Here’s a comment that our blog received after JP was fired:
The Jays are in much better shape than they were in when J.P. took over.”
JP took over in November of 2001. He inherited the following:
2001 Club with a 78 – 84 Record
A 29 year old Carlos Delgado that was under control for three more seasons. Take out the media spin job and fan resentment of his leaving and look at the facts. He’s a .950+ OPS, elite MLB star with a track record.
In 2002 he posted a .955 OPS, in 2003 he knocked out 42 HR, drove in 145 RBI and had an AL Best OPS+ of 161. 2004 was a slight regression, down to a mere 129 OPS+.
Jose Cruz Jr. looked to be a star. Good D, good pedigree. In 2001 he hit 34 HR, swiped 32 bases (vs only 5 CS) and posted an .857 OPS.
Raul Mondesi, quite a power hitter in his time. Not to mention a strong RF arm. He hit 27 HR with 30 steals in 2001.
Shannon Stewart never lived up to expectations but he was still a 110+ OPS contributor during his time in Toronto.
A pitching staff that included two future Cy Young winners. Current star Roy Halladay (24). And also a healthy Chris Carpenter (26).
Kelvim Escobar was also on the roster.
Billy Koch was still an asset at this point and was (I’ll give JP credit here) used to acquire ROY Eric Hinske
Possible (if he can ever get healthy) breakout arm Dustin McGowan isn’t too shabby either.
Future All-Star Prospects in the System
Regardless of how 2009 turned out, I think it’s fair to say that minor leaguers Vernon Wells & Alex Rios had a few decent seasons.
How about two-time all-star Orlando Hudson? Jason Werth?
What J.P. Leaves
It’s not all that bad. A locked up Aaron Hill. A future all-star in Adam Lind. One more season of Halladay. Possible stars in Snider & Cecil. A solid bullpen core. A number of 4 & 5 MLB starters, which aren’t sexy but still useful. And finally a few soon to be departing free agents that should bring in a few supplemental draft picks.
On the other hand the minor league system had a terrible season and is back in the bottom half of the MLB (rankings wise). $10 million owing to BJ Ryan, not to mention the vast sums of money owed to Vernon Wells. Let’s forget team attendance…
The way I see it
The whole ‘the team is better off’ argument doesn’t fly. JP inherited a large number of high ceiling prospects & young stars, many of whom went on to have some great MLB seasons.
He leaves only a few stars in their place, not to mention some serious payroll issues or ‘sunk costs’.
Time will tell, as it usually does. But from a bird’s eye view I’d take the 2001 roster/situation in a heartbeat over the 2009 edition.