Wednesday, June 25, 2008

JimBo chat transcript

Here's the 6/24/08 Jim Bowden Chat Transcript

Shockingly, he didn't take any of my questions. However, I've annotated the transcript with what I would have said, had I been allowed to cross-examine the witness. (Throughout, he's id-ed as "nats_guest." Perhaps a Freudian slip indicating that he's not staying around much longer??) Here it is:

metsrule8: 11:11 am Do You Regret Tradeing Ryan Church?

FJB: Ok, first of all, WTF you take the first question from "metsrule8"?

nats_guest: 11:13 am No. We think Lastings Milledge will continue to develop into an outstanding player. When we made the trade, we said publicly that the Mets would have the benefit in the short-term but we would have the long-term benefit. I think the best way to judge this trade is in five years when Milledge is 28, Church is 34 and Schneider will be 36.

FJB: That is, if you can resist the temptation of flipping Milledge for a short-term rental of Adam Dunn just before his contract comes up next summer.

mdcityfan: 11:15 am Jim, you don't have the luxury of having a $90 - $100 million payroll. Do you and the scouts feel more pressure in finding talent with the resources you have?

nats_guest: 11:15 am It is obviously more challenging and more rewarding.

FJB: Um, why does not having a 100m payroll making scouting more challenging?

the_lucas: 11:16 am How close are you to signing Aaron Crow?

nats_guest: 11:18 am Negotiations have been dissapointing to-date. We were hoping that he would sign quickly, as did Ryan Zimmerman, Ross Detwiler and Chris Marrero. In my opinion, Aaron is missing out by not signing because he is one of the rare drafts, like Ryan Zimmerman, that can reach the Major Leagues quickly.

FJB: And Nationals fans are missing the chance to have you start his arb clock one year early to pointlessly play him in the bigs in Sept., a la Zimmerman in 05. Aaron--hurry up and sign so that we get to lose you to FA even faster and miss even more of your prime years!

wilnieves: 11:19 am Do you expect Zimmerman to return after the All-Star break? What about Nick Johnson? Do you think they will be able to turn the team around when they come back?

nats_guest: 11:21 am Ryan Zimmerman is making progress and is expected to start swinging the bat again on July 1. We will make a decision at the All-Star break if his shoulder is healthy enough to play or if he has an operation. Nick Johnson was operated on this morning at the Mayo Clinic. He is expected to be out for the season.

FJB: Well, that is terrible news, and bad luck. Can't blame you. But geez it does seem like Maicer Izturis might be a handy guy to have on hand right about now, doesn't it?

wilnieves: 11:21 am My current record as a game attending fan is 5-1 (including Dukes' walk-off home-run, Zimmerman's opening night miracle, and the 14-inning marathon last week). Can you give me a spot in the dugout?

nats_guest: 11:23 am We'd love you to attend more games... especially with that win-loss record. Although we cannot give you a seat in the dugout, you can purchase Presidents Club seats and observe our players up-close from your perch above the indoor private batting cages. Call 202.675.NATS for tickets.

FJB: We'd rather watch from a distance, actually. Doesn't look quite as bad from a ways away. If you reeeeeeeally look from a distance, all the little people look like ants and you can hardly tell that we're getting massacred at all!

wilnieves: 11:24 am What about Dukes' attitude? Is he fitting in well with the clubhouse? Is Dimtri providing a good role model for him?

nats_guest: 11:25 am Elijah has been well-received by his teammates and is fitting in well. Dmitri Young, Austin Kearns, Willie Harris and Lastings Milledge have been good influences on him.

FJB: I'm not saying anything bad about Elijah. This was a good move, and I'm rooting for the guy. The move isn't enough to rectify being on pace for 100 losses in the 4th year of your regime, but this one made sense.

itsmeMark: 11:25 am Jim, what grade would you give yourself for the team that you've put together? The Kearns/Lopez deal with the Reds looked good at the time, now those two are struggling...

nats_guest: 11:26 am I would give an A to the Farm System and scouting and a D to the Major League club and it's been difficult for all of to show the patience of waiting for our A-work to get to the Major Leagues to improve that grade.

FJB: What grade would you give your work with the farm system and scouting in 2005-06, when we should have been stockpiling the talent that would be helping us now?

natsfan4evr: 11:27 am What is the future for Luke Montz? Jesus Flores looks to have the catcher spot under control for quite some time. Are there plans to have him play another position?

nats_guest: 11:28 am Jesus Flores is presently our future catcher. Luke Montz will be given an opportunity next year to compete for the backup job. We have been impressed with his development both offensively and defensively.

