Something is Down & Dirty in Washington

I feel for Nationals fans. They should not have to endure what’s going on with their team.

It looks like some heads will definitely roll in Washington D.C. not for anything political, related to the economy or for anything else other than yet another baseball scandal. It’s going to be interesting how this team handles this situation considering the amount of money given to a prospect — a whopping $1.4 million — who suddenly aged four years and who is someone else all together.

Now, the federal government is investigating general manager and team vice president Jim Bowden and several others in their role in this whole scandal.

Does anyone smell a conspiracy?

From A federal investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses given to baseball prospects from Latin America is looking at Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden as far back as 1994, when he was GM of the Cincinnati Reds, according to a baseball executive familiar with the investigation.

Two sources inside baseball say that a long-time scout in Latin America, Jorge Oquendo, 47, is the man who links the FBI’s investigations of Bowden and his special assistant Jose Rijo to that of former Chicago White Sox senior director of player personnel David Wilder. Last May the White Sox fired Wilder and two Dominican-based scouts after allegations surfaced that they had pocketed money earmarked for player signing bonuses. Oquendo worked for Wilder in 2006 and 2007, as well as for Bowden with the Reds in 1994 and again with the Reds from 2000 through 2003. Oquendo left Cincinnati in 2005, two years after Bowden was fired. (Bowden became Nationals GM in 2004.)

A spokesman for the FBI division handling the case refused comment when contacted by SI on Friday, and Bowden, who has previously denied any wrongdoing, did not respond to SI’s interview request. Rijo’s voicemail was full on Sunday and could not accept new messages. Rijo, who took an indefinite leave of absence from the Nationals on Saturday in the wake of an report that one of the team’s top Latin American prospects had falsified his name and age, was quoted in Sunday’s Washington Times as saying, “When all of this comes out, people will see I didn’t do anything wrong.” Wilder declined to comment about the charges in July and did not return calls from SI this past week.

Oh boy, are things going to get ugly in Washington. One could expect general manager Jim Bowden to be on the hot seat, if not out of a job…