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Bog: Bowden interviews Rizzo

On his D.C. Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg reports on former Nationals GM Jim Bowden's
interview with Mike Rizzo
:

So former Nats GM Jim Bowden--co-hosting a SIRIUS XM MLB Home Plate show with Seth Everett--interviewed current Nats GM Mike Rizzo Wednesday morning. That's like Vinny Cerrato interviewing Bruce Allen on the radio. That's like Glen Hanlon interviewing Bruce Boudreau on the radio. Heck, that's like Tony Kornheiser interviewing Mike Wise on the radio.
"First of all, how's my office?" began Bowden in the session's only awkward moment. "How does the chair feel? And how do you like the three TVs you're staring at right now?"

By Alexa Steele  |  January 27, 2010; 3:42 PM ET
 
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Next: Afternoon notes: Storen, top prospects, Hudson and Smoltz

Comments

Interesting insight from Phil Wood on the MASN Blog..."Someday someone - maybe me, though I suspect someone will beat me to it - will write a book about the Bowden years. That book will reveal what was really going on in the Nats' front office. I won't pretend to know exactly what happened, but my hunch is that Mr. Kasten decided early on to give Jimbo as much rope as he needed to hang himself. Would it make Stan look bad in the eyes of some? Sure. But, inasmuch as I was told by multiple sources in 2006 that Stan intended to fire Bowden within an hour of getting the club - and then was blocked from doing so by ownership - I believe that Stan decided to bide his time. It took longer than he expected to get shed of Jim, but Rizzo was his guy all along. Stan is a baseball businessman who understands the politics of the executive offices. I still believe he's the right guy for that job, and he has the utmost respect inside the game, which is more than you can say for Jim Bowden. That aside, let me ask you this: Have you ever heard any big league executive in any sport come out and say, "Hey, we got nothing. No hope here." Of course you haven't. No one has. If painting a pretty picture is lying to the fans, then everyone's guilty. And "the plan" wasn't a sham. It's exactly what they're doing now. No plan will work if the guy in charge doesn't follow it, and that was happening until last March. And, while I'm occasionally semi-conscious, I have a clear conscience. As for indirectly working for the Lerners, their share of MASN is pretty tiny, and if you want to work as a baseball broadcaster in this market, you have no other options. I can say this, they take well thought out criticism very well. It's the shoot-from-the-hip kind that falls flat".....sounds like what many of us have been saying for years...nice to finally hear it...

Posted by: JayBeee | January 27, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Well actually it sounds more rational and well thought out than what "many of us have been saying for years", but ... praise to Phil for putting it to paper.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 27, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Not so sure about Phil's theories there. Let me get it straight: Stan wanted to be rid of JimBo, but he had to bide his time for several years to let JimBo trip up and get axed, so that he could THEN commence his work in earnest with Rizzo, his guy all along?

Listen, if oh so respected baseball businessman Kasten could not convince the Lerners that Mark's drinking buddy Bowden should have been gone on day one, then something is either very wrong with Stan Kasten or something is very wrong with the novice owner Lerners. If Stan holds the baseball gravitas that Phil thinks he does, then he would have had success in axing Bowden if it was a real priority. Phil wants Satn to have it both ways: he's given a pass on the club's performance for having to deal with Bowden and a pass for not doing what it takes to get rid of the guy whom he knew from day 1 was not right for the job.

And if Phil's theory is true, then The Plan WAS a sham as it was never the actual plan to begin with. Phil thinks that Stan had his own plan in place (to wqait out the eventual Bowden firing and start anew with Rizzo), if right then that plan's effect (whether inteneded or otherwise) has been to make the fans wait out some managerial infighting and pay through the nose for a lousy club with a foggy future only to watch the Lerners hit the do-over button on The Plan years after it should have been in full force. As to my season tickets for those severla years: I want my money back.

Anyway, Phil giving the Nats a pass on failing at their stated number one organizational goal from day 1, player development, because Bowden was the GM that they could not/would not fire, who was working directly under Stan and the Lerners the entire time -- is a bit much.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 27, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I just want to say that the Winter Caravan stop at Hard Times in Clarendon was a good time. The highlight, beyond meeting some players, Riggleman and Dibble, was that when my daughter was disappointed to arrive at the table just as the free T-shirts ran out, a gentleman came and gave her his.

