Are You Serious?

This is a quote from this week’s mailbag by staff writer Jordan Bastian over at bluejays.com:

“If the Blue Jays were in an all-out rebuilding mode, the club would
probably be interested in seeing what kind of package it could receive
for players such as Ryan, or even ace Roy Halladay. Toronto isn’t
looking to blow up its roster, though. Ricciardi believes his club is
in good shape to compete again in 2010.”

God Bless you JB for tolerating this sort of nonsense and making Riccardi seem remotely defensible.  For us who have had to tolerate this kind of garbage for the better part of a decade the message needs to be clear; either you’re planning to compete, rebuilding or you’re deconstructing. 

JP, however, has decided to ask the faithful in Toronto to help him place postage stamps on the 2009 season months before it begins, mail it in and look towards 2010.  Regrettably by that time you’ll have lost so much of your fan support and sponsorship in the current financial climate that it will take whoever replaces you, Mr. Riccardi, another decade to make this team a competitor. 

Here’s a thought, ownership; get rid of JP and whipe clean the front office and bring in someone who knows and who is used to winning.  Then, watch the revenues come in! Toronto is a fair weather team.  That means, though, that you have to win to produce fans. 

DB 

Riccardi the Scout

Raul Ibanez recently signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.  Considering the Blue Jays failed attempt to nab the fielder in years passed this caused me to opine as to where our troubled general manager’s real talents lie.

Simply put, Riccardi the scout is monumentally more valuable than Riccardi the deal maker.  Want proof? 

Raul Ibanez:
As recently as 2001 Ibanez was a player mired in mediocrity, demoted to the minor leagues.  What followed these stints was an excellent run of quietly successful years with the Royals and the Mariners (2004 excluded) in which Ibanez posted 89 or more rbi’s six times and batted at least .280 with at least a .345 batting average.  Riccardi hunted Ibanez over three seasons, aware of his covert abilities. 

Matt Clement:
Round about the same time we went after Burnett, Riccardi also sought to employ Matt Clement (whom we just signed to a minor league deal – talk about getting your milk when cow’s soured!!!).  Sure, Clement proved to be an injury problem but in 2005 he was an allstar.

Tim Lincecum:
A year ago when JP went after Lincecum and Matt Cain from the Giants at the expense of the much beloved, regardless of logic, Alex Rios the fans in Toronto cried foul.  Today, however, the trade would have been a celebrated victory.  Lincecum won the Cy Young and Rios turned in a year of sheer middling.

There you have it people.  Riccardi has an eye for talent.  Despite his passing of Troy Tulowitzki (a friend of mine always reminds me that Ricky Romero was thought of as a don’t miss talent) Riccardi has also built our minor leagues and produced with his draft picks (Marcum, McGowan and Hill et al).  But when it comes to making the deal, Riccardi falls short. 

DB

Teaser and the Firecat

Forgive my lack of entries these days – I am bogged down with an exam season here at the University of Toronto that will see me hand in 7 things in 7 days.

Much a product of these stressful times, I’ve become sentimental.  Here you go, Blue Jays faithful – praise for Riccardi.

It was reported by foxsports.com at just before 2 am last night that the Blue Jays had met with Rafael Furcal’s agents.  In these troubling economic time the Blue Jays may be offering Furcal the stability of a multi year contract over the lure of a big, short term payoff.  Given the state of financial matters these days I can understand the allure.

If you can’t spent with other teams, JP, you may as well offer something that other teams cannot – stability. 

Sure, you may end up being burned, but there are few other options.

DB 

The End of an Era

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Ted Rogers 1933 – 2008

I was preparing a post for today that focuses on why certain players on the Hall of Fame ballot should be admitted into Cooperstown when I came across a very sad piece of news.  Today, December 2, 2008 Ted Rogers passed away of congestive heart failure. 

Ted was known in the baseball world as the owner of the Toronto Blue Jays and the namesake of our ballpark, the Rogers Centre. 

But what is more is Ted’s legacy as a wonderful family man with an excellent mind for business.  Starting with the ownership of a single radio station, CHFI, Rogers would go on to build one of Canada’s great media empires.  An avid philanthropist, Rogers will be remembered fondly in his home country.

