesting and bewildering sidebars in this very interesting anf bewildering situation is the relationship betweeen a Senor Baez of the Nationals and Jose Rijo. According to today's Wapo, Baez, not Jose Rijo, is in charge of the Nationals' DR operations. Rijo apparently owns his training complex and we (the Nats) have some sort of a business arrangement with him. I wonder (1) whether other MLB clubs have this sort of arrangement in the DR and (2) who the heck is Baez? Has anybody heard of him before?

This plot is getting too thick--like one of those fimn noirs set in a tropical country with way too many unreliable narrators.

Posted by: CapPeterson | February 23, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"I'm innocent of any wrongdoing, and besides that I don't have any comment."

Glad that is on the record. Hopefully not like the Katie Couric/ARod interview.

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 23, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

BOWDEN -

STEP DOWN NOW!

SINCERELY,

NATS FANS.

Posted by: FireBowdenNow | February 23, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"BOWDEN -

STEP DOWN NOW!

SINCERELY,

NATS FANS."

Posted by: FireBowdenNow | February 23, 2009 12:17 PM
________________________________________________________

As a Nats fan, I'd prefer that you not speak for me.

I'm willing to let the investigation run its course. If he is guilty, then we can't get him out of here fast enough. Until then, he should stay in his position.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 23, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I asked my ticket group the Over/Under on Bowden still the Nats GM next Monday. Two unders, one push, three non responses.
I was one of the unders. Time for him to go.

Posted by: Batboy05 | February 23, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Interesting item by John Fay over at the Cincinnati Enquirer (link is too long to paste). Beyond the question of ethics and legalities, it sounds like the academy run by Rijo & Baez for Bowden has been pretty worthless.

"The Reds contracted to use Rijo’s academy in the Dominican from 1999 to 2003 and Baez was the director. ... But it’s safe to say the academy did the Reds zero good. Only one Latin player signed in four years the Reds used it remains with the Reds -- Luis Montano, a 24-year-old right-hander who pitched in Dayton last year."

"The Reds were paying over $50,000 a month to use that facility. They’re paying less $20,000 a month for the current facility, one that produced Johnny Cueto and Juan Francisco."

Read into that what you will.

Posted by: Brian_ | February 23, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Chico -

Amidst all the calls for Bowden to quit or be fired, who do you see as the most likely candidates to replace him, if he leaves?

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 23, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Chico,

Would you please ask either JimBow or Stan the Plan Man one of the most germane questions regarding this issue - why did the team allow an employee, Jose Rijo, to own its Dominican academy? Wouldn't there have possibly been better oversight if theclub ran the facility rather than relying on Rijo's acumen in light of his close relationship with Gonzalez/Lugo's buscone?

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 23, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Worse case scenario: Bowden steps down. No offense to Mr. Bowden, but the team is in last place...in the league. Is that really a big deal? He has done a great job of getting our farm teams respectable again. We've only had an owner for 2 years while in DC so our on field product is not as MAJOR as it could/should be. So if he steps down, is that really a step backward for the team?

Posted by: bascomb | February 23, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"So if he steps down, is that really a step backward for the team? "

There's the question. A lot of folks around here know the answer, but I'm not one of them. He has done a good job for the farm teams and I think he - absent investigation becoming a charge - could keep doing that.

But does he have what it takes to get it done in the majors?

Could anyone have made the improvements he did down on the farm?

These are all unknowns. They'd be unknowns for all but a very few GMs, too. Better the devil you know?

For me, I have to go with gathering more data. It's the only way to make a smart decision, since a new GM is like starting over. Maybe.

Posted by: Section506 | February 23, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Stan Kasten and Messers Lerner, what is your position? Do you support Jim Bowden as GM of the Nationals or don't you?"

The last thing Jim Bowden needs right now is a public vote of support from ownership. Because if history tells us nothing else, it is that a firing will follow any such public vote of support as surely as night follows day. Maybe not right away, but it will come. And despite any public vote of support from ownership, nothing will change. Bowden will remain under seige as long as he remains in the job. So if the Lerners do not intend to fire him yet based solely on accusations, their best course of action is the one they have taken. Remain silent and let the investigation process play out to a conclusion, without throwing any unnecessary fuel themselves onto an already raging fire.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

He should have been fire at DUI

Posted by: dclifer | February 23, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"So if the Lerners do not intend to fire him yet based solely on accusations, their best course of action is the one they have taken."