If you are among the folks who read this blog, I want to thank you again, and say that the community of devoted Nats fans may still be too small, but you are an indication of the high quality of the people who follow the team.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | January 27, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21: Think about it for a minute - the Lerner Group became the 'favorites' of Commissar Bud only after they brought Kasten into their group, and were subsequently awarded the franchise. Meanwhile, Bowden (the standing GM at the time of transition) cozyies up to Mark Lerner as his personal 'eyes & ears with the team', gaining favor (and possibly the last word) with the owners.

I could see it happening, only because a similar situation has played out with a certain NFL franchise located a few miles north of DC. It isn't until the owner(s) sit down & honestly say "The fans are turning their backs on us, our franchise is becoming a punchline to jokes - What can we do?" that a voice becomes clear - "Fire your GM, and hire someone who knows the game". Some people learn quicker than others.

Posted by: BinM | January 27, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

@+1/2st: Glad to hear that chivalry isn't dead, particularly when coming to the aid of a young fan. Cheers to the fellow who 'paid it forward' to your daughter.

Posted by: BinM | January 27, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle between Phil's and dfh21's versions.

Bottom line. The Lerner's are not spending enough money on players at any level in the organization. Period.

That is a fact that flat out can't be disputed.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 27, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

And Phil's contention that "the guy in charge" -- Bowden -- was not following the Plan is not fair either as JimBo had a great draft in 2007 -- largely ranked as baseball's best. Had they been able to ink Crow in 2008 that draft would have been a large success too. Bowden turned Rauch into Bonafacio and then Bonafacio into Olsen and Willingham (two young and under control MLB caliber players). He moved vets Church and Sneider for young talent Milledge. And he brought Clippard and Dukes on board. JimBo was assembling young talent, he did not swing for the fences to win now by any means, there is no evidence from the moves he made that he was not on baord with The Plan.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 27, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

BinM-

"Pay it Forward" was the phrase he (you?) used.

It was awfully considerate of him.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | January 27, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Heard the Bowden-Rizzo interview this morning on MLB on XM. The lesson learned from this should be that no Nats front-office personnel should go on any of the shows that James Gordon Bowden III co-hosts. Bowden has been engaging in revisionist history regarding his reign of error with the Nats. About a month ago, I nearly drove off the road when Capt. Leatherpants was talking how much "character counts" in putting together a team after Milton Bradley was traded to Seattle. This from the guy who foisted Lopez, LoDuca, Da Meat Loaf (after his first year with the team), Estrada, OPerez, Milledge, and Dukes on the Constituency. JimBow is a modern PT Barnum, whose tent is enlarged as his his ego via satellite radio.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 27, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

@+1/2st: I wasn't there, so... 'Paying it forward' is a catch-phrase for when someone invests (or surrenders) a personal gain to a random individual to whom it may mean more to in the future, as opposed to 'paying it back' (infers a debt owed to a specific individual or group).

Posted by: BinM | January 27, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

@leetee: While I didn't hear the interview, I'm getting your drift. Based on the Steinbog post, I almost that Rizzo had voiced something along the line of ..."Well Jim, given the pile of crap you left us with on the ML level, we're doing all we can to make this team competent first, then competetive". But that might have cut short the interview, and left JimBow & his co-host with some serious dead airtime to fill with the typical JimBow bluster & bravada.

Posted by: BinM | January 27, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

More from the JimBo-Rizz interview:

"And, Mike, how many miles are you putting on that Segway, anyway?"

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | January 27, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

@leetee: I wonder if JimBow has realized that he'll never have another shot at a MLB-GM position (a la Steve Phillips, late of ESPN), or is he so dis-illusioned that he believes his sat-rad 'insights' might lure another owner into trusting him?

Posted by: BinM | January 27, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse


www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 27, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

VAMOS INDIOS DE MAYAGUEZ!!! One more game baby! WEPA!!!

Posted by: boricuabopper | January 27, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

"When the revenues improve, I think that we'll be able to compete in the very difficult National League East."