Ted bought the Blue Jays in 2000 and their ballpark, then called the Skydome, soon after.  He substantially increased the payroll in Toronto and gave the hometown Jays a great chance to prosper in the American League East.

You will be missed, Ted.

Pax.

All the wild horses in the sun…

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~
Never talk defeat. Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory.
~
Norman Vincent Peale

I would like to say something to the effect of “Really busy these days fellas, now back into the wonderful world of the Blue Jays!”  In fact, I would settle for “The flu I had this weekend kept me down, sorry I didn’t write.”  Regrettably, that is not the case.  What do we have to stomach lately in the land of the Azure Birds?  This.

The Jays wont go wild in this Winter.  That’s fine, I can stomach that.  Tell me, JP, that you don’t have the money.  Tell me that all the free agents that are worth their weight are too expensive.  Tell me that Uncle Ted has tightened the purse strings and, by proxy, your hands.  Just don’t tell me that you’re planning on resigning AJ or that you’re going to fill the roster with washups, hasbeens and neverweres (Jose Bautista, Matt Stairs [sorry toronto fans, but his success was a fluke], Marco Scutaro, David Eckstein et all). 

What do I want to hear?

JP: Thanks for having me on the Fan 590 tonight.  Now, Blue Jay fans, due to the economic downturn the Jays are going to have to be fickle.  To turn this squad around we’re going to cut our dead weight and start fresh.  It may not take effect immidately, but leading up to the 2009 trade deadline all Blue Jays are available in trade talks.  Everyone knows I love Oakland, now its time to start thinking like Billy Beane as opposed to taking his scrap heap junk and turning them into Blue Jays.  And Like Oakland, we will soon see the light of the playoffs – you just may not recognize the squad.

DB

On the Cheap

Before reading my take, go over to ESPN.com to read Jerry Crasnick’s original piece
That will save me from having to quote directly!

Greetings faithful readers, Jays fans and baseball readers.  It seems woefully apparent that our man JP Riccardi is far too cash conscious to dip into any big free agent pools (even with the likes of Manny Ramirez expressing interest in the Great White North).  How do we solve this problem? Trade? Good luck getting much from our underperforming offense, and we need our arms if we’re going to compete post Burnett.

Solutions? Cheap free agents! Today I’ll reflect on three positions that the Jays need: pitcher, shortstop and power bat (any position) as they are represented in Crasnick’s article. 

Pitcher:
Regrettably Randy Johnson is not an option for the Jays.  Despite his age and injury issues he managed to pitch in 30 games last season for 184 innings.  A similar output in 2009 would make him an appealing option for the Jays who will need someone to eat up innings.  What’s more is that Johnson would bring fans to the ballpark.  Regrettably Johnson’s salary will likely be too high, even for JP who loves to focus on pitchers (In JP’s defense the rumoured trade of Lincecum for Rios of last offseason now looks like it would have been a gem!).  On the other hand it is unlikely that Johnson would leave the West Coast.

Shortstop:
With the defensively sound John MacDonald already playing the role of loveable middle infielder with almost no bat, there is little interest for a talent like the rapidly aging Omar Vizquel.  ‘Nuff said.

1B/Power Bat:
Why oh why am I warming to the idea of going after Giambi?  Despite what the fickle Riccardi has said, I would like to think that there’s still some chance that we’ll go after Giambi this year.  Dave, that would produce a logjam at 1B/DH with Lind, Overbay and Giambi splitting time!  No, it wouldn’t.  Picking up Giambi would give us a solid option at DH from a guy who had an excellent OPS in 2008 and may benefit from the less intense Toronto market.  That would allow us to trade Adam Lind for pitching – Lind’s value, as I have stated, will never be this high again.  Slot Snyder in left and let Overbay try to prove himself – trading Overbay right now would be futile as his value is so low. 

What the fans need to do:
Let JP know you’ll support his team if he puts one together.  Increase his ticket sales if he brings in a good player.  I, personally, am promising to support the team by purchasing the jersey of any big/valuable free agent that JP brings in that makes sense.  I urge others to do the same!