This article has a different Reds spin to it...
In light of the Cincinnati Bengals' idiotic move to slap the franchise tag on their kicker, Shane Graham, I was asked if Mike Brown was a worse General Manager than Washington Nationals' GM, Jim Bowden. There is no hesitation to this answer... its Bowden by a landslide. Here are ten reasons why:
1. Bowden has been investigated by MLB for illegal activities in Latin American signings. In other words, they suspected he was skimming bonus money to international players or allowing it to happen.
2. It is universally agreed upon that the Nationals have one of the worst farm systems in all baseball (sound familiar Reds fans?). To add insult to injury, they did not sign their first round draft pick from 2009, Missouri RHP Aaron Crow.
3. Attendance at their brand new ballpark plummetted as the year wore on and their TV and radio ratings were disappointing.
4. Bowden could not bring free agent hometown slugger, Mark Teixeira, back to Washington despite offering $20 million more than anyone else.
5. Bowden signed Adam Dunn, easily their best player now, to a two- year, $20 million contract when the next best offer was one- year at $5 million. He bid against himself and had to grossly outbid himself to get Dunn to join his best friend, Austin Kearns, in Washington.
6. As it stands right now, Bowden has spent the following on his starting pitching (numbers refer to 2009 contracts and are in the millions of dollars):
- Scott Olsen $2.8 million
- John Lannan $500K
- Daniel Cabrera (picked up on waivers last month) $2.6million
- Shawn Hill $775K
- Odalis Perez (signed to a minor league deal) $750K
Summary: Most teams in the Major Leagues would have none of these guys in their rotations. The Nationals are like salmon swimming upstream as they are going against all logic and spending the least amount possible on their starting staff... $7.425 million.
7. So maybe they saved on the starting rotation in order to spend big bucks on a top- notch bullpen. Let's check it out. The following are the Nationals' likely bullpen all- stars and their salaries:
- Joel Hanrahan $500K
- Steven Shell $500K
- Saul Rivera $500K
- Michael Hinckley $500K
- Jason Bergman $750K
- Terrell Young (Rule 5 pick from the Reds) $400K
- Matt Chico $500K
Summary: Who are these guys? Tim Costo and Greg Tubbs are more memorable Reds than these hacks will be in Washington. Will any be in the Majors in two years? Their salaries add up to $3.65 million. That would be a total of $11.075 for the entire forgettable pitching staff.
8. Maybe these salaries are excuseable if the franschise is cutting costs everywhere, a la the Florida Marlins every four years. No sensible General Manager would spend $40 million on the position players and forget about the pitching staff. No GM would neglect the most important part of the recipe for winning in baseball... would he? For those that have had enough pain for one article, turn away now...
Adam Dunn $10 million
Josh Willingham $1.5 million (arbitration eligible)
Wily Mo Pena $2 million
--total: $13.5 on left fielders (could be more depending on Willingham)
Lastins Milledge $500K
Willie Harris $1.5 million
Corey Patterson (you read that correctly) $500K
--total: $2.5 million on center fielders
Elijah Dukes $500K
Austin Kearns $8 million
--total: $8.5 for right fielders
IF & C:
Nick Johnson, 1B $5.5 million
Dmitri Young, 1B $5 million
Ronnie Belliard, 2B/ 1B $1.9 million
Anderson Hernandez, 2B $500K
Christian Guzman, SS $8 million
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B $500K
Jesus Flores, C $500K
Javier Valentin, C $500K
--total: $22.4 million for this group
Summary: Not all of these position players will initially make the team- Dmitri Young being the most likely candidate to see Triple- A. But his contract is guarenteed so these numbers are pretty accurate and that means... the Nationals are spending $46.9 million on their position players. Absolutely mindboggling. How could a roster be constructed like this? Their defense is awful. Picture Dunn in left, Milledge, a career right fielder in center, and Pena in right. There are better high school outfields. This makes their neglected pitching staff even worse and realistically, the staff should break records... as in "worst E.R.A. of all- time, most HRs allowed in one season, most walks in one season, etc."
9. Nationals fans are trapped in a vicious circle. Their Major League team will lose 100 games. The minor leagues have very little talent from consistently poor drafts and almost no productive foreign scouting. Free agents have to be drastically overpaid to come there. This spiral downwards is hard to break, particularly when there are no signs it will stop. Just as it took seven to eight years to recoup from Bowden's Reign of Terror in Cincinnati, it will take the same in Washington once he is fired. Speaking of Cincinnati...
10. The Reds were terrible when Bowden was in Cincinnati from 1992 to 2003 (except for 1994, 1995 and the lucky year of 1999). The people he employed and trusted made bad decision after bad decision that sent the Reds into the vicious cycle that was just mentioned. So what has Bowden done is his new surroundings in Washington? He brought those same people with him and look where they are now. And just how many people did he bring? Thanks to our Getsportsinfo.com researcher, Todd Cassady, we supply the daunting list of former Reds that have been with the Nationals is some capacity since Bowden took over:
--The total is a staggering 47 former Reds have found their way to Cincinnati East along the Potomac River.
Wily Mo Pena
Rob Mackowiak (drafted by Jim, didn't sign)
Lenny Harris (coach)
Jose Cardenal (coach)
Randy St. Claire (coach)
Darnell Coles (single-A manager)
Jose Rijo (scout)
Bob Boone (Assistant GM)
Bobby Williams (farm director)
Barry Larkin (FO)
Rob Dibble (broadcaster)
Ray Knight (broadcaster)
So Bengal fans are depressed after another inexplicable Mike Brown manuever. They have had 18 years of depression with one exception. I say at least there has been some hope at times. At least, there have been .500 seasons and some talent is build from. Sure, Benglas have made enough stupid moves to write a book (Akili Smith, Dave Klinger, Big Duddy, Chris Henry, etc.), but they also have experienced a lot of bad luck too (David Pollack, Ki-jana Carter, a strong division, etc.). Bowden has disassembled talented teams and kept them down. He has not been unlucky, he has been an idiot. He gets my nod for King Idiot and thank goodness he no longer is employed by the Reds. Which brings me to my final point... how is he employed by the Nationals?