Trudging to Left
Vowel-challenged Barry Svrluga reports that Soriano will play left field tonight for the Nats. Apparently, his one-on-one meeting with Frank Robinson went well enough to convince him to pick up an oversized glove and shag flies.
He, of course, took infield at second base today.
So the three-week period for resolving the Soriano situation has come and gone, and Soriano has apparently blinked.
Of course, Jim Bowden will tell you that he knew it all along. In an excellent, excellent article written by consonant-challenged Dave Sheinin today, Bowden admitted - and this made me take the Lord's name in vain at the morning breakfast table - that he knew that Soriano would not move to left field. Sheinin reports:
Before the Nationals would give their final approval to the deal, Vice President-General Manager Jim Bowden phoned the suite of his Texas counterparts with one final request: Would the Rangers grant Bowden permission to speak to
Soriano first, so that the Nationals could gauge his willingness to move to left field?
The Rangers, who had the power to grant or deny permission because Soriano was still under their control, said no, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of the request who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the negotiations were private.
"We certainly looked at [the Rangers' denial of permission] as a factor," Bowden said recently. "We took it [to mean that] if we talked to the player . . . [the Rangers felt] that the player would say no [to changing positions] and the deal would be killed."
However, as late afternoon turned to evening on Dec. 7, Bowden told the rest of the Nationals' contingent that he wanted to go ahead with the trade.
Now, we have been critical of the Soriano trade in this space before. But our assumptions were always that Bowden was willfully ignorant in thinking that Soriano would move to left field. That he just chose to ignore prior reports that Soriano wouldn't move for the Yankees or the Rangers. That he thought his power of persuasion would be better. We were wrong. Bowden was simply willful in screwing up this trade. He knew Soriano would refuse to play left. He knew he was creating a disaster - and giving up Brad Wilkerson to get that disaster.
His excuse? Frank Robinson is tough:
At one point, according to a person with firsthand knowledge of the internal discussions, Bowden told Robinson, "You can handle it."
Great. You know how Frank can handle it? He can bench him. Beyond that, there isn't much he can do. Which means you've traded Brad Wilkerson for the obligation to write a check to Soriano on the 15th and the 30th. Nice.
Folks, this is beyond us needing to demand that Jim Bowden to be fired. This is us needing to demand that Bowden to be fired with cause (i.e., no pay, Jimmy). This is us needing to demand that Bowden should never work in baseball again. He's too much of a threat. This is us needing to demand that Bowden be expunged.
As far as I know, expungejimbowden.com is available.