Amid bonus-skimming scandals that is being investigated by the FBI, a prospect age debacle that claimed the job of one of his assistants, and a pretty ugly track record that has the Nats poised for their fourth losing season in five years of existence, general manager Jim Bowden resigned Sunday morning.
There's no real indication as to whether the Nationals gave him a chance to step down before they took care of things themselves or whether the resignation is of his own volition. It was obvious when rumors started swirling late last week about the Nats getting permission to talk to Blue Jays' assistant GM Tony LaCava for an unknown reason that it was just a matter of time before Bowden was out.
His words, courtesy of the Washington Post:
"It is an emotional decision that saddens me, but one that I feel is in the best interests of the two things I love most -- baseball and the Washington Nationals," Bowden said at a hastily called news conference at Space Coast Stadium, the Nationals' spring training site.Bowden goes on to continue denying the allegations against him and blame the media for making this whole situation worse than it really is. I guess that part of the story will bear itself out.
"I've become a distraction, and unless you're [unsigned free agent] Manny Ramirez there's no place for distractions in baseball," he said. "I want to be able to turn the page, and I want this franchise to be able to have everybody from the media and the fans focus on what the game is about. It's about players. It's about what happens on the field."
Notably, the Post story doesn't even mention LaCava or the names of any potential successors to Bowden. They're likely going to work quickly, given the proximity to the season's start. The key to the LaCava rumors were that Bud Selig would waive the minority interview requirement, given the extenuating circumstaces created by the investigation into Bowden's involvement in the bonus-skimming scandal investigation. The World Baseball Classic gives them a bit of a cushion before the season starts, but they're still going to have to move pretty quickly.