Jim Bowden has a weird mind. First of all, it’s obvious that he was the former GM of the Red because well, half of all the players he acquires are former Reds. Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Aaron Boone, Felipe Lopez, Ryan Wagner are all former Reds and now in Washington.
One thing, I have noticed about Jim Bowden is that he plays favorites. I usually don’t like saying things like that but I’m not stupid. I know that Brandon Watson, Ryan Church, and Chris Schroder didn’t get the same treatment as Felipe Lopez, Wily Mo Pena and Jesus Colome. Brandon Watson was named the starter in spring training of 2006. After nine games, he was sent down. Not only did the Nationals ultimately let him go, but then preceded to come back to Nationals and have the longest hit streak in the history of the International League(AAA), and what to the Nats do? The Nats call him up for four days, and after hitting .275 and having the best game of his life he gets demoted. Well of course, his self-confidence shattered, he struggled the rest of the year in AAA. He must have thought “what do I have to do? I broke a hit streak record that lasted 83 years, I have the best game of my life, where I basically won the game for them and then after four games, I’m back in Columbus and guys like Nook Logan, Preston Wilson and Marlon Byrd are playing in the majors?!” Seriously, Watson was in his prime right then and there, and Nook Logan is starting for the Nationals? Just n case you are wondering, Watson is currently in the Phillies organization repeating Triple-A for the fourth time. In his first season he hit .293. As of now, he’s hitting .300. That’s fair.
Ryan Church is the next player, Bowden had a grudge against. For the three years Church was with Washington, Bowden consistently acquired so-so outfielders and they would play ahead of Church. Byrd, Logan, Kearns(who’s good), Pena, and Marlon Anderson, Marlon Anderson. It truly was ridiculous. I mean of course, more people know about Church because of the trade and the good season this year, but Church was good in Washington as well, but for some reason, he was never the bona fide starter. The thing with Church was that he could play everywhere in the outfield, at a high level. In 2005, Church was 26, and played in 106 games. He had .353 .OBP and hit 9 homers in 268 AB’s. In 2006, at 27, he was informed that he would start the season in the minors, and that Marlon Byrd, and Marlon Anderson had made the team. Well, he got the call back up, but only played in 71 games. He didn’t start, but still hit 10 homers in 196 at bats. That translates to about 30 homers a season. Oh yeah, he had .366 OBP in 06. In 2007, it looked like it was finally Church’s year. He was 28, in his prime but well, in the Nationals mind, he still wasn’t as good as Kory Casto, who had never played a game above AA, and had only played left field that Spring Training. After 16 games of horribility, Casto was in AAA, and guess what? Church was starting! Yes, it was true. I kid you not. But hold on, this is a dream isn’t it. Surely, the Nationals are not going to let Church play almost an entire season. Then the trading deadline came strolling along, and well……no deal! Church was still starting, and I started thinking “Is this to good to be true?”
It was. On August 17th, after the trading deadline, Bowden announced he acquired Wily Mo Pena. And yes, Pena would be the starting left fielder, an yes, Logan (0 HR .310 OBP) would remain the starter in center. Outrageous.
The third player, Bowden seems to have a grudge against who is still in the organization, is Chris Schroder. Schroder made his ML debut in 2006 at the age of 28. For the most part he struggled. I happened to attend the best game of his career at that point. He went 2.0 innings and struck out every batter. But overall, he wasn’t very good, a 6.35 ERA backs that point up. But they really did the right thing by calling him up because he was mowing down hitters at AAA, and was considered a valuable strikeout pitcher. Something that the Nationals needed at that point. He had a 1.52 ERA in AAA, so there was an urge to see what he could do in the majors. Going into 2007, Schroder started in AAA, but after recording a 1.62 ERA there he was back in the majors. After that call-up, Schroder became one of the best relievers on the team, with a 3.18 ERA in 37 appearances. Schroder made the club out of spring training as expected. But after only two games, with the Nationals, they sent him down. Why? I have no idea. Here is how he did in those two games…..
