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?
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.
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.
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.