Earlier I said if Nationals GM Jim Bowden didn't get rid of Soriano for some good prospects he should be fired. Well...I'm calling for his head. Reports indicate that his asking price with Soriano was way too high. Two prospects and a major league ready player is just way too much to ask a team to give up for a guy who isn't a superstar.
Then in July 2007, I was again calling for his head, sort of:
Although they've played well, the Nats still sit 15 games under .500 at this moment. They are still a losing team, so why is Bowden committing money to players who aren't part of the solution? He should be actively shopping players like Belliard and Young, just like he should have traded Soriano last year. ... I said it last year at this time and I'll say it again: I hope Bowden knows what he's doing. He's gotten a free pass so far, but if the results don't start showing up soon, his time could very well run out a lot quicker than you would think.
My emotions came to a head in August 2008, as the Nats were stumbling to the worst record in baseball:
To me, the success of this team is dependant on Bowden getting fired. The Washington Nationals franchise has for the most part stayed in neutral since it came into existance, and it is about time things got shook up. This is the perfect confluence of poor on the field personnel decisions combining with shaky off the field mistakes.
Well it took them almost three years, but after accumulating a record of 284-363 and finishing no better than fourth in the NL East over four seasons, the Nationals did what I suggested over three years ago. Now you can say 'Oh well it's always easy to naysay in hindsight, but seriously, the dude gave the Nats more than enough chances to fire him and they didn't.
Tom Boswell has been all over this thing for the Washington Post, and I think he summed the Bowden era up nicely in his latest column:
The three vital qualities in an executive, it's said, are energy, brains and character. The third is most important because, without it, the first two virtues turn into vices. For years, the Nationals, especially the Lerner family, focused on the first two qualities, which Bowden had in spades, and which the team desperately needed. Now, in the wake of Bowden's resignation, the veil may be falling from everybody's eyes. A general manager is supposed to solve problems, not create them; be the adult, not the child; bring people together, not divide them; and focus his energy, not spew it.
So now that the Jim Bowden death march has reached its thrilling (at least for me) end, I turn my attention to the next Washington, D.C. area GM that I want out the door. And frankly, I've got my options here. Ernie Grunfeld just signed a player with three knee surgeries in two years and hasn't played this season to an absurd $113 million contract. Oh yeah, the team he has concocted is also duking it out for the worst record in the NBA. Up until yesterday, I probably wouldn't have mentioned Caps GM George McPhee here, but after forming one helluva young and talented hockey team, he failed to capitalize (no pun intended) and add someone (or more like anyone) who can play defense at the trading deadline so the team could realistically make a Stanley Cup FInals run.
That leaves me with Redskins GM Vinny Cerrato, who aside from being Skins owner Dan Snyder's resident bufoon and squash partner, said this back in December:
You're better off getting the young, healthy guys in the draft and continue to grow and build so you have a solid foundation that you can put together for a long time. What you want to do, you want to keep building with young guys, so then you can continue to grow for a long time, not just sign a band-aid, make the playoffs for one year....Let's continue to build so you can be solid for a long time, that's what we want to do, continue to grow, develop, build through the draft, add free agents when you have to. Developing the young guys is the main thing, especially with the salary cap.
Ummm ... well ... a week into free agency, this doesn't seem to be the case. Now I realize Snyder makes most of the ultimate decisions with this franchise and that's likely not going to change for quite some time, but at least we can maybe get someone other than the ultimate yes man in his ear.Seriously, these two are borderline maniacal. I'm shocked Redskins One (you know, the team's private jet) hasn't taken off for Mr. Owens place of residence already. It makes sense, the Skins need a wide receiver and Snyder likes making a splash. I was listening to some sports talk radio this morning, and they were already taking bets on whether Snyder and Cerrato would be holding a press conference this afternoon.
Thank God the Post is reporting this right now:
From what we're hearing, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, quickly decided that signing controversial Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens simply wasn't worth the risk.
Stay tuned, though, the Fire Vinny Death Brigade has only just begun. This could get fun.