Like with Rijo. Make Jimbo take a leave of absense?

Posted by: dclifer | February 23, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"link is too long to paste"

Get a tiny URL. www.tinyurl.com

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

http://tinyurl.com/bzcosv

Fay item from Cincy Enquirer

Posted by: Brian_ | February 23, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Would you please ask either JimBow or Stan the Plan Man one of the most germane questions regarding this issue - why did the team allow an employee, Jose Rijo, to own its Dominican academy? "

How is such a relationship any more improper or any more a conflict of interest than the way most MLB clubs handle their relationships with their minor league affiliates? Other than Atlanta, I believe every major league team's minor league affiliates are owned by third parties and not directly by the teams themselves. Think of the Dominican facility as the equivalent of a minor league franchise. It's okay for a minor league franchise to be owned lock, stock and barrel by the major league team (e.g. Atlanta). It's also okay for it to be owned by a third party (e.g. everyone else). Given that, why is it not okay for the third party to happen to be an employee of the parent team? Where's the conflict of interest there? Potential dishonesty, you say? That's not a conflict of interest, it's a problem that can happen in any arrangement if the people involved are dishonest.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"He should have been fire at DUI"

Should the Cardinals have fired Tony LaRussa at DUI?

(Should you repeat third grade English class? Yes.)

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

>A lot of folks around here know the answer, but I'm not one of them.

Lemme help you out then. In Balt., you have Andy MacPhail. You've got a string of good deals for your team the last two offseasons. You spend some money on pitching, open up a new market in Japan - Angelos loves you because it's Birdland in Japan now. Have an above average bullpen with a majority of them hard throwers. You've also signed Markakis for six years, and you get Roberts for four. Five, including this season.

Nats: Bowden - No long-term signings. I mean, there's NOBODY on the entire team that's signed for more than a year or two outside of Dunn. Nobody at all. Theoretically, some of those guys could leave in a heartbeat if they so desired. That's not stability. 3 guys under 24 in the starting rotation being the most realistic options and no back-up. The one veteran who might stabilize them for awhile refuses to report. That's just sort of a thumbnail. And I didn't even mention pocketing bonuses.

Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

leetee, my understanding is that the academy (and Rijo's ownership) predates the Nats.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 23, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It really all depends on what those higher in the org than Jim think of him. Do they believe they can build a winner with him as a GM? Remember, they didn't pick him; they inherited him. Yes, they allowed him to stay on, but with all the churn and change that was involved, allowing the GM to stay in place on a team with a lowered set of immediate expectations was, at the time, the path of least resistance. If Stan and the Lerners don't truly believe in Jim then there is no better time for them to make a move then now. Who would blame them at this point? If however, they actually believe he's the guy to get it done here, they'll keep him on until it's proven that he's either done something wrong or was deceitful with them in the Frowney dealings.

Personally I think the situation is close to beyond repair in the public eye. I'm in no position to judge his baseball acumen but I can follow what's going on in the sports world. There has been nothing but negative press regarding this team. Aside from the Olsen/Willingham trade which was largely lauded as a success, every move this team has made has been questioned and judged negatively this off-season. Is that because the pundits truly believe these moves were bad or is it because they simply see everything that Jim Bowden does now as tainted? If it's more the latter than the former then it's time to make a change. We saw how difficult it's been to draw the top names into even serious discussions with this team let alone actually signing them.

At some point in the rebuilding process you need to flip the public perception from perennial loser to franchise on the rise. In the Nationals case that may have to be at the expense of Mr. Bowden's head.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 23, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Great post, Rickety.

Posted by: Bethesdangit | February 23, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

What 505 said.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 23, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

28. Nationals: They spent a lot of time trying to land the biggest fish, Teixeira, but ultimately it was wasted effort. Eventually, the big move involved another ex-Red, Adam Dunn. They have too many ex-Reds, far too many outfielders and first basemen, too few pitchers and one too many Jim Bowdens.

Source CNNSI John Heymann

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 23, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

For the sake of another opinion, I'm not understanding why signing a young guy already under club control to a longer term deal is the be all and end all.

Odds are that some of these guys flame out, then your stuck with them. If Zim and Milledge for example have huge years in 2009, then I would say sign them to a 5 year deal. But, none of the Nats young players have really been lights out. What if some of these guys become the second coming of Kearns or Patterson. Then what?

