J.P. Ricciardi Rumors

Discussion: J.P. Ricciardi

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?

Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Dodgers, DeRosa, Cubs, Managers, General Managers

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive right on in…

  • Southpaws Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw are likely to start the first two games of the playoffs for the Dodgers, but Kershaw must recover from his dislocated non-throwing shoulder first. The back-to-back lefties would be a big advantage if LA played the lefthanded hitter heavy Phillies. Rosenthal also mentions that the Cardinals, despite being so righty heavy, have the second lowest team OPS (.675) against lefthanded pitchers in the National League.
  • Hiroki Kuroda would likely start game three for the Dodgers, followed by either Vicente Padilla or Jon Garland. Chad Billinglsey will likely be left out of the rotation.
  • The Cards have put their contract extension talks with Mark DeRosa on hold until the offseason, making it more likely that he'll become a free agent. The deal St. Louis originally proposed was less than the three-year, $17.5MM contract Casey Blake received as a free agent last offseason. DeRosa is a year younger now than Blake was then, but the offseason wrist surgery he is scheduled to have makes the situation cloudy.
  • The Cubs will be open to "anything and everything" this offseason, including trading Milton Bradley and/or Carlos Zambrano. Anything to improve the club, basically. However, perhaps the only way the Cubs could unload Bradley would be to take on another underachieving, overpaid player in return.
  • Zambrano has a full no-trade clause and is owed $54MM over the next three years, but he's still only 28-years-old and still incredibly talented. The free agent market for starting pitching is thin, which may work in Chicago's favor. Big Z might be appealing at the right price.
  • Ken Macha will likely remain with the Brewers, but at least four other managers are in danger of being fired. The list starts with Cecil Cooper of the Astros, and also includes Jim Riggleman of the Nationals, Dave Trembley of the Orioles, and Eric Wedge of the Indians.
  • Among general managers, Ned Colletti of the Dodgers, Brian Sabean of the Giants, and Dan O'Dowd of the Rockies are all without contracts for next year, and two of them are going to the postseason. The only GM that appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job is J.P. Ricciardi of the Blue Jays.

Ricciardi Comments On Youth

Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail spoke with J.P. Ricciardi and heard that the Blue Jays GM expects the game to become younger.

"I don't think you're going to see guys playing into their late 30s or early 40s anymore," Ricciardi said. "I'd be surprised if you see many guys get multiyear deals later in their careers." 

Ricciardi added that he's taken a "giant step back" and a "totally different look at things" while evaluating players in recent years. He said some numbers, like strikeout to walk ratio, are still important to him, but he looks at other stats, like home run totals, differently.

Check out the article for Blair's analysis and more quotes from J.P..

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Ricciardi Discusses Halladay

Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi is tired of the Roy Halladay rumors, even though they are entirely his fault.  He told ESPN’s Jayson Stark:

"Roy Halladay is not going anywhere," Ricciardi says, as emphatically as he can possibly say it without grabbing a bullhorn or splashing it on a billboard. "This has become kind of a hot topic in baseball, but we’re not trading him. We have no intention of trading him. He allows us to be good. And we feel we are going to be good. And he’s going to be The Guy."  So there. It’s settled, right? Trading his ace has never entered the GM’s mind?  "Nope," the GM says succinctly.

But here’s Ricciardi about a week ago, to Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

"Ownership wants no part of trading Roy at this time.  He’s the face of the organization. Right now we are not thinking about going down that road. But that is what we feel in February. Who knows how you feel in June?  We have thought about it, this has not escaped us [that Halladay could leave as a free agent, and trading him might be best for the long-term health of the organization].  In June, we may have to say. ‘Is this the way we want to go?’ It will be up to ownership, and ownership has a strong attachment to Doc."

Ricciardi left the door wide open in his quotes to Sherman, and that was his choice.  Ricciardi also had this to say to CBSSports.com’s Scott Miller:

"The only way we’d trade him, I’d say, is if all hell broke loose and the stock market went nuts and (ownership) said we’ve got to take the payroll down to bare bones.  And if that was the case, then we’d be trading a lot of people."

If Ricciardi had made his emphatic statements to Sherman or Miller, we wouldn’t be talking about Halladay.

Ricciardi: “We’re Done”

So much for J.P. Ricciardi’s recent name-drop of Orlando Hudson and Jason Giambi.  He told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian today: "We’re done.  We won’t be spending any money."  J.P. is going to let the kids play in 2009.

One minor option for the Blue Jays is Michael Barrett, who they’d like to sign to a minor league deal.

Ricciardi Mentions Giambi, Hudson

Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi tossed out a few names in a conversation with Nick Cafardo:

"Orlando Hudson is out there. Jason Giambi is out there. We’ll have to see who’s out there still when the music stops and see who we might be able to get."

MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian says the Blue Jays have a payroll of around $84MM for 2009, meaning they’d have to trade someone before signing a significant free agent.

Odds and Ends: Schilling, Manny, Mateo

Links for Thursday…

Another Year For Ricciardi

9/25/08: Griffin was correct; the Gaston extension implied another year for GM J.P. Ricciardi.  Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Godfrey announced today that Ricciardi will be back for the ’09 season.  You have to figure he’s gone if the Jays don’t reach the playoffs next year.  Will Ricciardi’s job status affect his offseason plans?

9/17/08: According to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, the Blue Jays will announce an extension for manager Cito Gaston soon.  Griffin believes that the timing of the announcement indicates that GM J.P. Ricciardi will be back for the 2009 season.  The team’s recent success apparently convinced the Jays to give Ricciardi one more chance.

If he does stay, Ricciardi will have to find a starting shortstop and decide whether to offer more money/years to A.J. Burnett.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Huff, Hardy, Russ Ortiz

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column up.

  • Mark Attanasio set a dangerous precedent by firing Ned Yost.  Will he interfere with GM Doug Melvin’s plans in the future?
  • Rosenthal considers Aubrey Huff a "highly desirable trade commodity" this winter.  That begs the question – why did Huff pass through waivers unclaimed in August?
  • Trading J.J. Hardy is more likely than moving him to third base.  Hardy is under team control for two more seasons.  The Jays, Tigers, Royals, Twins, Giants, Dodgers, and Cardinals could be in the market for a shortstop.  Demand certainly outstrips supply.
  • Rosenthal believes Rafael Furcal would be a nice fit for the Blue Jays.  He agrees that GM J.P. Ricciardi is likely to return.
  • The Orioles might prefer affordable veterans to A.J. Burnett as they try to improve their pitching staff this winter.
  • Russ Ortiz wants to pitch in 2009, and he worked out for ten days a week ago.  ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported the workout yesterday.  He says the Royals, Astros, Brewers, and Red Sox had scouts at the audition. 

J.P. Ricciardi – GM Trade History

MLBTR contributor Brendan Bianowicz has completed the J.P. Ricciardi trade history.  Download the spreadsheet here.