IP H ER BB SO
4/4 @STL 1 1 0 0 0
4/7 vs. FLA 1.2 1 1 1 1
So a guy, who had a 3.17 ERA in 37 games last year gets called down after those two games? Weeiirrdd. So after having an ERA below 2, in Columbus , Schroder finally gets called back up. I’m thinking – “OK, that was really weird but he’s back up now.”. After ONE game, ONE, he goes back down. What did he do that game? 1 and a third innings, 1 hit, one walk, NO RUNS. What?!?!. In case, you’re wondering some of the guys that are getting called up when Schroder gets called down, here they are – Brian Sanches, Charlie Manning, Steven Shell, and Ray King. OK, so Manning is left handed, so there is a reason, but King was an ineffective as a lefty specialist, and Sanches, well, I don’t even know what Bowden was thinking. Shell was good, but why not Schroder? I just don’t get it. So when Schroder was called up again, I didn’t know what to think. Nine days after his last appearance, Schroder came in against the Phillies, and didn’t that well. HE gave up two runs in one inning, but when I heard he was getting called down again, it was obvious Bowden has something against him.
If Luis Ayala (I love Luis, I’m just proving a point), if Ayala had done the exact same thing as Schroder, he would still be up. In fact, Ayala has been much worse than Schroder
did, but he’s in Washington, and Schroder is in Columbus. Ayala has 5.40 ERA, but since Bowden likes him, Ayala shouldn’t worry. Jesus Colome has been even worse, with a 5.71 ERA, but Colome has been in the majors the whole season. It’s unfair. Schroder is younger than Colome, too.
Perhaps the player, Bowden loves the most is Wily Mo Pena. These are Pena’s numbers:
G AB H .OBP HR RBI SB BB SO
62 186 39 .249 2 10 0 10 47
The only way to describe those stats is horrible. Horrid, ugly, pitiful, BAD. Pena has .222 OBP the past ten games with only on RBI. Yeesh. Why is Mike Daniel not starting left field for the Nationals? In AA Harrisburg, these are his numbers:
G AB H .OBP HR RBI SB BB SO
84 311 91 .369 8 38 13 34 75
But, as I said before, Pena shouldn’t worry that much because as long as Bowden is the GM of the Nats, he’ll have far more time and opportunities to “prove himself”. I don’t know, Pena been playing in the majors for seven years. It seems silly to still try to let somebody “prove himself, who’s been playing that long. Yes, I’m aware about Pena’s age. He’s 26, which is not necessarily, the cutoff point for breakout years, but seriously, Pena is a home run hitter who has only hit 2 home runs. Oh yes, and a .245 OBP.
Bowden plays favorites. It’s obvious. He likes Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, Felipe Lopez, Ryan Wagner, Luis Ayala, and Jesus Colome. He has grudges against Chris Schroder, Ryan Church and Brandon Watson. If Bowden could just be honest with himself, Mike Daniel (pictured right in the snazzy pink jersey) would be starting left field for the Nats, and Wily Mo Pena would be a Clipper. Jesus Colome would be released or sent down, and Chris Schroder would be the seventh inning set-up man. Felipe Lopez would be traded for some low-level prospects. Perhaps, the Orioles, or Dodgers would be possible future destinations.
Well, I’ll be talking about the Giants next time, I’m pretty sure….. Oh, and with two big trades just occurring. I’ll quickly run through them. The Sabathia trade, I say makes very good sense for both teams. I think the Brewers are good enough to make the playoffs, and LaPorta will be very good. I’m guessing the PTBNL will be Taylor Green, who will challenge Wes Hodges for the title of “Indians 3B of the future”
The Harden deal, looks to be better for the Cubs, but I’m always cautious to question Billy Beane (he has messed up before[Tim Hudson deal]. I think the best player the A’s acquired
from the Cubs is actually Eric Patterson. He’s seriously underrated. But where will he play? He’s blocked by Mark Ellis, Travis Buck and Carlos Gonzalez. ?????? I’ll leave you with two theoretical trades: Jack Wilson to the Dodgers for Ivan DeJesus Jr, Felipe Lopez to Orioles for Sean Gleason.