The expressions on the faces of Manny Acta, Mike Rizzo and Stan Kasten on Sunday after the resignation of Jim Bowden told a vivid story. They ranged from relief to smiles. No tears for sure. Seldom have three men been so at peace with a colleague blowing up. Meet the new bosses, same as the old bosses but, minus Bowden, all more powerful and maybe more cohesive, too.Ouch! Smiles when he resigned? Manny didn't LIKE him? Really? The column continues:
All three men had qualms about the former general manager. Acta didn't like him or the kind of troubled players he accumulated. Rizzo wanted his job. Kasten constantly had to worry about Bowden or his palace intrigues.
Minutes later, Rizzo was animatedly analyzing players, chatting trades, his career-long GM dream close to coming true. As for Acta, asked a general question, he veered directly into his relationship with Bowden, volunteering that, "If it had been as bad as some people said, I wouldn't have been around here for three years." But it wasn't good.Oof! Wow. This last riff is about as damning as it gets. Boz goes on to rip Jim's propensity for the anonymous leak, which, considering Jim's tantrum at his "resignation" news conference about how he was undone by an unfair media using anonymous leakers, must have been especially galling:
As soon as Bowden left the scene, the chemistry at the top of the organization changed radically. Much as Bowden got under their skins at times, Kasten, Rizzo and Acta have few problems with one another. They are competent, no-drama peas in a pod. The Nats' hierarchy just got less entertaining, but, maybe, more functional. Few leadership trios were ever more bland than Kasten, John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox in Atlanta under Ted Turner.
The three vital qualities in an executive, it's said, are energy, brains and character. The third is most important because, without it, the first two virtues turn into vices. For years, the Nationals, especially the Lerner family, focused on the first two qualities, which Bowden had in spades, and which the team desperately needed. Now, in the wake of Bowden's resignation, the veil may be falling from everybody's eyes.
A general manager is supposed to solve problems, not create them; be the adult, not the child; bring people together, not divide them; and focus his energy, not spew it.
Now, the grown-ups are running the Nats.
By the time he gave up the GM ghost, not many Nats secrets were left in the shadows. Bowden's version got out -- one way or the other. He wanted to sign free agent pitchers but Kasten had the spreadsheets to show it was a bad investment. He wanted to re-sign Ryan Zimmerman for close to $60 million for six years, but Kasten saw the player differently. And, thanks to Ted Lerner, who makes every important decision, the Nats had a moment when they might have gotten Mark Teixeira at $188 million for nine years. But the Yankees pounced.I've said before many times that Jim could be useful as a scout, some job where he's just responsible for going out and finding those diamonds in the rough. But you have to wonder, if Boz is any barometer, has Jim finally made so many enemies that he's done in baseball, at least for now?