Posted by: Section505203 | February 23, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Wilder in November 2006 opened a night spot, Club Burn, that operated "at a great loss" despite being voted Phoenix's top gay bar in 2007. Records show it lost about $570,000 in a matter of months and closed its doors in January 2008."

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Lemme help you out then. In Balt., you have Andy MacPhail. You've got a string of good deals for your team the last two offseasons. You spend some money on pitching, open up a new market in Japan - Angelos loves you because it's Birdland in Japan now. Have an above average bullpen with a majority of them hard throwers. You've also signed Markakis for six years, and you get Roberts for four. Five, including this season.

Nats: Bowden - No long-term signings. I mean, there's NOBODY on the entire team that's signed for more than a year or two outside of Dunn. Nobody at all. Theoretically, some of those guys could leave in a heartbeat if they so desired. That's not stability. 3 guys under 24 in the starting rotation being the most realistic options and no back-up. The one veteran who might stabilize them for awhile refuses to report. That's just sort of a thumbnail. And I didn't even mention pocketing bonuses."


Whoa please don't do Baltimore vs DC thing. I can make you look very bad. It wouldn't be good for the O's.


Posted by: JDB1 | February 23, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"Last month, Wilder filed a petition with Family Court in Arizona seeking to lower his child support payments. He indicated he was making $7.25 an hour, or roughly $15,000 a year."

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm still not ready to fire JB yet. Guess I'm in rare company. Innocent til proven guilty. If the jury comes in guilty, bye bye.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 23, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Here's my take on things:

While Bowden is certainly innocent until proven guilty he has made a number of very public spectacles of himself and the team to the point that I'm wondering if anybody in their right mind would want to sign.

Witness:

A Crow's holdout - granted this guy was a tool as well, but I can't help but wonder if the Nats had a better public image if he might have been a little more accommodating.

A. Dunn's waiting until the last minute to sign. Seriously, does anybody truly believe he wanted to be here? Seems like the Nats were his only real option.

All this Dominican mess - I have serious doubts that many of the GMs out there view Bowden as other than a complete buffoon. K. Towers from San D won't take his calls. Wonder how many others.

Bowden gets regularly eviscerated in the sports media. Prospects, agents, etc.. read this stuff and you can't convince me it doesn't color their judgement.

Quite frankly if I were a FA my position would be anywhere but Washington.

If I were a draft prospect (Strasburg) I'd be asking for such a huge signing bonus that the Nats would either pay me A Rod money above slot or take a pass. I mean seriously - who would want to play on an Bowden-run team.

I've been giving JimBow the benefit of the doubt for a long time, but there are so many apparent conflicts of interest here, it boggles the mind. As a former Civil Servant, I was required to take tons of conflict-of-interest training classes and the one takeaway that has stuck with me is to scrupulously avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Can anybody really say that's how Bowden has conducted himself and run the organization.

It's a complete Charlie Fox (as somebody already posted) and it's time for Bowden to go. It would be a huge step in improving the Nats image in the public eye.

Posted by: DesertNat | February 23, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

>If Zim and Milledge for example have huge years in 2009, then I would say sign them to a 5 year deal.

It's two things - the fact that Zim has struggled (relatively) is merely due to the fact that he's been on a lousy offensive team. The second thing is that he knows it. That's where the contract part comes in. He doesn't believe in the front office. And neither does anyone else. You see how Bowden is fond of saying in the past that he didn't want to get tied down to contracts so they could wheel and deal. Except that now, it's not his choice anymore, it's the player's. A GM needs to be able to exhibit control, but still be flexible enough to be attractive to players. Bowden does neither.

Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"Should the Cardinals have fired Tony LaRussa at DUI?"

Yes, for that and for batting a pitcher 8th.

Posted by: dclifer | February 23, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Tracee,
For the first time ever, my comment was held until approved by the Washington Post.

I hope this isn't a new policy.

Posted by: rushfari | February 23, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Since when does somebody have to be proven to have committed a crime to be terminated? He can be let go at the whim of the owners. One of the biggest questions that should be asked is "is he leading this team in the right direction". While I don't have much of a problem with most of the baseball moves made this off-season, the erosion of the public opinion of this franchise is embarrassing. The Rays made it to the WS last year. The Royals are building towards respectability, hell even the Arizona Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl. MLB and the sports world is in short supply of "the worst run franchises" and "laughing stocks". Is either of these monikers something you want attached to this team especially when it's still trying to establish itself with its own fanbase?

