Nationals general manager Jim Bowden has resigned in the midst of a scandal about skimming bonuses from Latin American prospects:
"My resignation is based upon my realization that my ability to properly represent the Washington Nationals has been compromised because of false allegations contained in the press," Bowden said in a statement. "I am disappointed by the media reports regarding investigations into any of my professional activities. There have been no charges made, and there has been no indication that parties have found any wrongdoing on my part.
"At the same time, while I have done nothing wrong, I place a greater value on the love, respect and best interests of my family, friends, the game of baseball -- that I've served lovingly and faithfully for close to 25 years -- and, the reputation and future of the Washington Nationals, which I'm proud to have been a part of since its inception in 2004."
The Nats lost 102 games in 2008, and that's not good for a GM who had been on the job for four years, even considering the mess he inherited from Montreal. He also got arrested for DUI in 2006, and he currently finds himself in the midst of the bonus-skimming scandal, which has already cost Nats special assistant Jose Rijo his job. Also, it recently was revealed that the cornerstone signing of the Nats' Latin American development system, Esmaliyn Gonzalez a.k.a. Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo, was four years older than he told the team.
For all that, Bowden wasn't an unambiguously horrible GM, and as I wrote a few weeks ago, there's a lot the Pirates can learn from him. He did a nice job turning veterans into young talent, and he and the Nats' scouting department had an amazing draft in 2007. The team seemed to lose the plot this year, perhaps in part because of the scandal, and set themselves back by neglecting their Latin American operations and failing to sign 2008 first-rounder Aaron Crow. For a while, though, the Nats looked like they were headed in the right direction.