Jim Bowden goes off with his conspiracy theory on why Trea Turner isn't playing much.

Yesterday afternoon, Jim Bowden on MLB Radio on Sirius/XM with his co-host Casey Stern were talking about Denard Span back in the Nats lineup and Jim Bowden said how he would like to see Denard Span batting first and Trea Turner batting 2nd and said that he would give his conspiracy theory on it.

Jim Bowden would tell his story of September 2005 when he told Frank Robinson he was calling up 2005 1st round Draft pick Ryan Zimmerman who had a short stint in the Minors.  Bowden said Frank Robinson didn’t want to play him but did so sparingly.  When Zim got limited playing time which was mostly as a pinch-hitter or a mid-game or late-game fill-in, Ryan made the most of the opportunities and got his first start on September 7th in his 5th game with the Nats, but then his next start wouldn’t come until September 11th and then subbed a few more games then on September 22nd to the end of the season Ryan started every game for the Nats in 2005 and finished the season at .397.  I think we can say Jim Bowden was spot on in regards to Ryan Zimmerman.  The rest is history, and a great time to be talking history as Ryan just hit his 5th career Grand Slam last night!

Photo Credit: Washington Post through Getty Images.

Photo Credit: Washington Post through Getty Images.

Bowden continued his story on the radio speaking of Frank Robinson and himself on the Ryan Zimmerman playing time, “I’m telling you he’s better than what he had. He’s the Manager and he didn’t play him.  Ok, well he finally played him and understood what I was saying. He was better than what he had, but he didn’t want to bring up a Rookie that was drafted and put him in the show.”

Then Bowden segues to Trea Turner sitting on the bench, “I kind of feel like Mike Rizzo is looking for a spark, he goes and gives him a weapon and the Manager wasn’t on the same page so he’s like I’m going to play Espinosa instead, and I’m going to play Rendon and I’m going to play Escobar and Desmond, and I didn’t really want him here anyway.”

Jim Bowden then continues, “Because to bring up a kid like that and sit him is a JOKE! You know, I think he can perform up here, but he can’t perform off the bench, and he’s not going to perform if you sit him 4 or 5 days then say Okay, I’m going to go ahead and do it, and then he goes 0-4 and then you go, ‘SEE’!  If that’s the case, leave him in the Minor Leagues and bring him up when the rosters expand.”

Jim Bowden then went back to his time as a GM, “I’ve been through it before and gave you my Frank Robinson example. I understand both sides.  Managers do their jobs. GM’s do their jobs.  That’s why I’ve always said and I will say this till the day I go to my grave, the organizations that have Managers and GMs that are on the same page are the ones we will visit in October. They’re the ones we will see in a 7 game World Series”.

Then Jim Bowden named the Managers and GMs that do it together and went back to, “It’s the ones that are not doing it together where the Managers has the ego or the GM has the ego, and this is my job and this is your job. Those are the guys who are home when I’m watching the biggest games at the end of the year. That’s just the way it is. I’ve never understood it. You bring Trea Turner up, the GM and Manager on the same page. Let’s bring him. Let’s play him at 2nd base. Let’s do 5 games in a row and see if we get a spark”.

Keep in mind, this isn’t the first or even the second time that Jim Bowden has made his thoughts known on the Trea Turner call-up.  Jim Bowden on Sunday had some similar thoughts on Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman’s callup in 2005.

Here’s an excerpt from Sunday from Bowden from his MLB Radio show on Sirius/XM, “You know what it reeks to me?” It reeks to me that Mike Rizzo wanted to bring him up and Matt Williams didn’t want him. So Matt’s, well this is my job, I’m the manager, and I’m not going to play him. Matt Williams is on the hot seat anyway, and it’s not just the media. It’s not just the media.”

And who can forget this Tweet that became the talk of NatsTown:

This could certainly continue on Jim Bowden’s radio show.  Maybe Jim will comment here as we will certainly Tweet this link to him.

If nothing else, Trea Turner is making his mark on the fans!

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  • Strasburg averaged exactly 97.1 MPH on both is 4-seamer and 2-seamer last night. Hit 99mph. I think if he followed Scherzer’s lead and dialed back the fastball to 94 and then threw the reachback at 98 he would have had some shorter innings. The Padres were able to get weak contact and foul off a bunch of those fastballs.

    Still a very good start considering he gave up that 2 run HR in the 1st inning and shut them out the rest of the way. In his last 7 starts he now has a 1.51 ERA with 50 Ks and 7 walks and that’s a K/BB of 7.14


    • Extra days rest could have helped. I know Jordan Zimmermann has said before he pitches better on regular rest because his arm is to strong and he leaves the ball up early in those starts. That could have been the problem for Stras in the 1st inning on that pitch to Gyorko.

