Yesterday Neyer noted that big heads should roll in Washington as a result of the Esmailyn González fiasco. Today Tom Boswell amps up the pressure on the biggest of the heads:
Bleak humor about the Nats now bounces all around baseball. But this case, as Kasten says ominously, “will have big repercussions.” At one level, the FBI and Major League Baseball, both of which are investigating broad allegations of kickbacks to street agents and other improprieties in the Dominican Republic, will sort out the villains. The White Sox already have fired personnel because of the scandal.
However, whether or not anybody in the Nats’ front office comes up dirty, heads will probably roll. At least one executive, José Rijo, the team’s Dominican head honcho, will almost certainly be fired. The bigger question is whether Bowden, the head dupe in this $1.4 million scam, may be shown the door, too.
Right now, the heat is rising. A central figure in the fraud is Smiley’s street agent Basilio Vizcaino, who is a lifelong friend of Rijo. Rijo, in turn, has been close to Bowden for 17 years. Did a chain of scoundrels in the Dominican fool Rijo who, in turn, sold a bill of goods to Bowden who, then, made the pitch to the Lerners and Kasten soon after they’d bought the team, but long before they were up to speed?
All I’ll offer is that Bowden should go regardless of whether or not he’s dirty. Being involved in the buscone kickback scandal is certainly a terminating offense. But even if he was clean, the Gonzalez episode is one too on the basis of mere incompetence.