Recently I have noticed Jays fans bemoaning the current bullpen with B.J. blowing 3 saves in a row and Brian Tallet turning a 6-1 ballgame in the 8th into a 6-5 ballgame. Jays fans, you don’t know how good you’ve got it. Let me take you on a trip to JP Ricciardi’s early forays in bullpen management.
If ever there was a time for me to jump off the Jays bandwagon it was during JP’s early tenure as GM when he haphazardly pieced a bullpen together full of Rule 5’s, castoffs and rookies. Here are a few names that spring time mind to jog your memory and give you nightmares.
This guy sucked. I think in fact he gave up 2 slams in one inning. I might be wrong, but thats how I remember it happening so it must be true. I still think there is a custom-made Borbon jersey for sale at the Jays Shop in the Rogers Centre. It is such a good deal too, I think they pay you $200 dollars to take it off their hands. No takers yet, though.
Another one of JP’s “character” guys, Felix was charged with assault on a 22-year-old woman who was treated at the hospital and released with minor injuries. Also, became the 11th MLB player to be suspended for testing positive for steroids. He is also known as “El Gato Flaco” (Skinny Cat in Spanish) (jokingly referred to as “Run Fairy”).
Jeff Tam has long been the brunt of many jokes between ’41’ and myself. He just might be the worst pitcher I have ever laid eyes on.
Tanyon (short for D’Artagnan) was a prized JP acqusition coming off an 18 loss season. According to Ricciardi, he must have been doing something right to stay in enough games to lose 18 of them.
All I need to say about this guy is that I watched him throw a wild pitch when he was attempting to intentionally walk a hitter, allowing the runner on third to score.
Nakamura was the first Japanese born player to play for the Toronto Blue Jays and gave someone for Toronto’s large Japanese community to cheer for. Unfortunately he didn’t give them a lot to cheer for because he was garbage.
Valerio De Los Santos
JP signed Valerio for the 2004 season with a $850,000 contract. Valerio responded by tossing 11 innings. He currently pitches for the AAA Colorado Sky Sox and he sports a 5.48 ERA. He signed as minor league free agent out of the Mexican League after posting 4.25 ERA for Monterrey/Chihuahua.
This kid had some good hair at least. JP threw $2,000,000 at him and all he got was this stupid t-shirt that said “I, Kerry Ligtenberg, am a piece of crap with a 6.38 ERA”.
JP traded relative stud Paul Quantrill to the Dodgers for this guy (and had the option of taking Eric Gagne). He wasn’t totally a reliever as he sometimes started. However, he gets an honourable mention because there was an 85% chance he was going to show up to one of my Keg Parties in University. He never showed though.