Ricciardi Speaks!

The New York Mets are in town, but their special advisor to GM Sandy Alderson isn’t. No, not because JP Ricciardi worked those extra-special living-in-Massachusetts privileges into the contract with his new team, but because he’s out scouting. But hey, why not dredge up that old line of absolute horseshit, right? Because it’s totally cool to shit on JP for how he used to not live here, exactly the way I’m sure we all shit on the Golden God that is Pat Gillick for still living in Toronto when he ran the Baltimore Orioles, RIGHT???

Anywho, even though Ricciardi isn’t in tow, the arrival of the Mets makes for an opportune… um… opportunity to speak with the ex-Jays GM, which is exactly what Shi Davidi of Sportsnet did, phoning JP, who was on a scouting trip in North Carolina, allowing him to reflect on how his tenure, how things here have changed since he left, and to say a few things that are no-doubt going to infuriate a whole lot of Jays fans… because… that’s how we do, when it comes to Ricciardi, isn’t it?

“My biggest regret is that we didn’t make the playoffs, but it’s not because we didn’t try, and not because we didn’t take chances,” he says, after pumping up his lone second place finish, and his acquiring of guys like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Glaus, Ted Lilly (?), and Shea Hillenbrand (??!?). ”It’s still producing players,” he says. “There are still some good things going on because of what we did.”

He’s not wrong, it’s just… well… I’m not about to sit here on the Friday before a long weekend and write some fucking tome that attempts to sort out what anybody should think about the entire era, it’s just… well… it’s probably not this:

“You hear the negatives about some of the contracts, obviously the Wells one, in hindsight, and I know all the factors that were involved, is one we wouldn’t do, but I would definitely do the Ryan one, I would definitely do the Burnett one. Frank Thomas, first year, led our team in home runs and hit, second year he wasn’t good, so 50-50,” he says. “There are certain things you’d like to have back, but we took chances because I think we had to take chances. Toronto is still a tough place to get players to come and play, that’s why we did the Burnett contract, that’s why we did the Ryan contract. The Burnett contract worked out really good for us, the Ryan one was kind of 50-50.”

I mean… the Wells thing we get and we can all agree on– and I have no doubt the “factors” JP’s referring to probably take the shape of Paul Godfrey– and the Burnett deal actually worked out pretty well, to be fair, and yes, Thomas was very good for a year, but… you’d do it again? And BJ Ryan?



I don’t possibly have the wherewithal to think back on those days and still manage to give a fuck, but man… I don’t know.

What I do know is that the excuse-making function of JP’s brain is still as sharp as ever.

“We did the best job we could do under all the circumstances,” he says. Then later, while musing about his new gig with the Mets, he veers slightly off-course…

“The division is tough, it’s still not as tough as the American League East. I will say this though, the American League East has changed. In the eight years I was in Toronto it was not cyclical, it was the Yankees and the Red Sox, they had the most resources, they had the most money, their payrolls were absolutely astronomical. But now they’re not the big, bad Red Sox and Yankees that they once were, they have more chinks in their armour,” Ricciardi says. “They’re still very, very good but those teams aren’t what they were.”

You hear that, Alex! You’re not better at running the Blue Jays than JP was– pffft!– things are only looking up because the Yankees and the Red Sox just aren’t so good anymore. You’re one goddamned lucky sonofabitch, Anthopoulos!

Comments (38)

  1. I can’t believe you didn’t roll out the JP Ricciardi Bullshit Translator 3000!

  2. Ricciadi should have been fired for wearing that shirt, pictured above, alone.

  3. JPR’s fingerprints are all over the AA era inasmuch as AA has learned first-hand from JPR about how to not operate a baseball team. It’s almost comical how polar opposites their approaches are. Spending lavishly on free agents, blabbing about trade negotiations and players on other teams, targeting safe, college players in the draft, pruning the scouting department considerably.

    The players he mentions getting via trade: I’ll give him credit for stealing Hillenbrand and Lilly, but it’s not like Glaus wasn’t a proven player and an all-star when he was acquired and they gave up legitimate assets to get him. It wasn’t a bad trade by any means, but it wasn’t a home run either. Bautista was pure dumb luck. As far as I remember about Encarnacion, he was basically the price of doing business in that trade, someone that the Reds made JPR take. EE was surely valued below Stewart, and probably below Roenicke too in that deal.

    • I’d give Antho FAR more credit for what EE and JoeyBats are currently doing for the Jays than Ricciardi.

      Sure, JP brought in Jose. But, as far as we know, he had NOTHING to do with Bautista’s mechanical changes. And Antho was the guy who signed him to what looks like one of the best contracts in baseball AFTER dumping the Wells albatross he inherited (not that I blame JP for that one).

      • JP hired the people who worked on the turnaround, and JP was running the team when they saw something in Jose that was worth trying to work with. You’re making a huuuuuuuge stretch to give AA credit.

