Is it time to take Jim Bowden out of the bottom tier of G.Ms? He's pulled off the two most lopsided trades in recent memory, the middle relievers and Royce Clayton for Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez trade back in July, and now trading Jose Vidro for Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto. Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus covers why this is such a great trade for the Nationals (they traded their second baseman for a player that is younger, cheaper, and better, and to top it all off, Mariner's G.M. Bill Bavasi announced that Vidro will DH. What could Bavasi be thinking with this move? Prior to this, his DH was either Chris Snelling or Ben Broussard. Broussard was acquired for former Mariner top prospect Shin-Soo Choo, who proceeded to do just fine once he was allowed to have more than 18 at bats in the big leagues. If Bavasi liked Broussard enough that he was willing to trade one of his top prospects, why is he so willing to block him with a player who slugged .395 last season?
I could wax poetic about why Bavasi is a bad, bad man for pages, but it's not my main point. For years, whenever we talk about bad G.Ms, Bowden is the first name that comes to mind. After these moves, is it really fair to lump him in with Littlefield, Krivski and Bavasi. Sure, he's only scamming the dregs of the league, but doesn't that put him one step above. Another thing that he's done that I like is scooping up tons of minor league free agents. A guy like Joel Hanrahan has a decent shot at out performing Gil Meche, when it comes down to expected value, if Hanrahan has better than a 4 percent chance of out performing Meche, it's a solid signing, and that's certainly true. If Hanrahan fails, then he's got an army of cheap arms to use instead. Since the Nationals have no illusions of being competitive, they can continue to swap arms until they find one that's at least Tomko quality, at no real cost to them.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't consider Bowden a bad G.M., it just might be time to elevate him to Dan O'Dowd level.