|Bowden Faces Tough Challenge||| Print ||
Written by Robert Democh (Contact & Archive) on March 04, 2009
Grim disbelief.Â Thatâ€™s how players and staff of the Washington Nationals greeted the surprising news that GM Jim Bowden had resigned.Â He tendered his resignation March 1, less than a week after Sports Illustrated published a report about an FBI probe examining MLB scouting practices in Latin America.Â Part of the investigation focused on allegations that signing bonuses for top prospects were being skimmed, with Bowden implicated in the scheme.
Photo by Chris Creamer / SportsLogos.net.
It was at Rijo's Dominican academy that the Nationals courted a player introduced as Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez.Â The Dominican prospect received a $1.4 million signing bonus in 2006, when the Nationals thought they were signing a 16-year-old shortstop.Â However, a subsequent MLB investigation determined Gonzalez was born in November 1985, not September 1989.Â It was also discovered his real name was Carlos David Alvarez Lugo.
Kasten signaled his intentions.Â "We needed to completely overhaul our Dominican program, cut ties with the way we've been doing it before, with the way it has been done since the team got here from Montreal, and just completely change personnel and facilities, everything," he told ESPN.com.
Bowden was the only GM in Nats history, having accompanied the franchise south from Montreal at the end of the 2004 season.Â Washingtonâ€™s quest for a winning season continues, its best showing being an 81-81 mark in 2005.Â Bowden burst on the scene in 1992 when the Reds made the 31-year-old the youngest GM in major league history.Â Within three years of his hiring, Cincinnati advanced to the NL Championship Series.