GMs Sacked: J. P. Ricciardi

One has to wonder if the failure to move Roy Halladay this past deadline was the straw that broke the proverbial back of Ricciardi’s job security, or perhaps even was the primary motivator, but either way, Ricciardi is out as the General Manager of Toronto, a mere hours after it was first leaked that the Padres were axing GM Kevin Towers. Curious that both came on the final weekend of the season rather than after it.

The Blue Jays have made a habit the past five seasons of hovering around .500, but never breaking through the barrier high enough to actually compete for a playoff spot. Despite winning 80 or more games every season since 2004, the Blue Jays have finished 15 games (2005), 8, 11 and 9 games out of the playoff race between 2005 and 2008 and they are 18 games out this season. Ricciardi’s overall record reflects that as Toronto has gone 642-652 while he served as GM.

Aside from the record, or rather just as you might imagine, during Ricciardi’s tenure, the Blue Jays were labeled as a team that would draft ultra-conservatively. That strategy led to a decent crop of role players, but rarely any homegrown elite players and thus Ricciardi was forced to foray into the free agent market, which turned out to be the source of some of his biggest blunders like the B.J. Ryan and Frank Thomas contracts.

Extensions of the few good players inside the organization rarely went well either as evidenced by Alex Rios (luckily dumped on the White Sox this season) and Vernon Wells. For the time being, Assistant General Manager Alexander Anthopoulos takes over Ricciardi’s duties though there’s not likely to be much to do between now and the time when a permanent hire is made.

With New York and Boston mainstays in the AL East more than ever thanks to a growing financial competitive advantage as team-owned cable networks skirt around revenue sharing policies and the well oiled Tampa Rays now poised to remain in the conversation for years to come, the future looks as difficult as ever for Toronto to make a name for itself in postseason play.

Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

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12 years ago

I hope that Ricciardi did not turn down the rumored trade with Boston because if he did that alone could be enough to sack him. Even if it was just Bowden & Buchholz and a decent minor league prospect it was probably the top of the market for Halladay.

Maybe Towers and Ricciardi can trade teams. It would be interesting to see if they could do a better job with Toronto and San Diego than what the other one did.

12 years ago
Reply to  MU789

The Boston offer was crap in terms of its actual utility to the Jays, who already have tons of pitching and need infielders.

12 years ago
Reply to  Torgen

The Blue Jays have a team FIP of 4.35, 16th in baseball, so no, the Blue Jays do need pitching. And if you don’t go in for all that advanced statistical jibber-jabber, the Jays ERA this season is 4.47, tied for 20th in baseball.

12 years ago
Reply to  Torgen

Jays had almost exactly the same FIP as the Yankees and Rays and better than the Angels and Tigers despite both Marcum and Litsch missing the whole season. (Also McGowan, but I’m not convinced he’ll ever be back so I’m not really counting him.) 2008 Jays already proved that the best run prevention in the majors doesn’t guarantee a playoff spot. And I’m talking about their minor league system–they have no 3B or SS prospect above A ball and their top 2B and C prospects flamed out in AA.