If Bowden has to be sacrificed for no other reason than to stem the tide of negativity surrounding this team then I support it wholeheartedly.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 23, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"He allegedly stole money from Dominican players. To fund his gay bar."


“Rumors float through Latin American baseball circles about which buscones pump their kids full of steroids or change identification papers to falsify ages, which ones have been shot for stealing clients, and worst of all, which ones force kids to perform sexual favors in return for training and representation.”

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

So if Bowden's gone it's the end of all the negativity about the team and we are no longer a laughing stock? I don't think so. Just saying.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 23, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Character assassination is fun. So is cutting and pasting.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 23, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"It's two things - the fact that Zim has struggled (relatively) is merely due to the fact that he's been on a lousy offensive team."

Not his shoulder?

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

dclifer,

Tony LaRussa has a WS title in both leagues along with many other playoff appearances.

That fact didn't enter into your mind when you slammed him?

He made a mistake so, he should just be fired. Period. End of story?

All I can say is, Wow.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 23, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Does running 2 MLB teams into the ground qualify as "wrongdoing?"

Posted by: sbiel2 | February 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm kind of of the mind of rickety. I don't need the investigation to play out his innocence or guilt to see the affect it's having on the team's reputation.

As it's said sometimes about ethics where I work, it's not just the impropriety, it's the *appearance* or impropriety that can get you in trouble.

I'm amazed and saddened at how fast this organization's reputation has fallen.
I've read Schuerholtz's book and it sounded like everything in that organization during his and Kasten's years was class, class, class. I can imagine Kasten's really feeling the difference these days and wonder if that alone is enough reason to can him, innocent or guilty.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

>Whoa please don't do Baltimore vs DC thing. I can make you look very bad. It wouldn't be good for the O's.

I calls em like I sees em. I don't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"Luis Rosa, who has scouted in Latin America for the San Francisco Giants and other teams, has been imprisoned on charges he demanded sex from 15 young minor league players here as a condition for playing time."

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

''Like most players here, all of us come from poor, humble families, and dream of getting to the big leagues, or at least the United States, so that our parents and siblings can have a better life,'' said Yan Carlos Ravelo, a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher who filed the initial criminal complaint in June. ''Luis Rosa took advantage of our poverty and our desperation for an American visa to make us his slaves.

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The question I would like the Nationals to answer is what the plans are for re-rebuilding their presence in the Dominican Republic. The investigations led to very little happening there in 2008. What can we realistically expect to happen there in 2009? How damaged is their reputation? How quickly can they re-establish a positive reputation? And can that be accomplished with Bowden/Rijo/Baez still under investigation?

Posted by: Brian_ | February 23, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

In the quiet world of baseball scouts, Luis Rosa was just as much a star. In a career that has spanned two decades, he has signed so many of baseball's best Latin American players, among them Roberto and Sandy Alomar, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Benito Santiago, Wilson Alvarez and Ozzie Guillen, that, he boasts, ''if you put them all together, they would make one hell of an all-star team.''

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"Nats: Bowden - No long-term signings. I mean, there's NOBODY on the entire team that's signed for more than a year or two outside of Dunn. Nobody at all."

Well, you have the following who are under team control for the next 2-5 years: Lannan, Zimmerman, Olsen, Willingham, Milledge, Dukes. And that's just off the top of my head. True, they're not signed, but they don't need to be.

"Theoretically, some of those guys could leave in a heartbeat if they so desired. That's not stability."

The only way those guys I just named can leave in a heartbeat is if their hearts stop beating.

"3 guys under 24 in the starting rotation being the most realistic options and no back-up."

The backup is a bunch of other guys under 24 in the minors and one guy now pitching at San Diego State. That's better pitching backup than this club has had since it's been in DC.

"The one veteran who might stabilize them for awhile refuses to report."

You mean Odalis Perez? (a) He wouldn't have been here for a while, just a year. (If that. He was only on a minor league deal to start with.) (b) The words 'Odalis Perez' and 'stable' just do not go together.

"That's just sort of a thumbnail. And I didn't even mention pocketing bonuses."

I can't understand why you didn't mention that, being as it's just an allegation at this point which is really just one step above being a lie. Everything else you said in your thumbnail was a lie, so why not that one too?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

>Not his shoulder?

He hurt his shoulder trying to do too much - pull the ball out of the park when he could have settled for singles on a better club. It's all related - and it's all negative.

Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

''One of them told me he couldn't get to pitch because Luis Rosa had said that unless they went to bed together he wouldn't be allowed to take the mound,'' Mr. Joaquin Andujar testified under oath.

Mr. MacDonald, he said, ''told me that Luis Rosa had said that unless he went to bed with him, not only would he never get to play, he would not be allowed to travel to the United States.''

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"I calls em like I sees em. I don't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 1:45 PM "

Oh yes you do. As I just pointed out.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

''The majority of the scouts have their hands in the cookie jar, and I can't blame them, since most teams are trying to do things on the cheap,'' said Ozzie Virgil, who succeeded Mr. Rosa as manager of the Giants' farm team here. ''The organizations should get wise and hire good people and treat them right, so scouts don't think they have to steal equipment and sell visas to make money.''

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@cokedispatch,

... no, you're not totally alone in your view. But the fact is, this situation re Jim Bowden being investigated by the FBI is simply not good for the team. And it will continue to cast a pall over the team's image with the public and its reputation within baseball unless and until it is resolved by the FO and ultimately the owners.

... the reason I personally hold the owners' feet to the fire on this particular issue is due to the previously published reports suggesting that Jim B. and Lerner the Younger have a relationship purportedly closer than what might be considered usual for owner/GM.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 23, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

First spring training game --- day after tomorrow!

Posted by: nattydread1 | February 23, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"just a discreet thing"?

just a discrete thing.

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

So if Bowden's gone it's the end of all the negativity about the team and we are no longer a laughing stock? I don't think so. Just saying.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 23, 2009 1:38 PM

---------------------------

I don't think so either but it's gotta start somewhere. GMs, coaches, managers, etc are all replaceable. Fortunately for the Nats it's not the owners head that has to roll. How'd you like to be an Oakland Raiders fan knowing that the only thing you have going for you is that Al Davis is 80 years old and can't live forever?.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 23, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

>I can't understand why you didn't mention that

With all due respect, others have done a much better job of mentioning it than I ever could.

Let's not underestimate the need for pitching. It is a rather large need at the major league level right now. My old high school coach said that 90% of the game was pitching. And he used to work for the Senators, throw BP, etc., knew what he was talking about. This whole thing about getting Dunn just reverts attention away from the fact that Jimbo says there's not enough money to get any more pitching for a) the rotaton or b) the bullpen. This is not good when your GM-for-life says his hands are tied a month before the season starts. This staff has every chance of being ugly. That's not to say in a year or two or three they might have some guys step up, but this April?

Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

it's not just the impropriety, it's the *appearance* or impropriety that can get you in trouble.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 23, 2009 1:44 PM

------------------

Well said. I was searching for those words but couldn't pull them.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 23, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I am completely on board with what Rickety said, as well as the others who have agreed. Regardless of JimBo's innocence or guilt, when it comes down to it he's really not that great a GM.

Posted by: wnorton81 | February 23, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"A. Dunn's waiting until the last minute to sign. Seriously, does anybody truly believe he wanted to be here? Seems like the Nats were his only real option."

Actually, I think the Dunn signing is one of the finer things Bowden has done. He didn't cave to the pressure being put on him as Dunn tried to sign elsewhere for higher and ended up getting him at what seems to be slightly below value, for a length of time that doesn't impact the long-term future of the team. It was well-played.

Cricks and NatsNut, you're right about the appearance of impropriety, but wait until an indictment. An investigation is just an investigation, which is even less formal than receiving a parking ticket.

I would bet there are a whole lot of people being investigated right now, including the GMs of New York and Boston, who had people in the organization under investigation and fired them.

At least I hope that our FBI has enough sense to investigate to see whether the employers of people it was investigating knew what may have been happening.

Posted by: Section506 | February 23, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"A. Dunn's waiting until the last minute to sign. Seriously, does anybody truly believe he wanted to be here? Seems like the Nats were his only real option."

Sure seems like he's glad to be here now. So where's the problem?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

>Sure seems like he's glad to be here now. So where's the problem?

Only two years instead of four. Of course, you wouldn't want a 40 home run guy get in the way of your team's offensive development in year three.

Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that poster above? Is it just me, or does JDB1 = JimBo?

Posted by: Good2bOK | February 23, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

If Bowden is posting anonymously in NJ, he should be fired for that reason alone.