        • I’m really only giving AA credit for the extension, much like I used to give JP credit for extending Doc below market twice. If AA had traded Jose or not signed him when he did and he left via free agency, he wouldn’t be on the 2012 Blue Jays, correct? EE was also signed as a free agent, even though JP (probably reluctantly) acquired him.

          As for hiring Cito and his staff…as was said at the time, it reeked of Godfrey. If we exonorate Ricciardi for Wells’ extension (since we believe it was a Godfrey move), why are we crediting him for hiring Cito if we also believe it was a Godfrey-influenced move. Hiring Cito never looked like a JP move.

  4. Ricciardi wasn’t a bad GM. I mean, look around at what other GMs were doing at the time and I think it’s clear he wasn’t below average.

    I have to believe that as a former JP apologist.

    But my god. The guy is/was soooo god damn insecure. Typically I don’t care about the personality of people within baseball. If you are good at your job, who cares how you talk/act? But even if the guy had more than a mixed record in his lone GM job…I would never want him as the mouthpiece of my franchise.

  5. Is he wrong that the Red Sox and Yankees aren’t as good as they were 5-10 years ago?

    Seems accurate to me.

    • It only “seems” that way because the rest of the division (including AA’s Jays) are better than when JP was GM. I think the Yankees & Red Sox beat up on non-ALE competition as much as ever.

      • yea the jays are better but the red sox are way worse,
        do you remember johnny damon, renteria, manny, ortiz to lead off a game with papelbon closing?

        • Renteria?

          The Sox are kinda hurt right now. They still have a core that was the best team in baseball for four of six months last year– by an evil margin… though, not evil enough to make up for how shitty they were in April and September.

          And the Yankees? Don’t forget they should have Pineda right now too, with Banuelos coming.

          Also, people forget how many non-elite players they used to have too. Jon Lieber? Tony Clark? Miguel Cairo? Jaret Wright? Carl Pavano? Shawn Chacon? 40-year-old Kevin Brown? Darrell Rasner? Sidney Ponson?

          • This.

            Frankly, I think the Yankees might be as strong as ever.

            As for the Red Sox, their offense is pretty much as good as ever. Maybe not their best team of the century, but still damn good.

    • It could be accurate. But of course, the Yankees won 97 games and the division last year. And he didn’t mention the Super Rays, so the AL East is probably even tougher now than when JP was here.

      • Exactly, regardless if whether the red sox and yankees are slightly weaker (which I don’t know is true), he totally failed to mention how the Rays have come up as a huge threat in the East, making it that much harder to compete. The rays were so bad during jpr’s time.

  6. Hmm, could’ve used more Ricciardi defending in the preamble.

  7. man nothing makes my day like that JP meme does

  8. I guess when Papelbon’s arm literally explodes in mid-2013, the only people left who will be surprised at how stupid it is to give big deals to relievers will be JP and Papelbon himself.

    I hope it’s a Phillies/Mets series and fragments of Papelbon’s elbow or shoulder or whatever literally splatter on JP’s clothes as he sits there dumbfounded. Who lives through that B.J. Ryan contract and says they’d do it again??

    In retrospect, JP was okay, but it’s hard to feel bad for a guy who removed high schoolers from his draft board for much of his run, who didn’t use any of that $210 million to secure a big bat or indisputable #1 to pair with Doc, and who didn’t offer Delgado arbitration in 2005. You would think the guy would be a classic case of a pro who learned from his mistakes and could turn around a team if given a second shot, but that “I’d do BJ all over again” mindset is indefensible.

  9. People have to understand the restrictions that JP was put under to begin with and how it resulted in the foundations of the club being far weaker than it should have when ownership changed direction. Having to work with so little money at the major league level and amateur level showed up in spades by the time they tried to switch directions and start spending. As Godfrey himself said, JP did better with less money to work with than more.

    It doesn’t change the fact that he was a first class twat but people have to understand just how much responsibility Rogers needs to shoulder for gutting of the budget when they first took over. As we’ve all seen the last couple of years changes at the amateur level while quick to implement have long lasting repercussions and take time to show up at the major league level.

    • Fair points.

    • This is kinda true and all…but…

      A big part of the reason JP got the job in the first place was because he said there were a lot of bad contracts on the roster and that he could win with less money.

      Well, he couldn’t. His drafts had produced virtually nothing before his pre-2006 spending binge. After securing Doc and Burnett at the top of his rotation, he tried to sign BOTH Lilly and Meche for his #3 and #4 slots pre-2007 because he had not developed a single good starting pitcher after his first 5 drafts…which made him ask for more money.

      Sure, Rogers deserves blame for wanting to hire the guy who said he’d require the smallest possible payroll. But doesn’t JP deserve blame for not doing what he was hired to do?

      • Yes he got the job because he said he could work with ownerships restrictions but it doesn’t change the fact that ownership was looking for it and for the most part he was reasonably successful in doing so all things considered.

        The drafts produced nothing because they had little in the way of scouting and were more than happy to take safe bets and guys that weren’t going to ask for lots of money.

