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Analysis

Bowden's Moves as Nats GM Brought Mixed Results

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Jim Bowden came to Washington saddled with the nickname "Trader Jim," a label applied because he pulled off more than 100 trades -- including a blockbuster for Ken Griffey Jr. -- in his decade as the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The trade for Griffey was typical Bowden -- a huge splash, with mixed results. Griffey came to Cincinnati as perhaps the game's brightest star, but injuries limited him to an average of 105 games during his eight full seasons with the Reds.

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That upside-down side was typical of Bowden's deals with the Nationals. Here are five of his most significant moves -- and the fallout from each of them.

1.Signing SS Cristian Guzmán to a four-year, $16.8 million contract in November 2004.

The Good:

The Nationals needed to announce their presence to Washington, and making such a deal indicated that Major League Baseball, which then owned the franchise, intended to field a competitive team. Guzmán had been the shortstop for a Minnesota Twins team that won three consecutive division titles. He became an all-star in 2008 .

The Bad:

Guzmán endured a 2005 season that was nearly historically bad. He needed a sizzling September just to hit .219. He then missed all of 2006 following shoulder surgery and all but 46 games of 2007 with a thumb injury.

2.Trading outfielders Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and minor league pitcher Armando Galarraga to Texas for second baseman Alfonso Soriano in December 2005.

The Good:

Soriano provided Washington with an electric 2006, hitting 46 homers and stealing 41 bases in an all-star season. His presence in the clubhouse and the lineup was one of the few positives in an otherwise lost season that ended with the firing of Manager Frank Robinson.

The Bad:

Bowden demanded Soriano move to the outfield against his will, creating a circus-like atmosphere in spring training. Bowden then failed to deal Soriano for prospects at the trade deadline, leaving the team with a pair of compensatory draft choices when Soriano signed with the Chicago Cubs.


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