Posted by: Brian_ | February 23, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

What a rush to judgment on Bowden! Kasten is handling it absolutely correctly as far as I'm concerned. Let's wait for the facts to come out rather than relying on speculation. If the facts reflect that the GN has personal culpability re: dealings in the Dominican, I can't imagine Stan Kasten and the Lerners would keep him. But why should they fire him before the facts are in?

Posted by: Natsgal | February 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"But why should they fire him before the facts are in?"

Because it feeds the Bowden fixation some folks have.

Posted by: Section506 | February 23, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

... the update has some reaction (in lieu of response) by Stan K. It sounds a lot like he's trying to wash his hands of any involvement. And that sounds a lot like Good Friday to me, albeit a Lent early.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 23, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Before joining the Cubs, (Wilder) worked five seasons (1991-95) with the Atlanta Braves in various capacities, including assistant director of scouting and player development in 1995."

Paul Snyder
Scouting Director 1981-90
Spec. Asst. to the General Manager 1991-95
Scouting Director 1996-99

So the above-reproach character guy, acknowledged as so, and beloved by all, would not agree to be the Scouting Director during the tenure of Dave Wilder as Assistant Scouting Director? As soon as Wilder left the Braves, Snyder agreed to resume his post.

Posted by: dhfrancoise | February 23, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Just following up (very late) on something Rickety and others have suggested - the team has to really believe in Bowden to continue to stand by him, because there's clearly a cost, in terms of the perception of the team, to holding on to him.

I'm sympathetic to the "innocent until proven guilty" sentiment, but, fair or not, there comes a point where keeping a guy is more trouble than it's worth unless you really have a strong feeling that he's providing something you need and can't easily replace.

Posted by: Section220 | February 23, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

You are innocent ..what are you accuse of .. trying to get the best players frm Dominican.. thats rijo's fault not yours ..

Talk to Mark lerner about me and if you dont win soon ..gimme the Manager's job ..

I will go in there and clean house ..them suckers will win under me I guarantee it .. talk to lerner and fire this guy Acta and put me in there..

This guy you got told the freakin press that it was freakn ok to win in 2010 .
.what kind of crap is that Jim .. you know thats fouled.. what kind of message is he sending to players .. If Im the Owner he's gone !


You Needa hard nose guy like myself ..not this guy dressed up guy in a mini skirt ..

Good luck you'll be Ok , dont worry this will all pass ..

Your Friend in Florida . Renny Felson

Posted by: godwetrust2001 | February 23, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight (for the sake of the apologist), Dad and family associates fork over 400M+ to buy a rather lucrative business. The self promoting and self annointed Chief Executive Officer is under investigation by the FBI for links with or to wrong doings that involved a variety of issues including skimming, kickbacks and falsification of records and we are to led to believe that the guy at the top is going to let this play out until all the facts are in? Hmmmm, interesting!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 23, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Billy Joel and Elton John at Nationals Park July 11th for the Face 2 Face tour. I wonder how messed up the field will be after that.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 23, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Minority opinion. I am no fan of Bowden's, but I am trying reverse psychology. Does it hurt the organization to cut the guy loose without a finding against him? Does it hurt a team that has done little to inspire confidence among the players and coaches within the game by throwing the guy under the bus before the verdict is in? At this point I believe it does. That said, as soon as Bowden said he was innocent, he sounded like which major league player the most? 1--A-Rod, 2--Palmiero, or 3--Sosa, or 4--all of the above.

Posted by: Juliasdad | February 23, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

While there's no question that it should be "hasta la vista" time for JimBo, there's one powerful fact in his favor. He works cheap. Lerners and StanK will keep him.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | February 23, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Chico--

Last Summer, Bowden and said to you that he and Rijo were not a focus of the FBI's investigation, and that the FBI's questioning of them was routine, as they questioned execs throughout baseball.

Please let us know that you'll be following up on this: has the FBI's investigation expanded/taken new turns since last Summer? was Bowden lying to you last Summer? or did he not know that he was a target? Thanks.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 23, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Chico...

Would you mind putting your (UPDATE) just in front of the new information like Goff does over on the Soccer Insider. It just makes it easier to read rather than reading the whole thing through again. Keep up the great work and hope you're enjoying the FL warmth!

Posted by: Keenan1 | February 23, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Just saw former White Sox scout Victor Mateo blasting Bud Selig on "Outside the Lines" for having had his head in the sand about ongoing issues in the Dominican. Unfortunately, the segment ended shortly after Mateo's rant began.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 23, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

A lot of folks around here know the answer, but I'm not one of them.

