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.
The world is much abuzz with the onset of the true Free Agent season, and there are many rumours concerning the Jays that we should address. Let’s break it down situation by situation, player by player.
Jordan Bastian says it best. The Jays probably cannot afford Manny. I’m not too sad to see him go, but I wouldn’t have been sad to see him here, either. What other options are there?
In his seven years in New York Giambi enjoyed five productive years, including three of the last four, and two not so productive years. On top of that he weathered the storms of steroid abuse, and brought back the mustache to New York, reminding Yankee fans of greats like Reggie Jackson. At age 37, however, Giambi has the best years of his career behind him. Jays, expect Frank Thomas like production from JG if you tender him a contract.
Forget about it. You can keep the funnest player in the game’s league leading OPS, Canada doesn’t want the headache. Even with Cito, a much more calm and level headed manager than John Gibbons was, notable jerks don’t fair well in Toronto. Not only is Bradley a pain in the neck, he also has avoided providing his teams with the breakout season that scouts once envisioned. It’s fun getting into trouble, but I’ll have to say sorry to Milton.
I’m not always negative! I think Ibanez would be a great fit in Toronto. Ibanez is aging quite well, is a premier offensive player in a number of offensive categories, would give us room to trade the likes of Adam Lind (his value will never be as high as it is now), and would probably welcome the chance to spend time at DH. We tried once to get him and failed. What about another go?
Not quite the unheralded marvel for fantasy owners that he once was, Abreu is a great player and would be a great addition under certain circumstances. Let’s be honest, with how low his HR totals have been over the last few years, his high rbi totals are mostly due to the lineup in which he plays. On the other hand an outfield of Wells, Rios and Abreu would be tremendous, considering one is willing to play LF. What does that mean for Lind and Snyder? One, if not both of them would have to go. Abreu is too athletic to DH, Snyder is probably too young, and Lind doesn’t hit well enough. Abreu may cause more problems than he solves.
I’ve already made the case for Raf a week or so ago. Great pickup if we can get him. Picking up Raf, Ibanez and a good pitcher would make Toronto a real contender I believe.
WARNING!!! FLUKE YEAR IN 2007!!! Since 2004 he’s only had one season where he’s played more than 121 games. 2007 was a fluke because of injury woes, not because of talent (of which Khalil has plenty). If you pick this cat up, JP, get ready to give up your job the second he’s injured. Let Burnett and Glaus teach you that.
Some of the best reading I’ve done today was over at the hotstove blog where I noticed AJ’s agent had expressed interest in Atlanta and that Atlanta had given up hope, at least somewhat, in acquiring Peavy. Go AJ. Go far. Go so far that we don’t even have to tolerate you in anything more than the odd interleague matchup.
It is tempting to think of the chance of having another Canadian on the team. I miss Stairs. Dempster is positionally versataile, his injury plagued seasons are three years behind him and he’s coming off a successful transition back into a starter. Finishing sixth in the crowded NL Cy Young race Dempster had an era below 3 and just over 1.2 WHIP. Solid.
Just kidding – I’ll explain myself. I wasn’t always allergic to injuries. But the Jays 2006-2008 seasons have me so scared I won’t even go for a checkup at the doctor. Great talent here but his injury track record is awful. Let someone else waste their money.
Hmmm, didn’t know he was an option. His under-the-radar status, due to his recent injury troubles, may make him affordable. Unlike Sheets he has pitched a couple of full seasons recently and looked very good for the offensively anemic Dodgers in 2007. Worth a shot!
There you have it, what do you think?