An unsubstantiated suspicion that Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden may somehow be connected with the supposed fraudulent taking of kickbacks from young player prospects "comes as no surprise to me," says Hall-of-Fame Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman.
Brenneman -- who covered the Reds during Bowden's rocky tenure as general manager in Cincinnati -- suggested to son Tom Brennaman in a recent broadcast commentary for WLW Radio that a history of arguably dubious dealings by Bowden indicates something may be amiss.
"That guy has been such a bad guy for such a long time that what goes around, comes around," said Brennaman, who has a reputation for outspokenness if not being altogether blunt.
Bowden -- reported by SI.com to be included in a federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses paid to player prospects from Latin America -- has denied any wrongdoing. No accusations against him have been substantiated, and no charges were filed against him as the result of his reported questioning by the FBI concerning related matters last year.
Bowden has become the center of a firestorm of publicity after it was revealed that Nationals player Esmailyn Gonzalez received a $1.4 million signing bonus after purporting himself to be a 16-year-old though he was actually 21. The Gonzalez rift is unrelated to a skimming probe, according to published statements attributed to Nationals president Stan Kasten, who stands behind Bowden.
A number of controversies involving trades and other personnel decisions have followed Bowden through much of his career, perhaps none greater than his firing of popular Reds manager Tony Perez after a lapse of just 44 games during the 1993 season.
Baseball Prospectus says it appears the Nats will fire Bowden and replace him with Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava.
I miss Adam Dunn.
He's actually not saying that those who disagree with him are dumb. He's saying that those fans who dismiss his opinions with argumentum ad hominem can't be bothered with his arguments.
In this case, he gave the reasons behind his low opinion of the Nats' system. I think he has cause to be a little dismissive with Nats fans who shout, "Biased!".
We see grade inflation all time with fans and their team's prospects. Heck we see a great deal of it here with Reds prospects.
Really on the bad behavior scale what is worse- the dismissal of a reasoned argument by attacking character or the dismissal of those who attack character rather than the argument?
"This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner
Nats strongly considering change
by John Perrotto
The Nationals, according to multiple industry sources, are strongly considering firing general manager Jim Bowden and replacing him with Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava.
Bowden has been implicated in a bonus skimming scandal in the Dominican Republic and is reportedly being investigated by the FBI. Jose Rijo, the former major-league pitcher and a special assistant to Bowden, has taken a leave of absence in wake of the allegations.
LaCava is highly regarded inside the game and has interviewed for GM jobs with the Pirates and Mariners in the last year-and-a-half. Commissioner Bud Selig reportedly has given Nationals president Stan Kasten permission to hire LaCava without interviewing minority candidates because of the special circumstances of a change of GMs being necessitated after spring training has started.
I miss Adam Dunn.
LaCava better watch it or he might get fired by JimBo before JimBo gets fired himself.
If so, sucks for rizzo. I think he deserves a shot.
"I hate to advocate chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... But they've always worked for me."
-Hunter S. Thompson
From The Washington Post
Rijo To Be Fired
(full article)The Washington Nationals have made the decision to fire Jose Rijo, the member of their front office most closely linked to the Smiley Gonzalez fraud, a source with knowledge of the situation said tonight. Rijo owns and operates a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, which the Nationals have used as their scouting base in Latin America.
Rijo, who has worked for the team since 2005 as a special assistant to the general manager, had taken a forced leave of absence from his job this weekend and returned to the Dominican Republic. Now, that leave has become permanent.
By cutting ties with Rijo, the Nationals have also cut ties with Rijo's academy -- the place where the organization and their now-infamous prospect intersected. According to one source, one member of Washington's front office, Mike Rizzo, is currently in the Dominican Republic seeking information about a new facility.
Rijo, reached tonight, was not yet aware of the firing.
Asked if he'd heard anything, Rijo responded, "No, nothing."
A Washington spokesperson said the team would not have any announcement forthcoming tonight. President Stan Kasten has not responded to an e-mail seeking comment.
Rijo's departure comes in the wake of last week's revelation, confirmed by Major League Baseball, that Washington's top Dominican prospect had signed with the team under a false name and age. Though Rijo has denied any involvement in the fraud, which turned a 20-year-old shortstop named Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo into a 16-year-old named Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez. In July 2006, the Nationals -- with Rijo's recommendation -- signed Gonzalez, believed to be 16, to a $1.4-million signing bonus.
Rijo knew Gonzalez for two years before the signing, and helped link his team -- including General Manager Jim Bowden -- with his childhood friend, Basilio Vizcaino, with whom the Nationals negotiated during the signing.
Though Rijo is the first Washington employee to lose his job as a result of the scandal, the FBI investigation into Latin American scouting has landed others, Bowden included, in hot water. Last summer, the FBI began looking into both Bowden and Rijo as a part of the probe. Both have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Washington's arrangement with Rijo was unorthodox. Most Major League teams own their facilities in the Dominican. The Nationals rented, thus supplying Rijo with a supplement to his regular salary.
Rijo's complex, located in the hills outside San Cristobal, was supposed to become the epicenter of Washington's new focus on international scouting. The Gonzalez signing, which coincided with the team receiving a new ownership group, was designed as a bold entrance point into the high-stakes game of Latin American prospect-signing. But since then, the Nationals have kept a low profile in the Dominican.
Since leaving the team this weekend, Rijo has been back home in San Cristobal. In an interview earlier this week, Rijo explained that his original leave of absence -- described at the time as a mutual decision -- was in fact forced by the team. "They say I take a leave of absence," Rijo said. "I didn't take it. They gave it to me."
"Okay you guys, pair up in threes!" --Yogi Berra
Angels superstar Vladimir Guerrero reportedly has revealed that he was actually born in 1975, a year earlier than previously noted in his biographical information during his career, making him 34 now instead of 33.
So, Vlad says he's actually 1 year older. I wonder how much older he really is? Two maybe three? This would explain his decline in recent years.
I thought they made a rule a couple of years ago that said if they catch a player falsifying their name, they will be suspended.