FJB: "Jesus Flores is presently our future catcher." Wow. I had to read that twice. Is that like, "Mike Rizzo is currently our future GM?" Is Jim Bowden "currently a future bus boy at the Palm?"

nats_guest: 11:29 am We have time for three more questions.

nbnym86: 11:30 am what are your thoughts on instant replay?

nats_guest: 11:31 am I have been a longtime supporter of instant replay, as long as it does not effect the time of game. I think that the first part of instant replay implementation will be on home runs fair or foul.

FJB: Yeah, like the Nationals right now, they're kind of like a reply of the 2001-02 Cincinnati Reds. We know how well that's working out.

three_d: 11:31 am How hard is it to work in the long term when you know most fans want to win now?

nats_guest: 11:36 am It is a difficult balancing act between building the franchise the right way by player development and scouting versus looking for quick fixes for instant gratification. We appreciate the fans that understand the organization's plan that we're carrying out.

FJB: How hard is it to work in the long term when you yourself are a notoriously hyperactive, impatient GM who has never shown the slightest ability or interest in building through the draft?

nats_guest: 11:36 am Last one...

rohlinmt: 11:37 am Jim, are you worried about losing young talent like Ryan Zimmerman and John Lannan because they don't have the same quality of supporting cast they could get elsewhere?

FJB: And are you concerned about losing Zimmerman one year earlier than you ever should have because you started his arb clock one year early when you pointlessly brought him up to the majors to start 13 games in September 2005 after we were out of it?

nats_guest: 11:39 am Both Ryan and John are an important part of our future. They both understand our direction and are supportive. They are excited about our drafts the last few years and recognize the talent, like themselves, that are on there way to support them.

nats_guest: 11:40 am I want to thank everyone for their questions and comments and more importantly your patience and undestanding. I hope to see you at Nationals Park sometime soon.

FJB: And we hope to see winning baseball in our lifetimes!


Chris Needham said...

I'm not sure you know how arbitration works, if you think that calling someone up in September is going to affect much of anything.

Nationals Fan said...

Geez, you're a lot more fun when you're directing your snark at the millionaires in MLB and not some amateur blogger. But whatever.

My understanding, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, is that if Crow was to come up in Sept., as Zimmy did, that starts his arb clock and preempts us from calling him up in late May next summer to keep him from super-2 eligibility.

Smart GMs do what the Brewers did with Braun in 06. Dumb GMs trade the age 27 season for the age 22 season, and give away their negotiating leverage so that we, unlike the Rox and Brewers, have not locked up the face of our franchise.

Chris Needham said...

if they brought him up in September, then not again til Late May, and he stuck in the majors, then, yes, he'd probably be Super-2.

If they brought him to the majors in Sept and he stuck -- like Zimmerman did -- then you don't have to worry about super 2.

If they brought him to the majors in Sept and he didn't come back til the following sept before sticking the year after that, you wouldn't have to worry about super 2.

super 2 only applies when the player ends up with a combination of just under three full years of service time.

Nationals Fan said...

OK so I thought the the arb clock just ran 3 years from when he first comes up. I didn't know the arb clock "freezes" if he goes down again. But now that you say it, that makes sense or else Detwiler would be sitting in the minors losing arb eligibility.

But it doesn't really affect my point in the post. If you bring up Crow in Sept. for a team that's out of it (as we did Zimmy, who didn't sat on the bench till we were eliminated), then the only way to push back the arb eligibility is to shelve him for pretty much the whole next year. But if you forgo the pointless Sept. and the following April/May, you push back the arb eligible date for a full year.

Put another way, you trade 3 mo. of team control of a 22 year old for a full season of a 27 year old.

This is why so many guys like Longoria, Headley, Chamberlain, Buchholz, Ellsbury (as I recall, I didn't check all those call up dates) sit till mid-year.

There's no gripe if he gives him a cup of coffee like Detwiler, but when Bowden says, "he is one of the rare drafts, like Ryan Zimmerman, that can reach the Major Leagues quickly," I worry that he's going to make him another dumb super-2.

Nationals Fan said...

I meant, "Detwiler would be sitting in the minors getting closer to arb eligibility."

Chris Needham said...

No, you don't trade three months for a full year.

three months is not a full year. Three months is half a year, so you're, in effect, getting those three months for 'free'.

if a team calls a player up for one month in three straight septembers, they would STILL have an additional six FULL seasons of team control, assuming he stuck in April of the following year (which he almost would because of the option issue).

So it's not doing a damn thing to him.

If you're going to attack Bowden for screwing up transactions and for things like this, it'd help if you understood them.

Chris Needham said...

To take it a step further.

Is Ryan Zimmerman super-2 eligible? Nope.

Nationals Fan said...

Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but Ryan Zimmerman isn't a super-2 because he just straight out has the three years he needs to be arb eligible after this season and can walk after 2011. He doesn't need the super-2 exemption to qualify after this year.

