The Goods news is J.P. Ricciardi has finally been dismissed as G.M. of The Toronto Blue Jays. The bads news is, he's been replaced with his second in charge, Alex Anthopoulis. We still don't know if he's to be the permanent or interim Gm, but if you heard him on the Fan 590 radio station this morning, he seems to think he'll be with us for a while. If the Jays follow true to from we should receive word on his true position by Christmas of 2011.
Why so pessimistic? I thought I was being quite optimistic actually. We are talking about our Toronto Blue Jays. Consider the record of the man it took eight years to decide on. J.P. was hired eight years ago to trim the payroll while keeping the Jays competitive until they were ready to contend again. When he took over he inherited an inflated payroll and a losing record. He was to reshape the team using the Oakland Athletics model of money ball, invented by his mentor, Billy Beane. He was to use his keen eye for talent and knack for finding those diamonds in the rough Oakland had become famous for. Our team was going to win with speed, great defense, hard-nosed old fashioned baseball. We were going to hit-and-run, steal bases, bunt when you least expected it. We were going to out-hustle and out-smart anyone they threw against us.
Build through the draft he said. Keep the payroll low and build a farm system other teams would envy. I guess he meant to say this would all start in his ninth year as Gm, because he sure didn't do it in the previous eight. Granted, he did draft Aaron Hill, but lets look at some of the other canny moves he's made.
When J.P. came on the scene Roy Halladay was already here. Today he's by far our best player and one of the best in the league. Oh ya, he's not feeling too good about the nonsense he's endured and will probably leave after next year if not sooner. We had a pretty good prospect by the name of Orlando Hudson. J.P.'s keen eye for talent told him otherwise so he hoodwinked Arizona into thinking he was better than Troy Glaus and made the trade. Who needs a three time gold glove contact hitter with speed anyway. We play MONEY BALL... (you know, hit and run, steal, good defense, bunting). Whoops. Glaus lasted 2 years and was one of 5 starting 3rd basemen in eight years by the way.
Well, maybe he thought it more important to build up the middle. Aaron hill worked nicely. Not bad, one good middle infielder in eight years. At least we had strength at shortstop. Who can argue with great names like Gomez, Adams, MacDonald and Scutaro. Only Adams was drafted by Toronto. He was a first rounder and was outplayed by everyone else named here. MacDonald was a 12th round pick by Cleveland and Scutaro wasn't even drafted. We had a guy named Michael Young but this perennial All-Star and one time Gold Glover wasn't good enough to compete with those guys. J.P. traded his ragedy ass butt for, wait for it, Esteban Loaiza. Shrew, very shrewd. Build through the draft eh ... whose draft? Maybe they drafted well at first base. Nope. Catcher? Nope. Outfield? Maybe. We'll give him Lind and Snyder, but so far that's only 3 position players in eight years and Hill is the only one able to field at the position he was drafted at. Actually Hill was drafted as a shortstop. Money Ball eh.
You can't have enough pitching. Maybe J.P. can redeem himself here. He did great drafting here. And what a job his coaches and trainers did with this wealth of young arms. Janssen, Marcum and McGowan may never live up to their potential because of various injuries. But it's not our fault they'll say. We can't do anything about injuries. Maybe not but when almost every significant pitcher you have in your entire organization is injured at the same time, maybe you should look at how your handling them. Just a thought, but who am I. J.P.'s the baseball genius.
Almost forgot. We could have had Adam Dunn but J.P. said he lacked passion. He even berated fans when they suggested it. You wouldn't like Dunn he said. He told us he knew better. You were right J.P. That bum only had four, hundred RBI seasons in his last six and only hit 239 homer runs over that time. That's 40 a year give or take. Phew! Glad we dodged that bullet. Thanks J.P. We had Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, and Frank Thomas. Nice move.
Suffice it to say the guy who mentored Anthopolis was a bit of a disappointed. Should the 32 year old Gm in training even be considered anything but an interim. Why not? Interim in Toronto means permanent anyway. Gaston was interim his second time around. Even the President is interim. He's been interim for more than a full season. It's pretty tough to say anything bad about Paul Beeston but come on. If you don't want the job hire a replacement already. It's been over a year. Consider this for a moment. Recent reports suggested a player revolt in the Jays clubhouse. If this had happened even two weeks ago, Cito Gaston may have been fired. This would have meant an interim manager as well. Wow, enough said.