J.P. Ricciardi Rumors
Links for Halloween Sunday, as we prepare to take in our last October baseball game of 2010....
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says (via Twitter) the early feeling is that Francisco Rodriguez will be back with the Mets this year. There has been speculation that they would try to trade the closer following his late-season arrest, but that would have proven difficult with his contract.
- John Gibbons has informed the Mets that he's not a candidate for their managerial opening, tweets Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record. The former Blue Jays' manager is happy with his role as Kansas City's bench coach.
- The Mets are still trying to lure J.P. Ricciardi to their new front office, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.
- Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com notes that it doesn't appear as if the Orioles have made much of an attempt to keep Koji Uehara. Uehara finished 2010 as the team's closer, but he is scheduled to be a free agent in the not-too-distant future.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun recaps the Orioles' coaching situation, and tells us that if Don Wakamatsu doesn't land a managerial job, he'll likely be Buck Showalter's bench coach. Showalter would like the coaching staff to be finalized by mid-week.
- Dave Eiland, who was fired as the Yankees' pitching coach last week, told Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger that a reported falling out between he and Joe Girardi was "totally, absolutely false," and "ridiculous."
- How potential free agents have been performing, and continue to perform, in the postseason will have an impact on the Giants' offseason decisions, Brian Sabean tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, and Pat Burrell are a few Giants who are facing possible free agency.
- Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reminds Phillies fans that if Jayson Werth signs elsewhere, it wouldn't be the first time the club has lost a star outfielder to free agency. As Brookover notes, things turned out pretty well for the Phils in 2007, when Aaron Rowand signed with the Giants after having a career year in Philadelphia.
- In a piece for the Detroit Free Press, Josh Huebner explains why signing Carl Crawford should be the Tigers' number one priority this winter.
- Derek Jeter will likely still be playing shortstop in New York in 2011, but as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes, the Yankees view Eduardo Nunez as Jeter's eventual successor.
Some links for Tuesday evening...
- In an appearance on Jim Bowden's XM-175 radio show, Yankees' GM Brian Cashman said the team never made an offer to Hideki Matsui, and that their offer to Johnny Damon was conditional (link goes to Twitter).
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers have agreed to terms with four of their pre-arbitration eligible players.
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News mentions that the contracts of Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin are not guaranteed. The Yanks could cut them in Spring Training and would only be required to pay them 30-45 days of termination pay.
- Luis Castillo spoke about all of the offseason trade rumors he was involved in, writes MLB.com's Marty Noble.
- A Mets' official told Adam Rubin of The New York Daily News that the team would like to sign a lefty reliever like Joe Beimel, as long as the pitcher was willing to accept a contract worth about $1MM for just one year.
- The Astros signed Felipe Paulino to a one-year deal that will pay him $415K if he makes the big league roster, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter). Paulino is likely to be arbitration eligible for the first time as a Super Two next season.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Diamondbacks and Mark Reynolds have agreed to negotiate a contract extension until Opening Day, though talks will cease after that. Heyman spoke to some executives who think Prince Fielder's two-year, $18MM deal could be used as a comparison.
- ESPN's Buster Olney hears from officials involved in the Felipe Lopez bidding that they think the free agent infielder is likely to end up back in St. Louis (link goes to Twitter).
- Former Blue Jays' GM J.P. Ricciardi is joining ESPN as a television analyst, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
- Now that the Rod Barajas deal is official, the order for the 2010 draft is set. The Blue Jays, Barajas' former team, hold ten of the first 126 picks.
Brendan Bianowicz has more updates to the GM Trade History series. Today he covers the AL East. Check out the Excel spreadsheets below to see trades, free agent signings, and notable draft picks for each GM.
- Baltimore Orioles - Andy MacPhail
- Boston Red Sox - Theo Epstein
- New York Yankees - Brian Cashman
- Tampa Bay Rays - Andrew Friedman
- Toronto Blue Jays - J.P. Ricciardi and Alex Anthopoulos
Links for Monday...
- Former Padres GM Kevin Towers told Bill Madden of the New York Daily News recently "it's just a matter of when" the team trades first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
- The Astros claimed outfielder Jason Bourgeois off waivers from the Brewers, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart via Twitter. Bourgeois, 28 in January, hit .316/.354/.401 in Triple A while playing all three outfield positions. In other Brewers-related news, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the team retained Mike Burns and Adam Stern on minor league deals.
- Don Mattingly is discussing his future with the Dodgers, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
- I missed this October 5th article from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Elliott talked to former Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey, who was frank in his opinions of ex-GM J.P. Ricciardi.
- Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times says the Angels bid $140MM for C.C. Sabathia last winter, but Olney says "the Angels bid a firm $100MM and discussed increasing their offer to $120MM."
- Andy Pettitte admitted to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times, "I think everybody knows I wasn't real happy with the contract. But I wanted to take it and come back here and have a chance to do this." Pettitte ended up earning about $10MM in 2009, but only $5.5MM was guaranteed.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. says on Twitter that Aroldis Chapman "had good conversations" with Yankees GM Brian Cashman and other team execs at yesterday's game. Meanwhile, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian says that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos finds signing Chapman unrealistic for his club. Logically, the Chapman bidding should heat up after the World Series. The 21-year-old lefty is meeting with the Cardinals, Orioles, and Red Sox this week.
