A Break in the Action

PleaseStandBy.jpgI’m off to Toronto for a few days to attend to some family matters. I’ll be back at the ballpark on Sunday and will be blogging and tweeting again at that time. Until then, you’re just going to have to survive without me. One of my fellow dotcomers, Anthony DiComo, will be pinch hitting in my absence. Hopefully the frozen tundra doesn’t serve as a shock to my system after getting accustomed to this lovely Florida weather. Back in a few…

~JB

13 Comments

By Jon Heyman, SI.com

Nationals general manager Jim Bowden says he’s innocent of any wrongdoing.

Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden’s job is in jeopardy, according to people familiar with the situation.

The Nationals are said to be seriously considering firing Bowden in the wake of the Esmailyn Gonzalez debacle. SI.com reported last week that the Nationals prospect who received a $1.4 million signing bonus is not actually a 19-year-old named Esmailyn Gonzalez but rather a 23-year-old named Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo, a major embarrassment to the Nationals organization.

According to the SI.com report, Bowden pressed his bosses to sign Gonzalez, whose next best offer was $700,000 from the Texas Rangers. Nationals executive Jose Rijo, the former pitcher and a longtime associate of Bowden’s, has taken a leave of absence in connection to the case. Rijo reportedly recommended the Gonzalez/Lugo signing.

Rijo and Bowden are being looked at by MLB investigators in the scout skimming scandal. But whether or not Bowden is implicated in that scandal, the Gonzalez/Lugo signing is a fiasco for Washington, which has been mired with troubles under Bowden’s leadership.

It isn’t known who might take over should Bowden be let go. Baseball Prospectus also reported that Bowden could be at risk.

Nationals president Stan Kasten could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

**So Bowden pays him double what the next best offer is. I wonder how much the kid actually got. In this release it’s stated MLB investigators are looking into the case, in previous ones “the feds” were. If it’s MLB, I’d expect they sweep it under the rug like roids, if it’s the fed this is not going away anytime soon.

Congratulations to Travis Snider who hit the Jays first HR of the year in the 5th inning today.

Hope all is well Jordan and you may find this out before you read this but it’s actually warm this weekend :).

JB
It’s be great, if you could give us a bit of an overview on Cecil, Romero Mill’s and any other young pitcher who is impressing. Particulary Mills who just went two innings today and only gave up one run. About all I can find about him is he has a very deceptive delivery. It’d be great to know what they have in their arsenal, how fast they bring it and what their strentghs and weaknesses are.

Well so much for the warm weather.

I second what GS has to say about the young arms on this team it would be great to know.

Nice to see the young arms doing well.I know it’s early and they will have bumps along the way.It must be encouraging for Doc to see the future of this rotation looks strong.All that talk this week of trading Doc although interesting to see what they’d get would be wrong at this point.He loves Toronto but wants to pitch in the postseason.Watching these young guys come up and do well must make him feel good about where the club is going.Lots of upside and with someone like Doc as a role model for pitching and work ethic,these kids may come along faster than anyone expects.

It’s a balmy 10F today…temperature dropped about 25 degrees over night. At least a whole lot of snow melted. Hope all goes well at home for you.
Canuck

Is Marcum recovering well? It would be nice to let Doc have a shot at the post season without being traded, but the Jays are in a very tough division. Anyone know if they are still wearing retro blue for Friday home games again this year?
Canuck

Overall – Brad Mills profiles as a No. 5 Starter or Middle Reliever. His control and velocity are above average, and his fastball is a plus pitch. Both of his curveball and his changeup are only average pitches so he might need to develop another off speed pitch to use as a strikeout pitch.

Average – N/A
Fastball – Mills’ fastball is an above average pitch, usually clocking around 92 mph. It has a little bit of movement so that’s one thing he might want to work on so he progresses farther.

Field – N/A
Curveball – Mills’ curveball isn’t anything great. It clocks in the mid 70s and has good spin, which gives it a nice, sharp break. It’d be nice to see Mills add a little more velocity to his curveball and use it as a strikeout pitch.

Speed – N/A
Changeup – Mills has your major league average changeup. There isn’t much to say about it other than it consistently clocks in the mid 70s. Mills’ changeup has been hit hard throughout his college career and he should start locating it in the strikezone better.

Arm – N/A
Control – Mills has plus control on all of his pitches, other than his changeup. If he wants to excel in the majors he should really work on developing some control over his changeup or else he won’t make it far in Baseball.

Power – N/A
Velocity – Mills has good, solid velocity on his fastball, which clocks in the low 90s, topping out at 95 mph. His curveball and changeup just have average velocity, which makes his changeup even more hittable.