        The root of the problem was there wasn’t enough money and ownership completely misunderstood the notion of moneyball which itself was skewed to a large extent by the starting rotation in place and the division they were in.

  10. Outside of the BJ Ryan fiasco his tenure as GM was fine. I get that being snarky jerks is your thing but the year the Cardinals won the World Series that Ricciardi Blue Jay team had a better record. Hard to blame him for life in the AL East — so of course he’d have an axe to grind in regards to unfair treatment because folks like you treat him unfairly.

  11. Wow this place sure has its agendas. With a little better luck and a little less injuries we could have made the playoffs a time or two. Obviously I like AA better and think AA is a better judge of talent, but almost all of the signings JP did made good sense at the time. Who thought Wells would turn into worse than Lind? Who didn’t have high hopes for Burnett like we now do with Morrow? Who didn’t like Thomas in cleanup that first year? Who predicted BJ getting injured?

    And his point about it not being easy to get people here is something AA has even pulled out in answering questions.

    Not a JPR fan and don’t think he did great, but I get what he is saying.

    Oh and the part about the Yanks/Bosox is absolutely true. Do I need to explain the mess that is Boston? Do people here think Arod and Jeter are better than anything we could put out? Did you miss that Rivera is over? He’s saying it is a good division but not ruled like it was. Just the truth.

    • I disagree about the Yankees and Sox, and also, who predicted BJ getting injured? Pretty much everyone.

    • You forgive JPR for BJ Ryan’s injury then point to a Rivera injury as a Yankees failing, and basically Boston being a mess solely due to injuries (on the offensive side).

      Wells – getting paid $126M, never played like it. Being worst player in the league has nothing to do with it, he was never worth that much.
      Burnett/Morrow – one was acquired for an inconsistent reliever, the other given $50+M. Not comparable.
      BJ – if one injury ruins your season, you aren’t good enough.

  12. Not my favorite JP in the world but whatever, the past is the past and AA is our present and our future hopefully. ’nuff said.

  13. Hey, if it isn’t Gonzo from Beantown!

    Jp was one of the most forthright, honest, clear, concise, effective GM’s I have ever seen.

    And the best part, was that he basked in being the face of the franchise, which did great things for The Puppet Show.

    On another seperate note, has anyone witnessed the fuckery being parlayed on the north side of Chicago today by AJ Perzynski? Typical shit, cleated the 3rd baseman Stewart very obviously with intent, and best of all, got a nasty tongue licking from Jake Peavy who wasn’t even playing all in front of Robin “Punchdrunk” Ventura.

  14. I’m stunned that Ricciardi managed to find a job, but not surprised at all it’s with the fucking Mets. This clown didn’t have a clue. He’s delusional if he thinks his moves are still paying off even MINUTELY for the Jays. AA has had to dig up to touch bottom from the word “go”. He had AA as an assistant and if you listen to AA, he’s refused to say anything bad about stupid JP, but his actions speak loud and clear. Rehiring scouts, drafting high schoolers and drafting the best athlete vs drafting a need.


    • Actually from what I’ve heard from Keith Law he had a lot to do with helping to change the direction back to more scouting once more money was made available by Rogers. Law said when he first started he was all stats and very anti-scout.

  15. Well JPR is speaking to a TO media guy summing stuff up, and he almost makes it sound like he is attending a GM interview. It shows me that he cares greatly how others think of him, and is in defense mode all the time trying to seek approval.

  16. *shrugs*

    One good move. Show me one above average move. Minor league draftees? Drew Hutchison was a solid late rounder…Romero bailed him out a bit after he passed up on Tulo. So he didn’t waste his 6th overall pick. Other than that…Ahrens, Adams, Hill, Cooper, Purcey. Yuck.

    Contracts? Nothing great sticks out. Thomas, Ryan, Wells…and that’s cutting him slack on the Rios and Burnett deals, which were okay at the time.
    Trades? Rios for nothing, The Rolen trades (both the acquisition and the departure) were decent.

    My point is that we’re cutting him a LOT of slack to say he was ever a “good GM”.

  17. Not everything JP did was awful; I think any of us would have done the Wells deal, considering that those types of contracts were the order of the day (Zito, Soriano, etc). The Rios deal was premature but at least the Dumb Sox took him off JP’s hands.

    The only changes I’d have made to the deals he’s talking about above would be to never ever do the BJ Ryan deal (too much term for a pitcher PERIOD and too much money for a closer), and I’d have signed Thomas for 1 year instead of 2. He did make some decent deals; the trades for Overbay and Glaus and Rolen were good trades.

    Either way, the bad deals were exacerbated by the fact that JP was a complete fucking knob, and this will be his legacy in Toronto; not the fact that he actually assembled a couple pretty decent clubs over his tenure and drafted decently (except for that horrible horrible Russ Adams drafting – holy shit).

  18. [...] God that is Pat Gillick for still living in Toronto when he ran the Baltimore Orioles, RIGHT???http://blogs.thescore.com/djf/2012/05/18/ricciardi-speaks-3/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

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