Over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal speculated that Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi might be the only general manager in immediate jeopardy of losing his job. Ricciardi has been under scrutiny for much of the season, particularly at the trade deadline, when he made the biggest non-trade of the year, keeping Roy Halladay in Toronto.
The argument for letting Ricciardi finish his contract, which runs through 2010: The Jays have been one of the teams hit hardest by economic woes, cutting payroll from $97MM in 2008 to $80MM this season. They're playing in the toughest division in baseball, and still finished with at least 83 wins in each of the last three seasons, prior to a disappointing 2009. Plus, a handful of Ricciardi draft picks like Aaron Hill and Adam Lind have turned into rising stars.
The flip side? Toronto has yet to make a playoff visit during Ricciardi's tenure. They've seen the cash-strapped Rays leapfrog them, and now the young and talented Orioles are threatening to do the same. Ricciardi has made a habit of P.R. blunders, most memorably suggesting without prompting that Adam Dunn lacked a passion for baseball. And some of the contracts he has handed out, such as $126MM to Vernon Wells and $47MM to B.J. Ryan, are among the worst in the game.
Following the Jays' collapse this season and Ricciardi's inability to deal Halladay after very public sweepstakes, J.P.'s days in Toronto may be numbered. Tonight's discussion question has two sides: If it were your decision, do you let Ricciardi stick around for another year, or does he need to go as soon as possible? Conversely, if you're J.P. and you're given a reprieve, what moves do you make this offseason to save your job?