"Jim Bowden resigned Sunday after four seasons as the Washington Nationals' general manager, leaving under the cloud of a federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses given to Latin American prospects.
He has maintained his innocence in the matter but said Sunday, "I've become a distraction."
"My resignation is based upon my realization that my ability to properly represent the Washington Nationals has been compromised because of false allegations contained in the press," Bowden said in a statement. "I am disappointed by the media reports regarding investigations into any of my professional activities. There have been no charges made, and there has been no indication that parties have found any wrongdoing on my part."
Well, there are two sides to this.
There are those who will say that Bowden did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. Management did not give Bowden the ability to go after big time free agents (before this season) and when he arrived in DC, the Nationals had almost nothing to speak of down on the farm. Hell, they didn't even have their own stadium! This organization was in chaos and the situation was no conducive for success for anyone.
But then you have another side of folks who will say simply that Bowden was just a terrible GM. He is the one who got nothing for Alfonso Soriano at the deadline during his 40/40 season, the one who did not sign Aaron Crow, the one who signed Paul Lo Duca, the one who acquired Austin Kearns and Gary Majewski, gave Dmitri Young a 2 year/$10 million dollar extension, and lots of weak draft picks...so far. So as you can see, Bowden has made his fair share of stupid moves over the past three seasons that have brought the Nationals from a .500 team in 2005 to a team that lost over 100 games in 2008.
The Esmailyn Gonzalez scandal was another black eye on Jim Bowden's resume. Bowden oversaw a department that shelled out $1.4 million bucks to bring the 19 year old Gonzalez to the Nationals. This was supposed to be a sign from the Lerner family to Nationals fans that they were deeply committed to bringing the best young talent to the Nationals. However, it was later discovered that Gonzalez was actually 23 years old, which would make him a fringe prospect at best. Yikes....
It was Bowden's responsibility to ensure that the Nationals were making a sound investment. In this case, Bowden failed miserably and it cost the Nationals big time. Whether this scandal was a managerial error or simply a lack of judgement, the point is still obvious: this garbage is inexcusable.
Speaking of garbage, if Bowden did skim signing bonuses, then he was not just an incompetent GM, but an incompetent human being. That would be the lowest of the low. But hey, innocent until proven guilty, right!
It's obvious that the criticism of Jim Bowden will be immense. He has embarrassed himself and the Washington Nationals tremendously over the last few months. The worst of it may not be over for Bowden depending on the bonus skimming investigation...For his sake, I hope it turns out well.
And for the Nationals...good riddance Jim Bowden! I firmly believe that Bowden was not a good General Manager and needed to be replaced before these scandals even hit the presses. The Nationals had NO direction under the watch of Bowden and struggled to even remain marginally competitive. Even without the best resources, there were areas where Bowden royally screwed up and in doing so, he left the Nationals in the exact same way he found them: a mess.