Tagged: J.P. Ricciardi

Lind’s Club-Friendly Deal a Critical Component for Jays

The Blue Jays got their season started on a positive note over the weekend as they inked designated hitter Adam Lind to a four year, $18M deal.  The deal includes three options that could push the value to $38.5 M over seven seasons.  Visions of Vernon Wells’ albatross and the Rios disaster which the Jays escaped (give J.P. credit) initally crossed my mind, but this deal is intelligent and has me excited.  Alex Anthopoulos has charted a great course for his franchise.  Build a core and supplement with free agents, not the other way around.  It may take some time, but when success comes, it will be lasting.

The guaranteed portion of the deal runs through his age 29 season.  The options are exercisable as three seperate options each covering one year.  The scale of $1 million in 2010 and three years of $5M each make this friendly for a budget conscious team.  The options are worth $7M, $7.5M and $8M and can be bought out at any time for no more than $2M.  The options would bring him through his age-32 season (he would be 33 at the end, July birthday).  At this point he would be entering his decline and the Jays would have had him through his entire prime.  If they were to part with him at this point, they would not be losing much.  They could also sign him for a contract of similar, or lesser value.

Since Lind’s entire value comes from his bat as a DH (he is a terrible defender), he will need to produce to make this deal worthwhile.  While he may not get up to 35 homers again, a .290/25/90 line makes this contract acceptable in my opinion and he should easily eclipse those numbers for at least the guaranteed portion.  Combine this deal with Hill, Snider and the Halladay prospects and there is a lot to like for this team’s future.

Thank you Alex, for such an incredible piece of negotiation and management.  Moves like this could bring a winner to Toronto in relatively short order.

Keep up the good work.

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Halladay Debacle: Blame Rests Squarely on Ownership

The story of Roy Halladay is a tale that will remain etched in the minds of Blue Jays fans for generations, as he is the greatest player that we have ever had.  The question is: which tale will be remembered – the dominant ace of Cy Young credentials; or the messy breakup, that would have been on par with the Brett Favre saga, if not for the small market?

Ever since Halladay was drafted by the Jays 17th overall in 1995, there was hope that he would return to beleaguered franchise to its former glory.  However, Labatt Brewing Company was purchased by the Belgian firm Interbrew, an organization that had virtually no interest in the success of the the team.  The team was purchased (80% share, fully shortly after) by Rogers Communications, on September 1, 2000, but it soon became apparent that they had little interest either.

J.P. Ricciardi was brought in 2002, with an order to severely slash payroll for 2003.  He did just that, slashing payroll by $25 million.  Due to payroll constraints, he was forced to let the franchise’s greatest hitter, Carlos Delgado, walk for nothing by two draft picks after the 2004 season as trimming continued.

All of a sudden, Ted Rogers comitted $250 million to be used on the payroll for for 2006-2008.  This period saw the signing of Bengie Molina, A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan.  Unfortunately, Molina was let go after one year, Ryan needed Tommy John surgery in 2007 and was never the same and Burnett opted out of his contract after 2008.  Injuries to many pitchers hampered 2008, but there was belief that the team was only a couple of hitters away from contention.

With the passing of Ted Rogers prior to the 2009 season, his sons assumed control of the team.  They are purely concerned witrh financial succes and cut payroll again.  They have set the team on a course of additional rebuilding.  Roy Halladay was not interested.  He wanted to win now.  That is the sign of a true athlete.

The hiring of Alex Anthopoulos in the offseason of 2009, put him in a difficult situation: trade roy Halladay because he would not re-sign after 2010.  He got three former first rounders and did the best he could.

Yes, Ricciardi made several horrendous mistakes in the media, and Anthopoulos is a rookie, but before assigning blame for the latest fiasco consider this: Were these decisions of baseball, or have these two men been unfortunate puppets of a higher authority?

Ricky Romero: A Tale of Two Seasons

One of the few pleasant surprises for the Jays in 2009 was the emergence of their young pitching.  Injuries and departures opened up spots for many young arms in the system and they delivered admirably – only great performances from our kids saved us from being a last place team.  While efforts from Scott Richmond, Marc Rzepczynski, and Brett Cecil were certainly commendable, perhaps no other rookie pitcher performed as well for us as a certain Ricky Romero.

Ricky Romero was drafted in 2005 in the first round by former Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi.  He was taken prior to Troy Tulowitzki, who has developed into star with the Colorado Rockies.  Tulowitzki’s stardom caused controversy when it was suggested that Ricciardi made a poor draft choice, especially because Russ Adams – the apparent shortstop of the future – was a failure defensively and lost his ability to hit well, forcing him back to the minor leagues.  In 2007, while Tulowitzki was having a 24 home run season in Colorado, Romero was toiling away in the minor leagues and looking more like a bust every single day.

Then 2009 came.  Romero struggled with his command early in Spring Training and appeared to be on a direct road to AAA Las Vegas.  However after some training sessions with former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, he righted the ship and made the big club after only one AAA start.  He started with a flourish, winning two of his first three starts to the tune of a 1.71 ERA.  Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list shortly after that start with an oblique strain he suffered sneezing while he was dancing to rap music.  He lost his first two starts back, in late May, but proceeded to post seven straight quality starts (5-1) through the middle of July.

On July 17, Ricky Romero hit a wall.

He got hammered for five earned runs in Boston in under five innings, and was never as effective after that.  At times he pitched serviceably over the remaineder of the season, but the Ricky Romero who looked like a legitimate #2 starter was gone.  He went a pedestrian 6-5 the rest of the way with an ERA of 5.40 over 86.2 innings.  Yuck.  He made a few good starts, but otherwise looked exhauseted as hius velocity dropped and his command deserted him entirely.  Up until the wall he was a fron runner for Rookie of the Year.  In the balloting at the end of the season, he did not receive a single vote.  He pitched about 30 more innings than any other season in his professional career and the fact that they were major league innings made them that much more stressful.  Romero simply ran out of gas.  Which brings us to a very important question.  Which Romero is the real deal?  The #2 starter or the Quad-A swingman?

This question becomes even more critical when one considers that Roy Halladay may well be leaving the Jays giving Romero the role of de facto ace of the staff.  If Romero can keep his strong form throughout the yaer, the Jays won’t be spectacular in 2010, but okay.  If not, the Jays are about to have a problem.  A major problem.