From Bluejaybanter.com

Brett Cecil -Scouting Report

Fastball – sits at 91 or 92, getting to as high as 94. A heavy pitch that induces a lot of ground balls. He also has a four-seamer.
Slider – sharp biting mid-80?s pitch that is very tough on left handers. He can get it to act more like a cutter when he throws it with a higher velocity.
Curveball – slower of the two breaking pitches, not much more than a show-me pitch
Change-Up – another still developing pitch that he?s improved on over the past year?didn?t need it as a reliever at Maryland, so he hasn?t been throwing the pitch very long?should improve with experience

Cecil is still working to build up his endurance as a starter. He rarely made it into the 6th inning last year and when he did, the quality of his stuff would dip slightly. He?s shown the ability to get out both left handed and right handed pitchers and works well from both the stretch and wind-up.

Apparently, the Jays have worked with Cecil to better hide throughout his delivery and make his release point harder to pick up (Source: Baseball America).
From a peripheral standpoint, Cecil combines the ability to miss bats and generate ground balls with solid control. You really can?t ask for much else.

Best Case Outcome – Strong No. 3 starter?depending on the defense behind him, you could see his numbers play up to No. 2 starter level. More Likely Outcome – Borderline No. 3 or strong No. 4 starter

An interesting blog which provides an overview of Jays prospects at each level.
http://mvn.com/thesouthpaw/2008/11/08/the-ever-popular-top-prospect-list.html

J.P. Ricciardi is MLB?s Worst General Manager
Published by Chris Melito

Tyler Hissey recently wrote a very good article on the poor work of Jim Bowden and his General Managing of the Washington Nationals. While I agree with Tyler that Bowden has made some tremendously bad choices, he is not the worst GM in the league. I would also say that Bowden is setting himself up to be as bad a General Manager as the man I would put on the top of the list, J.P. Ricciardi.

Thomas Wayne followed up Hissey?s article by compiling a list of the five worst GMs in MLB from a number of Dugout Central regular writers. I noticed that J.P. Ricciardi did appear on some people?s lists, but I thought not nearly enough.

So, why is J.P. Ricciardi the worst GM in baseball?

http://www.dugoutcentral.com/blog/?p=2276

VIERA, Fla. — Jim Bowden resigned Sunday after four seasons as the Washington Nationals general manager, leaving under the cloud of a federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses given to Latin American prospects.
He has maintained his innocence in the matter, but said Sunday, “I’ve become a distraction.” No replacement was immediately announced.
Bowden is the only GM the Nationals have had since the franchise moved from Montreal to Washington before the 2005 season, overseeing a team that went 81-81 in that debut season but has been below .500 ever since. Last season, the Nationals were a majors-worst 59-102.

His tenure with the club was marked by such moves as the trade for Alfonso Soriano, the failure to re-sign Soriano, free-agent busts such as Paul Lo Duca and reclamation projects such as Dmitri Young.

Bowden also drew unwanted off-field attention, including in 2006, when he was charged with driving under the influence after failing a field sobriety test while in Miami.

“Like anyone else, I have made mistakes in all areas of my personal and professional life, but I leave here with the true belief that I have done nothing intentionally to harm the Washington Nationals or Major League Baseball,” Bowden said in a statement released by the team Sunday.

He met last year with FBI investigators looking into allegations of skimming of signing bonuses and it was reported last weekend by SI.com that Bowden’s actions are being looked at as far back as 1994, when he was GM of the Cincinnati Reds.

“I am disappointed by the media reports regarding investigations into any of my professional activities,” Bowden said in his statement. “There have been no charges made, and there has been no indication that parties have found any wrongdoing on my part.”

Bowden’s resignation came two days after Jose Rijo, a special assistant to Bowden, was fired by the Nationals.

That was fallout from a Major League Baseball investigation that determined a top baseball prospect from the Dominican Republic who received a $1.4 million signing bonus from the Nationals lied about his age and name.

“We all believe it is imperative that we honor the integrity of the game and that fans be able to concentrate their attention and affections on the game and players on the field,” Nationals president Stan Kasten said. “Jim has maintained his innocence, but recognized that he had become a distraction, and with great grace determined to do what was best for the team and his players.”

**This is only the tip of the iceberg on this scam. I’m sure if Bowden felt no charges were imminent, he wouldn’t have resigned. The feeble attempt of spin and cover up by the Nationals, as instructed by MLB, in their firing of Rijo, their abrupt change of DL training facilities and staff along with Bowden’s resignation won’t hold any water with the FBI.

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