After reading 352 articles about how JP Riccardi is stupid and should be fired in the last few days, I figured I should chime in on the subject. Why? Because my mother always told me that if everyone one else jumped off a bridge, I should too. Or at least that's how I remember it. It's not that we haven't talked about it on here often enough. Hugo and I debated the subject just a couple of months back.
To me a lot of the articles focused on the wrong things , there is a good case to be made that he should go, but if you start with ‘he has done nothing right', it isn't a fair argument, because he's done many things right. Also to pick on things that really aren't his fault or are unimportant isn't fair. But then there are numerous things that he has done wrong. Let's take a look at some of the arguments, after the jump.
- The Wells contract. Yeah it is a terrible contract. Now, I don't think that the contract was JP's idea. I think Paul Godfrey and the Rogers people thought that they had to show fans they were committed to the team. One of the criticisms of today's game is that players don't stay on one team for their whole career, like they did back in the 50's and 60's. It is a fair complaint; it is easier for the casual fan to cheer for a team if players stay.The contract looks even worse now, because of how it was back loaded. In their defense, they didn't see that the economy would tank. Then many experts didn't see the down turn coming. If the contract didn't end with a bunch of $23 million seasons it would look a little better. And, you know, if he could hit like he did last year it would help a lot too.
- The flip side, when people understand that Wells contract wasn't JP's fault they say "well he should have quit". Yeah. I don't know about you, but I haven't had a job yet where my bosses didn't do something that I disagreed with. Normally you have to go along with it. The times they asked me to bury a body, I've politely declined, but short of that, you have to weigh how important the job is to you. There are 30 MLB GM jobs, if you quit, you know you ain't going to be offered that job again.
- The Ryan contract. I don't think he gets enough grief for this one. The number one rule for a GM should be "don't sign free agent closers to long term contracts". Now, JP's excuse is that he needed to do that contract to get A.J. Burnett interested in the team. Now JP lies a bit, if you haven't noticed, but I really don't buy that crap. You sign players to contracts because you want their services. Signing them for reasons that aren't about how they play baseball gets you guys like Kevin Millar. IF it was true that they needed Ryan to sell AJ (and others) on the team, then you have to add $50 million to A.J.'s contract for the 3 years he was here, making that a terrible contract.
- Lying to the media. That's why a lot of the media types hate him. But then who cares, other than the writers. Billy Beane doesn't talk to the media (he does talk to Tyler Blez of Athletic's Nation). Let's face it, a lot of the local media have been after his job since he signed, why would he feel the need to be honest with them. Let's say you were JP, Richard Griffin asks you something. Now you know what ever you say Griffin is going to write that you are an idiot, you should be fired and he should be hired. Do you answer him honestly, or do you play with him a bit, to see if he'll just print it? Also if you think you gain a small edge with a lie, why not?
- Rios' contract. Giving him away for nothing is saying it was a bad contract. I still don't think it was a terrible contract but I do get the feeling that Cito and JP decided he wasn't teachable and figured he wasn't going to improve. I don't think you can rag on JP too much for the contract, I'm pretty sure any GM would have signed him to the same. But giving him away for nothing. It seems like an admission that you screwed up signing him.
- Not trading Roy Halladay. JP was going to get roasted either way, people that don't like him would have hated whatever he got in trade and when he didn't trade him, well they still hate him. Then they complain that JP said he would listen to offers. But then wouldn't it be stupid if he said he wouldn't listen to offers. Yeah he lied to the press a few times during the run up to the deadline but then, see above. Some get on him for telling the press he would listen to offers but there again I think that's a ‘who cares' issue. Yeah it was a media circus but then it was going to be a media circus. The bottom line is that I'm happy that JP didn't settle for less than he thought Doc was worth. I don't think that offers will be less in the off season, more teams can be involved and he can allow them to try to sign Doc to an extension at that point.
- JP has never made a good trade. When someone says this you know they haven't looked at the issue. They hate JP and it is no use arguing. JP got Scutaro for nothing, Bautista for almost nothing. Tallet for nothing. Overbay in a good trade. Rolen for Glaus. The Rolen tade at the deadline looks to be a good one too. He's made 30 some trades and many have been good. The worst? Maybe Chad Gaudin for Dustin Majewski.
- JP has way too much fondness for guys that were good several years ago. Millar, Dellucci, Wilkerson, Mench , Stewart...well you know the list. And yeah, it's deserved. Last year, if we could have had decent players in left and DH. Instead we had crap. It is like he decided he liked a player 8 years ago and no new information is going to change that opinion.
- And the reverse, he has no patience with young players. Last year he sent Lind back down after 19 at bats with no reasonable player to take the spot. Or Snider this year, he slump, we send him down, even when we had no one else to play left. This and the one above bug me the most about Riccardi. I'd much much rather watch young players develop, even if they struggle some, than old players decline.
- He has no plan. This, for me, is the major problem with him and the team. Letting Rios walk for nothing just underscores it. A team with a plan wouldn't do that. A team with good players in some spots ruined by not having a LF or DH? That is just stupid. Releasing Thomas after a bad month with no idea who will take the at bats? Not trading Doc, saying we have a chance next year then giving up Rios for nothing? Now I'm sure part of not looking like he has a plan is Roger's fault. They haven't been consistent with the player salary budget. It is hard to make it look like you have a plan when one year you have $110 million to spend and then the next you have $80 million. What will we have for a budget next year? Your guess is as good as mine and likely as good as JP's. That is a tough way to run a railroad or a baseball team for that matter.
- He's a jerk. Yeah, but who cares. Lots of good baseball people have been jerks.I wish he wouldn't say the things about Adam Dunn or say that Randy Ruiz was a minor league hitter or a number of other things he but I really don't care if the GM is a jerk or not.
- He doesn't live in Toronto. Again, who cares? Sainted Pat Gillick didn't live in Toronto either. Is just something the media guys complain about because they can't walk over and ask him their questions anytime they feel like.
- He hasn't taken the Jays to the playoffs in 8 years. The best argument against him. It does ignore that the Yankees and Red Sox are in the same division and have been spending incredible amounts of money, amounts that no other teams could afford. But life is results based and he hasn't had the results.
So all in all, is it time for JP to go? I think that depends on us finding a new CEO. When/if we get that then he should bring in someone that he would be comfortable working with. Until the CEO is found, we won't gain much by getting rid of him in the last year of his contract. A new CEO should be found soon. I think they are right in trying to find the right guy instead of getting someone quickly. But it is time now. Find someone. And then let him pick the GM he would like to work with. Firing him now and then hiring someone new that he new CEO would have to work with would be silly.