Back on July 31, I commented that the Nationals failure to trade Alfonso Soriano was going to be judged on the basis of what happened this off-season: if Soriano re-signed with the Nationals, then Jim Bowden would have made a smart decision; if not, I pretty much called Bowden an idiot for not making some trade, any trade. Considering what Bowden could have picked up by moving Soriano in a season in which the Nationals were not going to win anything, my inclination was that Soriano should have been traded.
Now, Bowden is looking pretty bad after Soriano turned down a 5-year, $14 million deal. The Nationals might go up a little bit (this was, after all, a first offer). However, I don't think Soriano is going to sign a contract anytime soon. If he hits the open market, he will be the piece targeted by anyone with money. Heck, the Yankees don't really have a place to play him, but I bet they'll make a run for him. In other words, Soriano WILL test the market; it'd be stupid not to. It's not like he has any long-term bond with the city of Washington, after all.
Bowden should have traded Soriano to any of the multiple teams that desperately wanted him. Instead, he's going to get a couple of draft picks - and probably not very good ones, since the bad teams at the top of the draft can't afford Soriano anyway. Also, the CBA is going to re-worked at some point this off-season, and it sounds like compensatory picks for lost free agents might be eliminated; while it's unlikely, it's possible that Bowden could get absolutely nothing for Soriano. This was the equivelant of hitting on 17 - not a very smart move for Bowden.