(Washington GM Jim Bowden, still waiting for that knockout offer for Alfonso Soriano)

A four-part series on the state of the (allegedly) cash-strapped Washington Nationals
ran this week at Fox Sports courtesy of Ken Rosenthal. Nats bloggers supreme Basil of Federal Baseball took no small exception to Rosenthal’s assertions, though not challenging one of the more damning points (“the problem, according to his critics, is Jim Bowden’s unpredictable nature. He can be kind and loyal one moment, impulsive and threatening the next.”)

I am not convinced the situation is as dire as Rosenthal’s article portrays. While the balking over relatively insignificant expenditures seems ridiculous from my vantage point, the thrust of the article conveys to me that the team’s organizational structure was in complete disarray prior to the changeover from the MLB regime to the Lernasten regime. It does not seem like the new regime has adequately handled these problems (something Bowden tacitly admits in the article, it seems), which is both curious and disappointing.

However, as inexcusable as it may be to short-change your own scouts (a charge leveled and, again, tacitly admitted), this problem seems to me one of structure rather than disposition. It is utterly illogical to make a big to-do about signing a small army of scouts and then hold out on them. I think more of Stan Kasten’s intelligence than that. Rather, it seems to me Kasten and the rest jumped on the big, visible issues (gussy up the new stadium, make a show in the scouting and player development areas, etc.) while neglecting to implement the proper controls to ensure day-to-day operations flowed properly. If this is stupidity, then stupidity can be fixed.

Like Basil, I don’t pretend to know the real scoop. But even if only half of Rosenthal’s charges held water, there’s been some crazy nickel and diming taking places under the auspices of what is supposedly a big league franchise.