Good grief.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 27, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

So here's the Opening Day lineup that Riggleman gave in an interview with WUSA's Sara Walsh (they aired the brief piece on the 11:00 news):

Nyjer
Guz
Zimm
Dunn
Willingham
Dukes
Pudge
Desmond

Hmm...sounds like he knows what he's working with, and it looks pretty similar to last year. Makes me wonder if there are any more moves coming.

Posted by: thepostischeap | January 27, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Went to Build-a-Bear at Tyson's last night with children to meet the Nats. Got there, and relatively empty: no one meeting the Nats except us! So what did the children want to do? Build a bear. Dammit: those things are expensive. Meeting Nats players? Distant 2nd place.

Posted by: joemktg1 | January 28, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

"When the revenues improve, I think that we'll be able to compete in the very difficult National League East."

Good grief.
-------------------------------------------

It's a chicken-and-egg situation of course, but the fact is that the revenues haven't been there over the past several years in the way that the optimistic projections of 2006 said they would be. Of course the back-to-back 100 loss seasons hurt a lot, but bad luck has played a part in it too. Consider 2007 when a scrappy team that was projected to be historically bad actually ended up having a relatively good season after a horrendous start. Unfortunately the decaying RFK Stadium negated any hope of capitalizing at the gate from the team's good performance. Then in 2008 a truly dismal 100-loss team sucked all the bounce out of a brand new stadium. Just imagine what would have happened had those two seasons been reversed. The 2007 team's performance coupled with the new stadium would have pulled in crowds that rivaled 2005, and probably would have secured a season ticket base big enough to sustain the trauma of the 100-loss 2009 season. The Nats would probably be looking at double the revenue stream over what they currently have, if only two sub-.500 seasons had been switched. Instead, they have to hope for a slow build in revenue, which should happen as they continue to improve the team.

Meanwhile, the Phillies revenue has gone through the roof thanks to two straight World Series, and the Mets were lucky that their house of cards didn't completely collapse until after they got the benefit of their Shea Stadium farewell tour and Citi Field new stadium bump.

Good grief yourself.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 28, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

JennEric-- what is the point of that? Revenues were less than expected? So what, revenues were more than many MLB clubs as spending was less.

The Nats are sitting on the 23rd best farm and they can battle it out with Pittsburgh (who literally started over last year) as to who is the worst club in the NL. Stan and the Lerners have been blowing smoke up our keysters for 3 years and they just hit the reset button on the plan, they have wasted a lot of time and a lot of my season ticket money, and they should not get a big pass because Jim Bowden, their hire, is a loud mouth fast-talker?

As to chicken and egg scenarios, the Lerners are chickens -- just gutless -- and they've laid an egg as owners to date.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 28, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: erocks33 | January 28, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

it's not a "chicken or egg" situation.

it's been proven repeatedly that in most sports franchises, winning breeds revenues.

there have been times where winning *doesn't* breed revenues, but that generally means the market isn't there.

but it's a pretty rare instance where losing breeds revenue. and in those instances, the teams are generally well-established organizations (i.e., cubs, redskins) who *do* have a past history of winning and are ingrained in the local market.

so when you're talking about a new team like the nats, you have two opportunities to generate additional revenues without winning. first new season and a new stadium. not sure what else a team can reasonably do to attract fans other than that beyond, well, winning.

so they've done the "first season" thing (and pretty successfully). they've done the "new stadium" thing, moderately successfully. they've run out of "new" now and the only way to generate more revenue and become a larger part of the fabric of the community is to win.

to sum up, it can't be a "chicken or egg" thing because revenues aren't going to come before winning. it's just not going to happen and it doesn't work that way. the last "draw" card they have left is "winning," since they've already used up the other two.

to generate more revenue, they're going to have to "invest" in the team in hopes of generating more wins, which will then generate more revenue. not surprisingly, this isn't unlike how most businesses work.

Posted by: sec231 | January 28, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"it's not a "chicken or egg" situation.

it's been proven repeatedly that in most sports franchises, winning breeds revenues."

