Posted by: Asher Roth | November 5, 2009

An Introduction of Sorts

First of all, I wanna give a shout out to those of you who have found this page.

Welcome to Jays Balk, where we welcome readers to join us as we deconstruct Canada’s team from a die-hard, but realistic Jays-fan perspective. We’ll talk about the upcoming off-season moves, discuss rumours and speculations, and come the 2010 season, we will break down each and every game.

So now that the 2009 season is long behind us (thank goodness), we can all share a sigh of relief that J.P. Ricciardi is long gone. Of course, we can’t say he’s long and forgotten, because his mark will remain as long as Vernon Wells is still under contract.

Now we can discuss at will just how glad we all are that he’s gone, but here is particularly why I’m glad.

He ran the team like an arrogant bush-leaguer, who didn’t seem to get that if you don’t respect the common rules and customs of baseball (ie: kiss the right butts, know when not to open your yap), then you shouldn’t be managing a team. He had a habit of opening his mouth to the media about things that you just don’t come out and say. For example, when the 2008 team couldn’t hit a ball out of the park to save its life, going on the radio and saying that Adam Dunn doesn’t like the game, and saying he’s not the kind of player Jays fans wanted on the team. Not only did he make sure that the team would never, ever get Adam Dunn, but he exhibited that he evidently had no idea what kind of player Jays fans want to see.

And I don’t care what Doc says about it, because Doc is a class-act who would find a way to defend a man who robbed his wallet. Ricciardi’s plan to trade Doc was to make him a public entity for the media to feast on. His name appeared on some news program nightly over that span. That was a dirty move, and it affected Doc, who had to answer questions about it nightly.

In addition, throughout his years of running the team, he exhibited that he never seemed to have a proper plan. There are general managers that see their budget and plan out goals, and make them happen. Let’s look back to 2001, when he looked at the team’s tiny payroll, and promised he was going to play Money Ball, like his old boss, Billy Beane. So after trying that for a couple years, he let Carlos Delgado walk, so that he could sign Corey Koskie to a long term deal (which proved to be handsome, not only because he was traded after a year, but he hasn’t played since that first year away).

The next year, Rogers threw him money, so he spent, and spent. What was his plan? Evidently, HEY LOOK, FREE AGENTS! A.J. Burnett, .500 career pitcher, here have a 5 year deal with an opt-out after 3 years. This way, it’s win-win for you! If you are good after 3 years, you can walk with no benefit on our part, and get more money elsewhere! If you suck, hell, at least you’re still on our payroll! And that’s not to mention the other moves that off-season. I won’t discuss B.J., because I thought that signing was good at the time, and he certainly proved his worth in that first season. But after Gregg Zaun had a year that warranted his keeping the starting job, he signed Bengie Molina at the last second.

J.P. never had a plan, and it was evident when his own players were oblivious when additional guys would be signed. Zaun was mad that he lost that starting job – because he was told it was his. Why was John McDonald signed to a two year deal, only to be made a 3rd-stringer when DAVID ECKSTEIN was signed? Because he had no plan. He never had one.

But, he’s gone. And Kevin Millar is gone with him.

Now, the Cito situation.

I love Cito Gaston, but his managing style gives me head aches. I went to many games this past summer, and even when they were in contention (in May…), there were still far too many times that Jose Bautista found himself batting in a key situation. But as for the man himself, I think his image is good for the team. Listen to his post-game interviews: they are refreshing. He’s the only man in the sports media that doesn’t talk like a robot. He says what is on his mind, he is straight up.

Having said that, I’m not sure he is what the team needs right now. He’d make a good hitting coach, no doubt, but he sticks with routine far too often. Vernon Wells played 158 games, primarily batting 3-6 in the order, and had 66 RBI. Think about that. That is less than Rod Barajas had – in almost 200 less at-bats. (A warning goes out, at this point, to Vernon Wells fans: if you are looking for praise, you’ve found the wrong Blog).

Anyway, I think Cito’s success, as always, will depend on who comes out to play for him, and who crumbles under the pressure. Cito’s fate this coming year will likely ride on the backs of his prized horses, Adam Lind and Aaron Hill, who had absolute monster seasons. If their success repeats, then it goes to show Cito must have been doing something right with them. Otherwise, depending on who is signed now, it could be a long, long 2010.

That’s all for now. Before I go though, anybody else wondering what Pedro was on last night? That was painful to watch…



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