Compare that to Ryan Braun (who signed a long-term deal so now it's moot), who drafted the same year but called up the week of May 25 in 06 just in time to miss super-2 AND win the ROY over Zimmy, would have still been a year away from arb eligibility and would be under team control till after 2012.

So that's what I mean--he traded a full season of a 27YO for 3 months of play (Sept, then the following April and May) by a 20-21YO for a year old. Or in Zimmerman's case, a month on the bench and 2 months of play.

I'm trying to understand these deals, but it's a little hairy getting all the details and terminology exactly right. So even though you aren't exactly the most friendly person about it, I appreciate you walking me through the nuances. And it's reassuring to know that nothing you've said so far at all contradicts at all the point I made in this post.

Anonymous said...

Look at the rest of the college talent taken in the 1st round of the draft? How many are signed? It's called negotiations and Crow's agent is a hard-@$$. It takes time, it's called CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS for a friggin reason.

Nationals Fan said...

I'm not getting on him for not signing Crow. I'm getting on him for mis-managing Zimmerman so that he's arb and FA eligible a year early than he needed to be.

Chris Needham said...

Jesus Christ.

He didn't mismanage Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is arb eligible and FA eligible the same time AS IF he were called up to start in 2006.

Brian said...

The only way Zimmerman would get an "extra" year of arb elgibility/unil fee agency is if the Nationals held off on promoting him until May 2006, thereby making him just short of Super Two at the end of the 2008 season (like what the Brewers did with Ryan Braun).

Chris Needham said...

But that assumes that he sticks for good without being sent back down

It's also important to note taht by doing that, the Brewers did NOT lose a season of Braun. In fact, they basically gained a season.

They would still have him for SIX FULL SEASONS after the season they called him up, since that first year would not add up to a full year of service.

jimbo's brain fart said...

I'm trying to understand these deals, but it's a little hairy getting all the details and terminology exactly right.

Let me apply the StevenSpeak translator to this statement:

I'm trying to spin these deals to make Bowden look bad and need to cover my ass in case anybody calls me on the details.

Nationals Fan said...

What Brian said is exactly what I'm saying, and what I said in the previous comment. Bowden, if he'd been thinking at all about the long-term good of the team, would have done what the Brewers did with Braun.

There's going to be a whole post on this tomorrow, so maybe y'all wanna just hold off on this convo till I lay out the case fully with all the details so that the 99% of Nats fans who have no idea what an arb clock is can follow the discussion.

@ Chris--I'm just going to take the passion of your replies as a compliment. If you thought FJB wasn't worth the effort, you wouldn't bother. So thanks, I appreciate the compliment.

Anonymous said...

Someone could say to you what Dick Cheney said to Sen. Patrick Leahy and you'd take it as a compliment. This blog is not about firing Jim Bowden. It's all about YOU.

Section 506 said...

Untrue, I called him a douche and told him to go fuck himself and he was pretty upset.

Steven, stopped by to see how your blog was doing. Hoping for some nasty words after a great night by Flores, Dukes, Milledge, AND Pena, but I see your quiet. They're all Bowden acquisitions, by the way. You know, one night does not a season make, but you usually find such entertaining ways to exclude any and all data points that don't match the results you want.

Nationals Fan said...

I know you meant it as an insult, but you're kind of right. This blog is all about me--its about me trying to have some fun with a team that otherwise isn't much fun. And I'm hoping I'll learn some things, and maybe make some friends, and if other people wanna link to me or come comment or read me, that's all gravy.

So I'm not going to feel bad that a blogger who I'm smart enough to admit is a million times smarter than me about baseball comes on here runs circles around me. I assumed when I started this that the only people who would come on here would be direct family members and friends.

So no, I don't feel bad about the criticism. I'm just enjoying the traffic.

Nationals Fan said...

@506--Thanks for coming by. I have to say I'm getting a lot more attention than I ever thought possible, and it's kind of fun.

And this little hobby of mine wouldn't be happening if not for our little dust-up that night. You said something like, "why don't you just go start your own blog and leave us alone," and I thought, "you know, maybe I should do that."

I didn't realize when I started chatting on the NJ blog that I ever EVER would want to say as much as I did, and when it got to the point that I was dominating the discussion, I realized you were right, I should be more neighborly and do this in my own space.

So thanks for your idea. I still think I'll probably run out of things to say pretty soon, but who knows. If I ever get to the point where I'm commenting game-by-game then I will know I'll have completely lost my bearings!

Section 506 said...

Well, hell, I can't begrudge you finding something that makes you happy. Carry on, and enjoy yourself. If you ever want another spur in readership, send for me and I'll come fan some flames.