JP Ricciardi has Lost the Confidence of Jays Front Office
JP Ricciardi has consistently tried to support his moves and has always stood by them. I cannot think of any ‘mistakes’ he has stuck by. He has pulled the trigger on certain deals. Personally, I can respect him when he has said, “This is the team I built, this is the team that I thought could win.” He has made excuses in the past about spending and this has been remedied. It has been proven in the last couple of years that money is not needed to compete with New York, Boston or LA Angels. The Twins, Indians, A’s and now Rays have had great success with a fraction of the Yankees payroll.
Now, JP made a big move last month, brining in a Toronto baseball legend in Cito Gaston and firing his own boy, John Gibbons. Was this JP throwing in the towel on this season? Is this damage control?
Here is what I think. The Jays brass, Ricciardi, Paul Godfrey and Ted Rogers had a pow wow at the end of a terrible April and thought they would stay the course with what they had. The Jays played well in May without really having their hitting turn around. I think they Jays said to Ricciardi, this is your last chance, they offered him carte blanche, threw down the gauntlet at the end of April and said, do whatever you want in regards to trades and money is not an issue. JP didn’t take them up on it and thought that “This team can win”. After a tremendously dull June, the inconsolable clutch hitting, JP had to can Gibbons.
JP has now lost the confidence of the Jays brass, he is the baseball genius they have brought in. They adopted a MoneyBall guy and there are no real MoneyBall teams anymore. JP will not be able to make a trade without first clearing it with other baseball guys a la Godfrey and Cito. This must irk JP and I am surprised he hasn’t quit. He has been notoriously tyranical with even his closest advisors. This is evident as Gibbons and Tosca managed by the MoneyBall book which made other better managers go crazy (Grady Little, Art Howe, Ken Macha, Phil Garner) as it gives the GM more influence on strategy decisions. Cito Gaston is old school in his approach and with his cronies Leyva, Tennace and Dwayne Murphy in tow he is not going to put up with that kind of interference. Hiring Cito spelt the end of JP Ricciardi. I see JP returning only if the Jays make the playoffs. This is quite a long shot but not out of the question. Even if the Jays turn it around and make a charge for the Wild Card and win, say, even 90 games JP will not be back.
So, don’t expect much to happen in Blue Bird land. Don’t look for the Jays to move Burnett for the sake of moving him. The Jays are not going to throw in the towel. They still have youngish pitchers that they do not want to hurt. This year expect them to drive AJ into the ground. This is maybe the most value they have got out of him. If AJ can start 35 games and then opt out it will burn up innings for injured McGowan and Marcum. Look for Casey Janssen to join the starting staff next year.