  • adcwonk

    I was at the game last night — a few quick observations:

    – Strasburg looked great, except for one pitch (where he missed his spot). He hit 99 in the first inning. He probably threw more balls than he wanted to — but, still, only two hits, and, after the HR, he finished his night by retiring 15 straight batters.

    – After Werth made the last out in the bottom of the 7th, I was surprised MAT wasn’t a defensive substitution. OTOH, perhaps MW wanted to give him a complete day off (did somebody mention he had played in 63 straight games or something?)

    – I was really hoping to see Trea Turner run — even on a ground ball! I keep telling Mrs Wonk to watch how fast he is. But he got called out on strikes!

    – how often do we see a battery with one last name? (Bud Norris pitching/Derek Norris catching)

    – Nats are undefeated when using their Jan projected starting lineup. It’s starting to look like a lineup with potential danger from any batter, putting a lot of pressure on opposition pitchers.

    – Span got the loudest cheer of anyone (until RZ’s HR).

    • The Norris to Norris got me confused when Melvin Upton came in as the pinch-hitter for Norris. I was surprised they were pinch-hitting for Derek Norris….of course I had the wrong Norris.

      • Section 222

        Two Norrises, two Uptons. What’s a Padre fan trying to keep score to do!

  • jd

    Has anyone noticed that A.J Cole has been pitching very well at AAA for several weeks now? very encouraging, he’s still only 23.

    • Yes, he had a 7 inning shutout in a 1-0 game and Matt Grace relieved him and gave up a run. They closed up his delivery some and he’s looking much better.

    • senators69

      That’s interesting and hopeful. However, we all remember his MLB debut and how terrible he pitched. I recall reading an analysis on another website (can’t recall which one) that said that pitchers who debut so poorly never amount to anything in MLB. Overwhelming evidence. Maybe Cole is the exception. — I would hope so from the Nats POV (for the Nats staff or in a trade). Will be curious to see how he shakes out in the upcoming years.

      • therealjohnc

        Overwhelming evidence? How many pitchers that are top 100 prospects had a rough debut like that? Because talking about the Levale Speigners of the world really isn’t a good comp. I’m not saying I’m sold on Cole, I just throw the BS flag on that observation.

        • AJ Cole is a work-in-progress which is the main reason he is still in the Minor Leagues. He has needed some mechanical fixes on his delivery and is improving.

  • jd

    Contrary to what Bowden says Turner was never meant to be a big piece of this year’s puzzle. This year’s team will sink or swim with the current cast of characters who are all playing well at this time. The comparison to Ryan Zimmerman is apples to oranges, that team wasn’t in a pennant race and it didn’t have accomplished players on the roster so Zim made perfect sense.

    • adcwonk

      Turner was never meant to be a big piece of this year’s puzzle.

      The question, though, remains (and, please understand, I think extremely little of JimBo) — why burn a year of Nats control on him is he’s hardly going to play?

      Perhaps there is a good answer — but I haven’t yet seen one yet.

      • jd


        They are not necessarily burning a whole year. If he is to be the starting short stop next year then yes he would be eligible for arbitration 1 year earlier but if they were to say start him in late may or June they can still gain the year back. I think the more days he is on the team now the later they would need to keep him in the minors next spring.

        Frankly I am not sure why they brought him up other than to serve as a pinch runner in a game situation down the stretch.

        • jd, is correct on arbitration but more importantly getting 6 years of team control+ the extra 5/6ths of a year teams try to get on their star players (see Kris Bryant & Bryce Harper)

          • So do this mean they burned a year of control by bringing him up this fall?

            • Not necessarily if he starts 2016 in the Minors and isn’t brought up until around June 7th and if they start him on Opening Day and he never goes back to the Minors then the Nats would control him for 6 years and the time he played in 2015.

          • Section 222

            Right Ghost. I’m not even sure they have to keep him down until June 7. Team control (as opposed to arbitration eligibilty) is determined by major league service time. It’s independent of what other teams do with their players. Most teams keep the full six years by bringing up the big star rookies in late April (like we did with Bryce, or like the Cubs did with Bryant). Trea will have an extra what, three weeks, of service time? That’s all they have to make up next year, right?

            • I think if you bring a player up before September than September counts. If I’m wrong than you’re right

              • Section 222

                Interesting. I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s an answer. Maybe Trea will be sent down before end of August to finesse that? It does seem odd that Rizzo would burn a year of control for a few pinch hit appearances. I’ll bet there’s a way around that.

