Is there really any point in Jim Bowden travelling to Palm Springs for the general mangers' meetings next week? Is there a single move of consequence that can be made at this point? Bowden will continue to be handcuffed until a new owner is in place. Throw out last week's Castilla-for-Lawrence trade: the only reason he was able to get it done is because it was a financial wash for the team. Bowden has told the coaching staff that they should seek employment elsewhere; there are no guarantees.
According to Saturday's Washington Post, two full days of wrangling between MLB officials and the District over the Nationals stadium lease yielded no agreement. MLB officials are still standing by their position that they will not pick a new owner for the team until the lease is finalized. Earlier in the week, the grandstanding and foolishness of the DC City Council reached yet another low as Ward 5 council member Vincent Orange sued council chairman Linda Cropp after Cropp rendered a meeting of the Government Operations Committee to be not a part of the council's official stadium record. Cropp also reportedly turned off the PA system and the heat in the meeting room being used by Orange.
- Political connections? Check. Local ties? Check. Ability to write a big, fat check with a lot of zeros tacked onto the end? Check. Ability to survive a plane crash in 1973? Check. Ability to wiggle out of numerous financial disasters with the deftness of Houdini? Check. Ladies and gentlemen of the District, meet Franklin Haney. He'd like to be the next owner of your Nationals, and he has even offered to pay up to $200 million in cost overruns on the new stadium out of his own pocket. So why isn't he considered one of the front runners for owning the team? In its ongoing series profiling the contenders and pretenders in the race to own the Nats, the Washington Post put the spotlight on Haney in today's edition, and also dedicated a few column inches to the other also-rans. Earlier in the week, the spotlight was on the Big Three: Smulyan. Malek/Zients. Lerner. As reported in the Nationals Enquirer earlier in the week, Bud Selig has already picked his man: Smulyan. The announcement, which reportedly could be made at a meeting of team owners Nov. 16th-17th, continues to be delayed in part because of the unsettled lease agreement for the new stadium.
- The one that got away? Thom Loverro of the Washington Times pounds sand over the fact that Pat Gillick signed on with Philly to be their GM, going as far to refer to him as one of "the two best GMs of their time." Loverro goes on to bash the trendy wave of "prep school boy" GMs: naming Epstein (ex-BOS), Byrnes (AZ), and Daniels (TX) as the demon spawn of a stats-heavy new age of
front office management.
- MLB.com checks in on the performance of a half dozen Nats prospects in the Nats Arizona Fall League last week.