- Aaron Gleeman says it's reasonable for fans to call for Twins closer Joe Nathan to be traded, but not because he allowed a postseason home run to Alex Rodriguez.
- NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman says reliever Scott Atchison hopes to return to MLB in 2009. Atchison, 34 in March, elected free agency in November of 2007 after posting a 4.11 ERA in 30.6 relief innings for the Giants.
- Jim Seip of the York Daily Record writes about the beginning of Ken Rosenthal's career.
- John Bonnes attempted to extract info about Joe Mauer's future with the Twins, talking to GM Bill Smith.
Mets GM Omar Minaya has interest in hiring two of his former counterparts, Kevin Towers and J.P. Ricciardi. Joel Sherman of the New York Postsays Minaya contacted the ousted GMs "to express his support...and also to lay the groundwork to speak to both soon about possible jobs in the Mets' organization."
Sherman notes that Minaya is on thin ice, and bringing in his potential replacement is a double-edged sword. Plus, Minaya would have to deal with Towers ribbing him about the Heath Bell trade.
In other Mets news, Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reported on Twitterthis morning that Minaya fired coaches Sandy Alomar Sr. and Luis Alicea while retaining Howard Johnson and Dan Warthen. Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News has a few more details.
A few links on the second to last day of the regular season...
- Even though they'll finish with the worst record in baseball, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo indicated that it's not a lock the team will draft Bryce Harper first overall next year, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Says Rizzo: "I haven't seen him yet. He certainly hasn't separated himself like [pitcher] Stephen Strasburg did last year."
- CBSSports.com reports that Kevin Towers said he wasn't given a specific reason for his termination, but KT did say that he's "been around long enough to know why."
- Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel says that Florida's final 2009 payroll was just under $35.6MM. Hanley Ramirez ($5.5MM) and Dan Uggla ($5.35MM) were the only Marlins to make more than $3.5MM this year.
- Matthew Carruth at FanGraphs weighs in with his opinion of the Towers and J.P. Ricciardi firings.
Some links on a surprisingly busy Saturday morning...
- Here's a link to this morning's post containing comments from Padres CEO Jeff Moorad about the firing of Kevin Towers. It was quickly buried by the news of J.P. Ricciardi being let go, so you may have missed it.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says that Towers "should be relieved to be out of an organization in which he constantly faced ownership interference, payroll reductions and other forms of nonsense."
- Stoeten at Drunk Jays Fans provides some fan reaction to the Ricciardi move. Moral of the story: it was a move that had to be made, but what took so long?
- MLB.com's Scott Merkin says that we could once again hear Bobby Jenks' name mentioned in trade rumors this offseason. The team has a capable replacement in Matt Thornton, and Jenks figures to get a raise on his $5.6MM salary through arbitration.
- Rod Barajas has interest in returning to Toronto next season, and indicated that he wasn't sure if the rift between players and manager Cito Gaston would influence his decision, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
According to MLB.com's Noah Coslov, J.P. Ricciardi is leaving his position as Blue Jays Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager effective immediately. SI.com's Jon Heyman adds that assistant GM Alex Anthopoulos has been promoted.
"This was a tough decision and a difficult one for me personally as I have enjoyed J.P.'s friendship and his perspective on the game,” said Blue Jays acting President and CEO Paul Beeston in a statement. "J.P. has put an incredible amount of effort into improving the team and he has brought along a number of great young players. However, I feel that it is time for a change and accordingly we have decided to move on."
The TSN article mentions that Anthopoulos is taking over on an interm basis, however the press release does not confirm that. Brent Gambill, producer of Sirius XM Radio's MLB Home Plate, tweets that Anthopoulos will remain GM as long as Paul Beeston is the team president. Make sure you stay tuned for confirmation.
Ricciardi has been running the show in Toronto since the 2001 season, and only once has his team finished above third place in the brutal AL East. His most memorable (and regrettable) move may be the seven year, $126MM extension given to centerfielder Vernon Wells, who has hit just .266/.318/.428 since the ink dried.
Another hearty batch of links...
- The Astros have not contacted Red Sox first base coach Tim Bogar about their vacant managerial position, according to the Boston Globe's Adam Kilgore. He's interested, but too focused on the 2009 season to consider such a major change at this time.
- MLB.com's Alyson Footer says Bogar is "at the top of everyone's speculation list," for the gig, but the "club isn't tipping [its] hand on anything."
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times thinks the Indians' managerial post, assuming Eric Wedge is let go after this season, might fall to former Mariners skipper Mike Hargrove. Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell is also being mentioned for the job.
- According to Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star, the Diamondbacks aren't likely to pick up Chad Tracy's $7MM option for 2010. He's played in just 91 games this season and Brandon Allen has already arrived in the major leagues.
- Bruce Arthur of the National Post believes the Blue Jays have no choice but to fire GM J.P. Ricciardi this winter. "If Ricciardi's time is not over," Arthur writes, "then it will be nothing short of a betrayal."
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?