              • I agree. I could also see that Rizzo would want to see how everyone looks in 2016 Spring Training. Consider that the Nats have Desi heading towards Free Agency but return Rendon, Esco and Espi who might earn the 3 spots for 3rd, SS, and 2nd Base leaving Trea Turner as the odd man out but who knows and further remember Wilmer Difo wants to make the 2016 Nats as a starting middle infielder.

          • Not sure about how they count toward team control, but September does not count toward days on the roster in figuring rookie status. Games pitched/plate appearances in September docount, however.


        • Section 222

          Here’s a solid explanation of service time and free agency:

          Trea’s clock has now started, but it sounds like if he is replaced on the 25 man before the end of the month, the clock would start even though he comes/stays up starting Sept. 1. Then Rizzo just has to make sure he doesn’t accumulate 172 days on the 25 man by the end of next season and he will not yet have a full year of service time, and maximum team control will not have been jeopardized by his cup of coffee this season. It doesn’t matter whether he holds him back in April/May, or sends him down in July or August. He needs 6.0 years of service time to be a free agent. So if he’s at 5 years, 171 days at the end of 2021, he doesn’t become a free agent until the end of 2022.

  • To state the obvious, setting the rotation for the Mets is all well and good but won’t matter if the Cardinals have already left us for dead.

    Therefore just win tonight, baby. Lather, rinse, repeat. Go Gio!

  • Section 222

    Trea is going to be great. We think. But he’s not the second coming. And Desi has been hot. That opposite field RBI last night was key, and very un-Desi like. Plus, he’s hustling his you know what off out there. Last night, he tore after a foul pop and almost tracked it down. And he turned that opposite field RBI single into a double because he recognized that Kemp may be as bad in the outfield as Werth. (Seriously, those two guys look a lot alike in the field.) Now is not the time to bench Desi.

    But isn’t it nice to see him batting 7th, following Zim batting 6th?

  • Jim Bowden often puts me in mind of another James B, the godfather of soul–“Talkin’ loud and saying nothin’.”

    This isn’t really a conspiracy theory, is it? More a matter of disconnect between manager and GM.

    If that’s correct, I am not sure MW is the one in the wrong.

  • Section 222

    And another element. Jim Bowden is an idiot, and Mike Rizzo is not.

    Otherwise the situations are identical.

    • I cant think of the exact word of what this is with Tree Turner. Is this a fixation or stalkerish or what.

      Im glad Jim is talking about the Nats and cares that much about Tree Turner.

      Its also not a great comparison to Ryan Zimmerman. 2005 vs 2015 are not the same. Ryan Zimmerman in his limited opportunities in 2005 got hits when inserted and earned some more opportunities. Turner has grounded out and shown speed and struck out. Hit some line drives Turner and impress your Manager.

      • Section 222

        Very true. (It’s Trea, by the way.) 2015 is also different than 2005 in another significant way. When Zim came up the Nats were out of the NL East race and just playing out the string. Made perfect sense to give Zim a shot. These Nats are still in the hunt. They don’t need a maybe spark, they need to play their vets and try to win a pennant.

        • nats128

          My auto-correct only seems to work on names. You are correct on the pennant race. That is why I was confused why JimBo was pushing that Trea Turner would be a starter on August 1st even if Desi was struggling.

          Trea Turner should be thanking Bowden as he is promoting him hard. Almost daily.

  • All I know is that the Nats are playing .750 ball since he arrived.

    • adcwonk

      And the Nats are undefeated when all eight projected starters play! 😉

  • rayvil01

    There are a couple of other elements to this. One is that Frank Robinson was a baseball legend and icon when Bowden was GM. His relationship with Frank could well have been different than what many GMs and Managers have. He’s projecting that relationship onto MW and Rizzo. I’m not sure that washes. Rizzo doesn’t look like the type that would tolerate someone undermining his plans. If Rizzo’s plans were for Trea to play every day and he wasn’t I’m sure MWs ears would be burnt to a crisp by now.

    I really thought they brought up TT to be here for pinch-running purposes and to get some ABs. The bench didn’t have any speed. And TT had “Graduated” the Minors. I’m not sure what was to be gained leaving him down there. The low-probability thought was that he was brought here to be in-place for when someone was traded to get our OF bat this week.

  • rayvil01

    I always think that Bowden’s comments towards the Nats carry a little extra bile for obvious reasons. He made that August 1st prediction and now he’s reinforcing it.

    • I think Bowden likes Rizzo and blames the Lerners for his firing. Bowden usually goes out of his way to talk nice about Rizzo. Talk about a guy living on another planet.

      Conspiracy theory would be the “fake” Dombrowski rumor Bowden floated that he was going to become Rizzo’s boss which he later retracted.