As always, Bowden's predilection for two types of players -- "tools" players (those whom scouts grade highly in various athletic categories) and former Cincinnati Reds -- is in full effect this spring. Bowden's Cincinnati connections (he was general manager there from 1992 to 2003) led him this winter to former Reds such as [Michael] Tucker, [Ruben] Mateo and infielder Damian Jackson. Tucker and Jackson both have solid chances to make the team.
Tools? Suffice it to say that if the Nationals fail to construct a solid bench out of their collection of reclamation projects, perhaps they could field an excellent football team. Outfielder Kenny Kelly was once the starting quarterback for the University of Miami. Outfielder Tyrell Godwin was a running back and kick returner for the University of North Carolina. Outfielder George Lombard was a Parade all-American wide receiver who turned down a scholarship to Georgia, choosing baseball instead.
The Nationals say their prolific, bottom-feeding approach to player acquisitions this winter -- which also netted them veteran shortstop Royce Clayton, reliever Kevin Gryboski and infielder Marlon Anderson -- was the best way for a small- to mid-revenue team to try to compete in this marketplace.
Yes, the similarities between teams like the Twins and the A's compared to the Nationals is striking isn't it?