Lemme help you out then. In Balt., you have Andy MacPhail. You've got a string of good deals for your team the last two offseasons. You spend some money on pitching, open up a new market in Japan - Angelos loves you because it's Birdland in Japan now. Have an above average bullpen with a majority of them hard throwers. You've also signed Markakis for six years, and you get Roberts for four. Five, including this season.

Nats: Bowden - No long-term signings. I mean, there's NOBODY on the entire team that's signed for more than a year or two outside of Dunn. Nobody at all. Theoretically, some of those guys could leave in a heartbeat if they so desired. That's not stability. 3 guys under 24 in the starting rotation being the most realistic options and no back-up. The one veteran who might stabilize them for awhile refuses to report. That's just sort of a thumbnail. And I didn't even mention pocketing bonuses.


Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 12:58 PM
==============================

Don't even try to compare the Nats and the O's!! Considering the Nats have finished with better records 2 out of the past 3 years and the O's still lost 93 games last year doesn't put the good house keeping seal on Baltimore!!
The O's have had resources far in excess of what the Nationals have had since they moved to DC. They have not been required to field a team without a minor league support system or with no assets when it arrived several years ago!!
No, the O's have squandered every opportunity while pocketing their fans money by the wheel barrow!! I'll take the losing on a short term basis over the O's long term history!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | February 23, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

My favorite line form Kasten's presser today was that they "We could be having Adam Dunn at 3rd base at the moment and YOU WOULDN”T KNOW ABOUT IT!!—Because you are all wasting your time talking to me.”

Funny stuff, laugh in the face of scandal.

Kasten also make a crack about the reporting of my favorite punching bag, Bill (IDIOT!) Ladsen.

Ladsen also had this gem in today'd q&a "you have to keep Austin Kearns, who could finally reach his potential if he stays healthy, as insurance."

If I dropped the "as insurance" part this would be worthy of SNL. How many times is Ladsen going to talk about what a great player Kearns COULD be (if what he didn't suck?)?

I do agree with his point though (I must have a fever), Kearns is worth more to us as a 4th outfielder/defensive replacement/insurance policy than we could ever hope to get in return. $8mil is a lot to pay for that this year, but no sense getting upset about money you already lost...

Posted by: estuartj | February 23, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight (for the sake of the apologist), Dad and family associates fork over 400M+ to buy a rather lucrative business. The self promoting and self annointed Chief Executive Officer is under investigation by the FBI for links with or to wrong doings that involved a variety of issues including skimming, kickbacks and falsification of records and we are to led to believe that the guy at the top is going to let this play out until all the facts are in? Hmmmm, interesting!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 23, 2009 3:22 PM

======================
Wow!! Do you think you could distort things any more!!?? Your hate for Bowden is obvious, but you don't have to create stuff about him!! No one has stated what the FBI is looking into with regards to Bowden!! The Gonzalez/Lugo signing is most likely part of the investigation since they were unable to locate the signing bonus due to the name issues. It is my understanding that they will look into an uncles account where the bonus was supposedly deposited. That will be the end of that.
Otherwise, this seems to be more of a six degrees of separation than anything else!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | February 23, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Look on the bright side.

The Nats will never earn national coverage on ESPN or elsewhere for their on-field performance. This Bowden screw-up will keep them in the headlines, perhaps for weeks.

"I don't care what you say about me, just spell my name right."

Posted by: JohnRDC | February 23, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

How old is Jim Bowden?

Posted by: lbcalvert | February 23, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

>How old is Jim Bowden?

Exactly my age.

Posted by: Brue | February 23, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

That's rich!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 23, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

... I'll take the losing on a short term basis over the O's long term history!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | February 23, 2009 4:41 PM
_________________________________

The O's long-term history is Brooks, Frank Robbie, Cal, other HoFers, and three World Series championships. The Nats' long term history is the Montreal Expos.

Andy McPhail is a respected baseball guy (well, outside of Chicago). Jim Bowden is ridiculed around the country. He SHOULD have been fired behind the DUI, but some people are slow learners (no pun intended, really). Jim Bowden will embarrass you sooner or later. He did with the terrorism crack, he did with the DUI, he did with the FLOPez/Kearns trade, he did with whatever IS his name, and he did with the leather pants. Keep him around, he will embarrass you in some way, great or small, again. It's his nature.

Posted by: gbooksdc | February 23, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

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