Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ricciardi fired by Blue Jays

J.P. Ricciardi's tumultuous tenure as the Toronto Blue Jays General Manager has mercilessly to a close after eight mediocre seasons produced exactly zero post season berths. Boasting upon his arrival that his "five year plan" would make the Blue Birds contenders in the ultra competitive American League East didn't quite turn out according to plan, as Toronto found itself with four seasons of winning ball and four campaigns below the .500 mark.

Ricciardi is most remembered for verbally attacking then Reds outfielder Adam Dunn, suggesting he didn't "love" the game and wasn't a team player, for his lies attempting to cover up closer B.J. Ryan's injuries and for his mockery at this past year's trading deadline that saw him dangle ace Roy Halladay as trade bait, only to pull out of a prospective deal. Ricciardi also hamstrung the team by giving out sizable contracts to the likes of Corey Koskie, B.J. Ryan, Frank Thomas, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells, players who were either past their prime or never quite lived up to the billing as a superstar.

Despite the few good moves engineered by the 50 year old Ricciardi, like drafting Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Ricky Romero and Travis Snider, and the acquisition of Marco Scutaro, Jeremy Accardo and prospects Zack Stewart and Josh Roenicke via trade, there were too many holes to overcome the Yankees and Red Sox every season. There were a few factors out of his control, most notably lack of money to throw at upper echelon free agents, but there was also bad personnel evaluation, like selecting Russ Adams with his first pick as G.M. of the team in the 2002 draft.

Ultimately, J.P. left the Jays with pieces to build around (Hill, Lind, Snider, Romero and Brett Cecil), so the latter part of his tenure with the club has led to some positive results. Unfortunately for Ricciardi and his "five year plan", it took him far too long to develop young stars on a ball club that is starving to reach the level of success, or even to get remotely close, of the Jays '92 and '93 World Series teams.

Ricciardi was living on borrowed time in Toronto, and it was certainly long overdue that he was handed a pink slip. Alex Anthopoulos, Ricciardi's right hand man, will take over the team for now, but that could be short lived with rumours persisting that there will be a permanent team President and discussion that former Blue Jays G.M. Pat Gillick could be handed the keys to the franchise once again.


Jay McMahon said...

Any word on Alex Anthopolous' backgroung?
I've no knowledge of him...

jim mora jr. said...

bring back JP