Saturday, October 03, 2009

JP Out For The Jays

The ax finally fell in Toronto and the rocky reign of J.P. Ricciardi is now over (Pimp'n Ain't Easy!). The Toronto Blue Jays fired the GM of the team after eight-years where the best finish was a 2nd place finish in 2006 with a 87-75 record. The team never did get even close to a sniff of the post season during his time leading the club. Granted he did have a lot of injuries that kept cropping up and took the steam out of any possible movement in the standings but even that excuse began to wear thin. The players that entered the lineup while all these players were hurt and carried the load was good to see but it goes to show that identifying talent was his greatest attribute. Sure he had the players in the system but to not be able to identify that the players were ready to progress at the next level ultimately helped seal his ticket out of town.

He was given a lot of money over the years to help compete in the very difficult East with Boston and New York and as a “Money Ball” guy that should have been a great was not. He had the money and spent it unwisely. Horrible contracts were given to BJ Ryan after only 1 good year as a closer, way too much money and term for Frank Thomas, a bad contract to Alex Rios and not trading him when he had the chance (Tim Lincecum for example). $17-million, three-year deal for Canadian Corey Koskie and of course there is the killer contract that he signed Vernon Wells to. As he never proved that he was worthy or was going to reach the level of play that a player making that much money should be at, it was just another over valued player by JP. As an armature scout or a draft guy he was pretty good, he aquired some good players and very good pitchers but no real Elite players. Identifying pro potential... he was not good.

It seems like every season it was the same thing for the Jays a hopeful start, a sudden collapse, a lack of resources to turn things around, a spate of injuries, some painful decisions related to bad contracts and ultimately, pessimism for the future. The team would also come on strong every mid to late September that would give false hope and make the final record not look as bad as it was. It is a lot easier to win games late when you are so far out of it and the games mean just about nothing.

The Jays now give the keys to Canadian Alex Anthopoulos, 32. Maybe they are hoping that he can be the next Theo Epstine. The team needs to have stability from the top down to get this ship righted. It is interesting timing as there have been reports out of TO about the players having given up on Cito Gaston and there are questions on weather he will stay with the club. With a new GM it is likely that he will want a chance to bring in “his guy” and put his mark on the club. That will be an interesting thing to see going forward. In any event JP’s time was longer than many would have liked but it is over now and it is time for all to move on and hope that it isn’t so broke that it can’t be fixed.

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