The most recent ploy conjured by JP Riccardi to bring back AJ Burnett has been to promise him more years, albeit at a lower price. This ensures that AJ has a job in Major League Baseball until he is well into the twilight of his career making a respectively high salary.
I ask you, faithful readers, why? I sure sign of the trouble ahead came to me yesterday morning. The folks on TSN, our local sports network, commented that the Jays’ expected relative inactivity in the offseason would lead to another dissappointing season. When the mainstream media is making such claims, you know that the panic has passed beyond the speculative blogsphere and into the public’s conscious.
To be fair to JP, before I go any further, let’s review his situation. JP is saddled with the difficult task of managing a financial system where all our your salaries/expenses are in American funds but your revenues are in Canadian funds. With the dollar trading in Canada at .80 US the Jays stand to suffer somewhat (although not as bad as in the past).
JP also toils in the impossibly competitve and expensive AL East where the Yankees and Red Sox are bound to outclass the Jays and Orioles every year in spending.
JP has also received poor returns on most of the big free agent signings that he has made, being bitten by the injury bug one too many times.
On the converse. JP has been given a payroll of around 100 million dollars to deal with – a respectable sum even in today’s market.
JP has also had the benefit of good returns on some of the players he’s drafted (Hill, Marcum, McGowan, et all)
JP has ALSO been given an inordinate amount of time to construct a winning team and has not produced a squad who has faired any better than second place in the division. They Jays are literally no further ahead than they were when JP got here.
All common knowledge – what’s the point Byrne?
If JP can’t compete with the big guns in the AL East, which is obvious, and is gunshy about chasing any other free agents outside of Burnett this offseason – a fact that he has alluded to on a number of occasions – then there is no point in signing Burnett to a five year contract just to watch the Jays finish a couple of games over .500 every season and in third place in the East. What is more is that Burnett is absolutely untradeable if he’s having a bad season or two with three or four years left on a contract.
Let’s trade Halladay instead. I know, bloggers have come out against this idea a number of times. Even I would hate to see Halladay go. But let’s compare him with Toronto hockey star Mats Sundin. Leafs’ GM Cliff Fletcher begged Sundin to waive his no trade clause so that the Leafs could send Sundin to a playoff bound team in exchange for some excellent young players/draft picks. If Sundin had cared as much about the Leafs as he claimed he did he would have allowed a trade to happen, gone and played in the playoff and then returned to the Leafs in the offseason to help develop the youth movement.
Instead he hasn’t played yet this season, the Leafs missed the playoffs, and they likely will again this year.
Picture this – Halladay starts the year as a Jay. He plays his heart out, just as he always does, until the trade deadline. JP trades him for a number of prospects from a team who is making a play for the post season (Oakland, with whom JP has an almost too comfortable relationship with, may be this team), and the rebuilding era begins!
In a perfect world JP will be fired and a new GM steps in to oversee this phase. However, if the prospects turn out then JP’s legacy is increased monumentally – he becomes the former GM who made a trip to the playoffs possible by making an unpopular but wise decision.
You want Roy back? Sign him to a contract when he hits free agency, his contract will be up soon.
That’s my sollution, folks. Feel free to tear it apart.