Sunday, July 02, 2006

What is Said, What is not Said

Let's take a look at what Stan Kasten and others said about Jim Bowden Friday, and what they did not say.

What They Said

"Jim is very smart. By smart, I mean analytical."

This distinguishes Bowden from the guys who sell DeezNats t-shirts, Phillies fans and Bob Boone, but not any of the other 30 GMs or better candidates for the job.

"I also think he's very resourceful. . . . And right now, as we're building this -- needing to speed the process up as quickly as we can, needing to shave any unnecessary steps -- I need someone resourceful. I think Jim is really good at that."

This describes a candidate who would be good when "resources" are limited. What does that say about our new owners approach to the club? This is usually said in reference to Bowden's time with the miserly Marge Schott, who once gave her staff "Welcome to the 1990 World Series" chocolates on Opening Day 1996. Is Lerner thinking "If it worked for Marge ..."?

"He established a relationship with the winning group very early on. He was very smart about that, and he showed them how hard he worked at this"

He's very good at sucking up. How many people do you know who are good at sucking up are also good at their substantive job? Aren't they mutually exclusive?

"It's time for this franchise to have some stability," Tavares said. "This is a good step in that direction. You've got somebody who's smart, somebody with a plan, somebody who's been involved with building things here, who's going to keep it going in the right direction."

The right direction? Since July 2005, we've been heading for the bottom of the National League. Perhaps he's talking about keeping player salaries low.

What Was Not Said

He has a proven track record of success.

He has the respect of the other General Managers in the league.

He is expert at spotting and developing baseball talent.

He knows how to negotiate with player agents.

He is good at running an organization, and his employees respect him and would move mountains for him

Back in May, I asked what exactly did the Lerners buy with their $450 million, and pointed out that it was part of MLB's monopoly, not the on-field success of the Nats, which is economically rather low on their priority lists. This decision provide further evidence of that assertion.


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