Distinguished Senators, the Washington Nationals Blog That Is Great

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Boo Bowden, Yay Sheinin

Here I was trying to be positive. Me yesterday:
[B]oth the Ladson and Zuckerman mailbags indicate that Ryan Church will beat out Brandon Watson for the starting CF job.
Jim Goddamn Bowden today:
Outfielder Ryan Church was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday by the Washington Nationals, meaning rookie Brandon Watson and Marlon Byrd will share time in center field.
Me yesterday:
This speaks well of Nats management, since they're deciding this even though Church's spring numbers aren't as good as Watson's. If Nick Johnson has a bad spring, you don't hand the first base job to Daryle Ward, you know?
Jim Goddamn Bowden today:
General manager Jim Bowden said Tuesday's decision came down to Watson having a better spring than Church.
Church will be back, and I guess we could have a contest to guess if it'll be owing to Watson's ineffectiveness, Guillen's injuries, a Soriano trade, or Other. And I have learned my lesson about assuming that Bowden won't do the worst the possible thing in every situation.

Have you ever read
something you agreed with so completely that the best explanation was that you went into a fugue state and wrote it yourself? I'm pretty sure that's not what happened with today's Dave Sheinin chat, but I don't remember where I was at one in the afternoon. The police have some theories, but I don't buy them. Anyway, here are some highlights.
As for Bowden's record as GM, well, there have been hits (Zimmerman, Guillen, Loaiza) and there have been missed (Guzman, Soriano, Ohka). My own opinion is that there have been more misses than hits.
I'd add that there's a tendency among Bowden defenders to counter a list of his bad moves with a list of his good ones, as the issue can be decided on a one-to-one basis. But not all moves are equal, and Esteban Loiaza does not make up for Cristian Guzman. The big moves are bad ones.
There is certainly something to be said for results, and the Nats overachieved last year in a big way. However, the opposing viewpoint is that many of the players behind that impressive season were already on board when Bowden took over (Cordero, Patterson, Hernandez, Johnson, Ayala, etc.), and that Bowden's moves did little to enhance the team and, in fact, in some cases damaged the team.
But that said, some of Bowden's worst moves do not appear to have been forced by financial constraints. He signed Guzman, for instance, very early in the free-agent market, for a price that most observers around the game thought was exorbitant. And this winter, with extra money to spend because of a boost in payroll budget, he spent the majority of it on Soriano. Now, Guzman might still end up being a good shortstop for the next three years, and Soriano might hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases this year. But I doubt it.
Preach it.
If you are going to investigate someone for something they did outside of MLB's own drug policy, you should also be prepared to investigate Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and all the dozens of other players of whom there exists evidence of steroid use, despite the lack of a positive test. To investigate Bonds alone, I think, is unfair.
Not to shift gears, but this is dead on. Those singling out Bonds aren't trying to punish him for being a steroid abuser but because he's the best steroid abuser. As far as I'm concerned, Jason Giambi's 313 home runs are more tainted than Bonds' 708.

I don't know if I was blinded by the ineffable glory of Barry Svrluga and ignored him or if Dave Sheinin got better over the winter, but the man has been the highlight of mainstream Nats coverage this spring. As annoying as some of the other baseball writers on the Post can be, we're very lucky to have Sheinin and Svrluga covering out beloved, God-forsaken baseball club.


Anonymous said...

I'll never forget Churchy's pie in the face on live television.

I have tried to stay away from the Bowden-is-crap-on-a-perfectly-good-shoe bandwagon but he makes it nearly impossible.

Harper said...

Some predictions going by the new Distinguished theory : "Bowden will do the worst the possible thing in every situation"

Ward AND Tucker make the squad. We cut someone useful. LeCroy, Jackson, Byrd.

Hughes and Gryboski are both lost for nothing. Mike Stanton is given an extension.

Alberto Castillo beats Wiki for the back-up catcher spot because he's friends with Alfonso.