That's precisely my point. The cynics around here will say that the Nats aren't winning because they don't spend money. The other side will say that they don't have the money to spend because they're not winning. It's chicken and egg on laying the blame. But when it comes down to it, the Lerners/Kasten are doing exactly what they have said they would do since Day One. They are building from within via the draft and farm system, with expensive free agent acquisitions as the final piece. You can quibble all you want that they haven't done it well enough - and the on-field results would verify that they haven't - but they have done exactly what they said they would do. They haven't lied. True, they have said all along that they would do all those things in the best possible way they could ever be done, and that once they did them they would be successful quickly, and that hasn't happened. But as Phil Wood pointed out in response to JayBeee's incessant hectoring, EVERYONE says those things. No one says "I'm hiring these guys, or I'm taking this job, or I'm doing these things, just to put in a half-assed effort and collect a paycheck." If someone says "I plan to be the best" and then they're not the best, they haven't lied. They've failed. If someone says "I will DO X" and then they don't do X, that's a lie. But if they say "I will BE X" and then they turn out not to be, that's not a lie. It's a failure.

Lying, when it all comes down to it, is a sin. But failure is not. People do need to be held accountable for their sins. But doesn't having failed at something mean you've already been held accountable for it? Around here, though, that's apparently not the case.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 28, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

We would have a better chance of communicating with a wall at this point. ABM...er...JE1 will continue to give the Lerner's and StanK a pass and make excuses for them.

The Lerner's don't spend enough money on players. Period. He's never gonna get it.

The proof is punching him in the face it's so obvious and he still can't see it.

Bottom 5 in payroll 4 years running now, Zero presence internationally and drafting for signability rather than talent.

It's a no brainer.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 28, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Listen to XM-175 MLB Homeplate everynight on my home from the VRE station but have to say since PT Bowdoin has come on board it has become almost a chore to listen. The guy has ZERO insight and basically is lead down the path on most answers by Joe Castellano (the co-host). Bowdoin uses all of the MLB/Sports cliches in his standard answers ie. "oh there's no doubt about it", blah, blah, blah. Boring!

Wonder why Bowdoin didn't ask Rizzo how his Condo was doing, seeing that Rizzo is living in Bowdoins DC Condo. Good grief, check the sheets?

On another issue, this has got to be the most unadvertized FANFEST in MLB. Does the Nats PR people do this on purpose so that next year ownership can say no one shows up so its not worth the investment and shut it down? I'm a STH so I get the messages, but what about everyone else?

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 28, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Did somebody call for a chicken?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5il7RAz5lA

To quote a certain Mr. Bob L. Head, we now return you to your regularly scheduled bickering. Talk amongst yourselves. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 28, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"JE1 will continue to give the Lerner's and StanK a pass and make excuses for them.

The Lerner's don't spend enough money on players. Period. He's never gonna get it."

How does calling them a failure equate to making excuses for them? You seem to think that the only reason for their failure is that they haven't spent money. I say there are lots of reasons for it, and there's no way to say that money is the only reason for it, or even a factor at all. The bottom line is that they've failed on the field because they haven't had good enough players. Would shoveling tons of money on players guarantee that they'd win, or even do any better than they have? No. Period. You're never gonna get it.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I'll acknowledge that there are lots of reasons for failure.

But, I would bet that in most cases - in MLB - team payroll is a strong indicator of wins. Of course, there are always exceptions and teams that do well with smaller budgets. And there are plenty of teams that spend money and spend it poorly.

But a bottom 5 payroll results in a bottom 5 team on the field - especially when you are taking over an organization that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up - when you don't have good, young, cheap players to put on the MLB roster, you need to go out and get MLB level talent.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 28, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It's almost comical now.

"Would shoveling tons of money on players guarantee that they'd win, or even do any better than they have?"

That's priceless.

Sure, you're right ABM. The Lerner way of being one of the lowest spending teams in MLB has worked out well so far, let's keep doing that. You know, the bottom 5 payroll, 23rd rated minor league system (which would be even lower if it wasn't for Strasburg) way.

"No way we'll lose 100"

Posted by: Section505203 | January 28, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

So as reported by Ladson, Livon Hernandez wants to come back. I don't know if any team is going to offer him a MLB contract, but I would certainly hope the Nats at least offer him a non-guaranteed MiLB roster invitation. I'm not sure he makes the team, but it seems to me he would be a good solution for the first six-eight weeks of the season as a fifth starter until one of the young starters earns promotion. Maybe Strassburg will be ready by then or maybe Detwiler.

