Posts Tagged ‘Sleaze’

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Bowden Discussing Nationals’ Strasburg Strategy

May 1, 2009

I’m sure those of you who followed Jim Bowden’s incompetent reign as GM of the Nationals and his firing this winter for a combination of inept management and possible corruption won’t see this much of a surprise, but I was dumbstruck when I saw this post on Jim Callis’ blog at Baseball America.

In an on-air appearance on LA radio, Bowden says that the Nationals have already decided on drafting Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego State pitcher is already considered the near unanimous choice for the first pick in this year’s draft. His incredible performance (fastball at 98-99, over a strikeout an inning, ERA way under 1.00) have scouts drooling, and with Scott Boras as his agent, the bonus demands are sure to be high. He will probably shatter the record for a draft signing bonus based on the combination of hype, performance, polish, and the lack of talent following him in a weak draft class.

Bowden is making the situation much worse for the Nats by telling the public that the team is dead-set on getting Strasburg. His comments:

“That is who they are going to take . . . This is the best amateur pitcher since I was born. He is that good–his delivery, his stuff, 100 miles an hour in the eighth inning, his makeup. He’s got the entire package . . . Strasburg is going to be drafted by Washington. You think they are going to sign him early? No, it’s going to be Aug. 15 at 11:57 p.m. It will end at around $15 million, about under $35 million of what Scott wants, but that is where it ends up. It will be record-breaking, and he will be pitching in the big leagues in September. He is that good.”

This has to violate some kind of non-disclosure agreement. Bowden is undermining the Nationals’ bargaining position by 1) establishing Strasburg as the clear choice of the Nationals and 2) telling the expected terms of the signing. This kind of stuff is going to be used by Boras against the Nationals in negotiations. Boras will be able to use what would have been the Nationals’ final offer as his initial barganing position. Even if Bowden is not violating some prior agreement not to divulge internal details from the Nationals’ baseball operations department, this is a serious breach of professional ettiquette. How could another owner ever hire Bowden to be a GM or special assistant to the GM if this is the way he acts on the way out the door?

If I were the Lerner family, I’d be assembling a group of lawyers to sue Bowden immediately.

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