I think it's cute that JP Ricciardi thinks he's going to be around next season. If there's any justice for Jays fans, he won't be.
For years Ricciardi has been able to basically say "hey, we're in the AL East, and with the Yankees and Red Sox around, simply competing is good enough." Well, the Rays have torpedoed that notion, haven't they? In light of their ascension, it's not enough for Ricciardi to say, as he does in this article that "I think in the next few years we're going to be a playoff team" is it? In that same article, Jays' President Paul Godfrey calls the Rays "an aberration," but Tampa Bay is not some lightning-in-a-bottle assemblage of misfits and veterans. There's tons of solid young talent down there, most of which can expect to improve over the next few years. Most of which, it should also be noted, was drafted or acquired since J.P. Ricciardi took over the Jays.
But excuses seem to be what Ricciardi is best at. And none of his are really that good. For example, look at how Ricciardi describes the dynamics which went into the Frank Thomas acquisition:
But many teams, Toronto included, are increasingly leery about buying sprees. The post-steroid era in baseball has skewed the stats of older stars. Asked how much faith he has in the free-agent market, which most recently brought the club the disappointing Thomas, Ricciardi said, "A lot less now.Perhaps I'm reading too much into that, but is Ricciardi really saying that banking his team's offensive fortunes on Frank Thomas was undone because of steroids skewing the numbers? Is he honestly claiming that "false numbers" tricked him into getting The Big Hurt, the one guy even the most vigiliant of juice-hunters think has always been clean? Does he think that Thomas' falloff this year had more to do with stat-altering chemical shenanigans as opposed to the fact that, hey, the dude turned 40 this year, and that relying on 40 year-olds to carry your offense isn't the wisest thing for a GM to do?
"Look at the offensive numbers this year. It's like, bizarro. There's a lot of guys whose numbers have been good in the past, but they're not as good this year. So I think until we get to the point where we've seen those guys play another year or so, get a little bit of a track record, saying, 'OK, this is what those guys really are.'
"You can fill in the blanks. I'm not going to say the words. There's been a lot of false numbers in the past."
Whether he's saying that or not -- and let's remember, Ricciardi has said the damnedest things on occasion -- his stint as GM has been supremely disappointing. If I'm a Blue Jays fan, I don't want to see articles about how J.P. plans to address next year unless it's about how he's searching for work.
(link via BTF)