Rizzo should respond to Livon's email though. Maybe he forgot to check his SPAM filter.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 28, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"But, I would bet that in most cases - in MLB - team payroll is a strong indicator of wins. Of course, there are always exceptions and teams that do well with smaller budgets. And there are plenty of teams that spend money and spend it poorly."

Posted by: comish4lif
____________________________________________________________

Exactly. There are exceptions to the rule every year but, all you have to do is look at the payroll standings every year since say, 2000 and you will see the importance of spending on players.

And as for the two well known exceptions to the rule the Marlins and Twins. The difference between them and the Nats is they spend a lot of money on scouting and signing of draft picks and international players. The Nats, not so much.

You have to spend some where...on players, not upgrading the Red Porch.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 28, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

"But a bottom 5 payroll results in a bottom 5 team on the field - especially when you are taking over an organization that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up - when you don't have good, young, cheap players to put on the MLB roster, you need to go out and get MLB level talent."

Easier said than done, especially when you state up front that you're not going to sign expensive free agents. That leaves you with the choice of trading for MLB-level players, which is hard to do when you don't have any players or prospects of your own to offer in turn, or doing the so-called bottom feeding on other teams' rejects and hoping you'll get lucky. The Nats did those things as best they could, and they didn't get lucky. Rather, they failed. But it's a cheap shot to call them cheap when they said up front that they weren't going to break the bank on payroll, and then they did exactly what they said they would do. Anyone who just wants to watch expensive players, the more of them the better, should have realized in 2007 that they should be following some other team than the Nats. So if they're still here and still raising the payroll argument, what's their excuse?

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 28, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The Lerners took over an organization that was a bare bones outfit 3+ years ago. Chico's piece yesterday pointed out that they waited until revenues from the new park came in to hire a real front office (took 2+ years for that to happen). They made a business decision to go skimpy on talent evaluation at a time when it was there stated primary goal to get young talent to build a foundation for the club. And go figure, the club has not done such a great job of assembling some fantastic farm. Why is that OK with anyone in here?

The Plan was essentially, let's hope to get lucky on some cheap roster of players and some rag tag front office and if we're passable on the field at some point, more people will come to the park and then there will be more money and then maybe we can do something to improve the roster to compete in the tough NL East.

Phil's right that every club does some puffing about hope for next year and the brightness of the future and such, but the Nats told us they were going to do everything to get us an elite organization -- and left out the part about not starting in earnest until some unknown level of revenues are realized. Disingenuous penny pinchers of the worst order.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 28, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Easier said than done, especially when you state up front that you're not going to sign expensive free agents. That leaves you with the choice of trading for MLB-level players, which is hard to do when you don't have any players or prospects of your own to offer in turn..." - says JennEric1

OK, so the Nats/Lerners aren't cheap. Does this make them bad baseball people? Did the overestimate the enthusiasm of fans to accept a bad MLB product because "hooray we have baseball back" - because you are right, the choices are to pay for free agents (which just costs money), trade for players (but we haven't had enough pieces to trade), or develop from within - which we know takes 3-5-7 years.

Are they bad baseball people for thinking that the fans would universally accept bad baseball for 5+ years?

OK, so, for now - I'll back off of cheap. But they saved money on free agents at the expense of a lot of tickets sold. A lot of people think of them as cheap - so, they've lost some of the goodwill that came with bringing baseball to DC. Now, they've saved the money that wasn't spent on free agents and after back-to-back 100 loss seasons, they are ridiculed in the media, we are everyone's pathetic Gnats and Natinals. Which I guarantee you, doesn't happen if they win even 75 games...

Looking objectively at this roster... and it pains me to says this as a Season Ticket Holder - this is a 90 loss team.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"It's a cheap shot to call them cheap when they said up front that they weren't going to break the bank on payroll, and then they did exactly what they said they would do. Anyone who just wants to watch expensive players, the more of them the better, should have realized in 2007 that they should be following some other team than the Nats."

No, they did not do exactly what they said they would do. I'll put the MLB product aside for purposes of this discussion. One thing that they said they would do is invest heavily in their farm to create an elite organization--through scouting, signing, and development. They demonstrably did not make this investment. This has not been a failure of execution, it has been a failure of will.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 28, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If we could trade willingham, how about signing Damon,assuming he wants to play in washington.

Posted by: jacquesdoucet | January 28, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"OK, so the Nats/Lerners aren't cheap. Does this make them bad baseball people? Did the overestimate the enthusiasm of fans to accept a bad MLB product because "hooray we have baseball back" - because you are right, the choices are to pay for free agents (which just costs money), trade for players (but we haven't had enough pieces to trade), or develop from within - which we know takes 3-5-7 years."

Stan Kasten has always said that they would get the attendance they deserved, so I don't think there is anything wrong with his estimating ability. And he surely has known all along that a slow rebuild could take three years, could take five years, could take seven years. But of course he or any other executive is never going to say something like that (until like Bowden he's out of baseball for good and into the media) but instead will talk about hoping for quick success. Which is all they've ever said. They had hopes and expressed them. They never guaranteed success.

And remember, the slow build approach (which the media, not Kasten, dubbed The Plan) was Kasten's idea and he sold it to the Lerners, even telling them that "they will call you cheap bastards." Seems like Kasten has pretty much been right on everything, except for the biggie - whether or not the slow build approach will ultimately work. The jury is still out on that one. Time will tell.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 28, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Pudge is a joke, Flores is the truth. If Flores is close to healthy he needs to get as many at bats as possible.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | January 28, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The Lerners are bad baseball people, because they are bad baseball people. Bad baseball is all they know, all they have delivered. Bad farm, bad MLB club, bad management on and off the field, lousy promotion, etc., since day one.

Maybe Rizzo is part of the solution, we'll see. But the steps have been too few, too small and too far inbetween for the club to make real progress.

To their credit, they have tried to make the park experience a good one and they are trying to improve every year on that front, but that is also part of the problem: they think that the park is more important than the club. Wrigleyitis.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 28, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

They're cheap. The facts back me up.

If they would have done what they said they would do, invest heavily in scouting and in young talent through the draft and internationally, I would not be saying that. But they didn't and frankly, still haven't.

And the lack of spending by a man who is worth 4 billion dollars, in a top 8 market and in one of the top 3 wealthiest areas in the country is flat out inexcusable.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 28, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"They're cheap. The facts back me up."

You're nothing but a broken record. The facts back me up.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 28, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not they're cheap begs the question. That's not really the point.

I don't care what they do with their money. I don't care who they almost (i.e., do not) sign. I don't care if they never win the World Series. I don't care what they'll do in 2012 yet), or in the year 2525.

I *AM* cheap. I've never been moved (i.e., sucker enough) to buy season tickets for a poorly run, largely irrelevant team in a mediocre ballpark, and I don't see any reason yet to change my mind.

The question is: Do I enjoy going to the park and watching this team play?
Not enough to fork over the price of a used car for it, no.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 28, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

As much as everyone touts the Twins as small market and small payroll - they'll have a payroll in 2010 of about $90M.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 28, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

No.

************
If we could trade willingham, how about signing Damon, assuming he wants to play in washington.
Posted by: jacquesdoucet | January 28, 2010 11:53 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 28, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Cry baby cry.

Being a fan does not mean you have to be positive and happy all the time, but this is just not healthy. You need to ask yourself the question: "Am I really a Yankees fan?" Maybe their budget would make you feel better.

The team seems to be taking the right measured steps at this time and yet all you can do is beat the dead horse. There is no flesh left on that horse - just dried up brittle bones. Stop beating the horse. Yelling "Hi Ho Silver" isn't going to make the dead horse move.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 28, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

So who would you replace him with?

Posted by: jacquesdoucet | January 28, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Jimbo, during the interview with Rizzo, said "And it's gonna take time to rebuild, when you're building it this way, from the bottom up, and you don't have the flexibility to make some big huge moves to help your big league club quicker."

No surprise, but it sure sounds like he was operating with a limited budget, and that he thinks Rizzo will be, too.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"One thing that they said they would do is invest heavily in their farm to create an elite organization--through scouting, signing, and development. They demonstrably did not make this investment."

But they did. Or at least they started to, and as happens with many investments they got burned on some things early on. They spent big in the Dominican on Smiley and Jose Rijo's whole operation. Maybe not as big as you would have liked, but they spent. You can't deny that. And they were severely burned there. But as happens a lot when people get burned on investments, they back off. Once burnt, twice shy. And perhaps the biggest problem they had with their initial investment was the investment manager they hired - Bowden. The "world class" FO and scouting crew he put together in 2007 performed so badly that it had to be almost totally replaced by 2010. Clearly the Lerners failed at investing, but it was almost entirely a failure of execution. If their will faltered, it was only because they were forced to step back and regroup from the many initial failures.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 28, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"They're cheap. The facts back me up."

You're nothing but a broken record. The facts back me up.

Posted by: JennEric1--------------------

Which facts point to the Nats/Lerners as NOT being cheap?

Posted by: comish4lif | January 28, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Being a fan does not mean you have to be positive and happy all the time, but this is just not healthy. You need to ask yourself the question: "Am I really a Yankees fan?" Maybe their budget would make you feel better.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 28, 2010 12:47 PM ___________________________________________________________

Just a stupid statement on every level, and quite frankly natbiscuits, as a long time poster, you're better than that.

You tell me when have I ever said we need to be the Yankee's or I should be a Yankee fan because.... In fact, I wouldn't want the Lerner's to spend like that, it's bad for the game, IMO.

I have said they need to increase spending on the ML roster, get in the middle some where, and spend more on scouting, draft picks, and internationally.

I'm guilty of caring for my team and being tired of watching a horrible underfunded product. What the heck is so wrong with that?

Obviously, I'm not alone in this.


Posted by: Section505203 | January 28, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"I'm guilty of caring for my team and being tired of watching a horrible underfunded product. What the heck is so wrong with that?"

You certainly seem way, way more concerned about the underfundedness of that product than you are about the horribleness of it. Assuming the Stones were right and you can't always get what you want, which one do you choose?

(a) massively funded horrible product OR
(b) underfunded non-horrible product

It's clear what your answer will be. You're nothing but a broken record.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 28, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

We're pretty cranky for January, aren't we? This feels more like May, after a 9-game losing streak.

So I guess we're not going to trade Willingham after all. That might nix my earlier prediction that a multi-player trade would happen before April. Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring us a starter. 1a, you gonna write a song about that or what?

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

It's like the A's signing Sheets to a one-year deal -- people were asking on Hot Stove (people really should watch that show) why they would pay so much for a guy that hasn't had 200 innings since '04. Here's why - apparently Sheets is a good first half pitcher. So, he has an excellent first half with the A's (pitcher's park), and they get a couple of hot prospects when some team falls all over themselves to get him at the trade deadline. Now, the A's wouldn't have gotten those two-three prospects or whatever unless they had spent the money. Instead, the Nats sign someone like Marquis who doesn't have an upside anymore to a two-year deal - virtually impossible in the economic climate to trade. Nats spend 15 million, A's spend half that and get some good ballplayers in return. You think Rizzo is some kind of brain surgeon or something? And the only reason the Nats signed Marquis - is not to make the team core better, but to put some fannies in the seats for the short term. Every move they make is virtually transparent.

Posted by: Brue | January 28, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Umm, I did not direct that comment at a specific poster - and certainly not just your 505 moniker .... but you are wrong, I'm not really better than that. I'm tired of the repetitive nature and stridency of the complaint. It's a blog and you are entitled, but its becoming boorish. Couldn't we have a few happy thoughts per day in here? Apologies if you felt personally attacked.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 28, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

For the record - I think we should have added another starter from the FA market, Ben Sheets would have suited me.

I would not trade Willinghammer - because I don't like the options that we have to put back in the lineup in his place (Duncan, Maxwell, Harris, Bernadina, Morse).

I'd prefer to keep WIllingham and trot out Olsen, Mock, Stammen, Martin, Martis and Balestar until one of them grabs the job.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 28, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Until Sheets blows out his arm in June and then its just $10 million in his pocket and the A's are stuck with nothing...

...I'm still happy with the Marquis signing, if only Garland hadn't been such a homer by taking almost $10 million LESS to play for the Padres.

Posted by: SpashCity | January 28, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

ABM,

You have no baseball IQ, zero.

So your assumption is that if the Lerner's were to better fund the product it would have to be "massive", and if it is "massive", which I'm not calling for, it will be horrible.

How is adding say 25 million more in payroll and say another 25 million (quite frankly, a number pulled out of the air for the sake of the discussion) in international signings, draft signings, and scouting, "massive?"

Basically, all I'm asking for, is for them to put the profits back into the team, which is what Mark Lerner said they would do for the first 10 years. That obviously ain't happenin'

Posted by: Section505203 | January 28, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"You certainly seem way, way more concerned about the underfundedness of that product than you are about the horribleness of it."

Well those things are related, obviously. But let's talk about the horribleness for a bit.

Pitching: We have two middle-of-the-rotation starters in Marquis and Lannan, and that's it. Sure we have some promising young arms, but so does everybody else. We can't throw three question marks out there and expect to win. Yes, maybe one day two slots will be filled by Strasburg and Zimmermann. But we need two more starters now if we're going to avoid 90-100 losses, period. If we get that, the bullpen should be passable with the upgrades. Not good, mind you, particularly without an elite closer, but competent. If we don't add starters, however, the pen could be a disaster again because a bunch of average relievers will not succeed if they have to take over in the fourth or fifth inning three times per week.

Defense: Zimmerman and Tony Plush are great. Pudge and Flores should be OK. Dukes should be OK although he is prone to the occasional bonehead play. But at short, second, left and first we have major issues. Every team has a guy like Willingham, a slightly below-average fielder that makes up for it with his bat, and that's tolerable. But you can't have four guys like that, especially when, as Rizzo says, you've assembled a pitch-to-contact rotation (which is a nice way of saying that most of our guys can't get anyone out by themselves).

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

JennEric -- whether the club is massively funded and terrible or underfunded and terrible makes little difference, my season tickets are still going to be among the priciest in baseball either way.

The Lerners are lousy owners and they do not deserve our money. Bad decisions, bad PR, bad results, bad freaking radio signal, bad baseball management on and off the field, bad instincts, bad farm, bad MLB club. Going on 4 years in and the only thing they have added which is proven to be worth while is the Presidents Race.

From what they started with, they have added so very little value to the club it is almost amazing -- but for the fact that they got what they paid for.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 28, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll get back to you on that, BobL. :-D

---

Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring us a starter. 1a, you gonna write a song about that or what?

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 1:26 PM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 28, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Umm, I did not direct that comment at a specific poster - and certainly not just your 505 moniker .... but you are wrong, I'm not really better than that. I'm tired of the repetitive nature and stridency of the complaint. It's a blog and you are entitled, but its becoming boorish. Couldn't we have a few happy thoughts per day in here? Apologies if you felt personally attacked.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 28, 2010 1:33 PM
____________________________________________________________

natbiscuits,

My apologies then.

I use to have a lot of "happy thoughts" in here but, since last offseason, my patience with the Lerner's and StanK is wearing thin, onion skin thin.

And like you are tired of "the repetitive nature and stridency of the complaint."
I'm tired of the excuse making of a number of folks in here. "It's Leatherpants fault." "MLB left a bare bones operation" "Their new owner's, give them time." "Crow's agents blew it." "The sun was in their eyes."

Blah, Blah, Blah.


Posted by: Section505203 | January 28, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Here is some (moderately) happy news:

Keith Law's top 100 prospect list is out, and it includes Strasburg at #2 (behind the Braves' Jason Heyward), Derek Norris at #31 (but with questions about his defense -- where have I heard that before?) and Storen at #92.

Other notables: Aroldis Chapman is at #16, and Aaron Crow is at #87. Which, to me, proves the point some of us have been making about the failure to really build the farm over the past few years by, you guessed it, spending money. If they had thrown a bit more change around we could have had Strasburg, Chapman and Crow in the rotation by the end of this year. Now that would have been something. And don't tell me that we couldn't have had Storen too -- he might well have been available in the second round.

(OK, well, I tried to be positive and failed. But it was a failure of execution and not of will. And the sun was in my eyes.)

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

good one BobL

Posted by: JayBeee | January 28, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

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