Monday, September 04, 2006

When $70M Just Isn't Enough

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Hazel's hometown Toronto Blue Jays beat her adopted hometown Red Sox yesterday to earn a split of the four game series in Boston. Speaking to the media after the game, the Chickenhawk (aka J.P. Ricciardi) said that the Jays couldn't win with a $70M payroll; typical of him, offer up excuses for everything and never accept any responsibility for the team's failures.

Up to now, he would tell anyone who would listen that he had a five year plan to get his team into the playoffs - his plan was grounded in building the Blue Jays farm system. The farm system has produced a few pitching prospects, but has failed miserably in terms of positional players - except for Alex Rios, and to some extent Aaron Hill. He has let the city, the team and the team's owners down, period. Blue Jays management isn't likely to pull the plug on him, as he is under contract for another few years; but they should, given his actions leading into the season and during it:
  • given a significant bump up in operating costs, the Chickenhawk saw fit to award A.J. Burnett (the enigma) a five year $55M contract. Burnett has been a .500 pitcher his whole career with a history of arm problem - we won't even get into how inconsistent he has been, looking like the second coming of Cy Young AND Matt Young in the same week. The knock on Burnett has always been a lack of concentration - the more I see him, the more I think that he just doesn't get it...he won't ever be the dominant pitcher many thought he could be.
  • he signed B.J. Ryan to a five year $47.5M contract. Ryan had been a closer for all of one year in Baltimore, while he has worked out for the most part, tying up that much money for a guy who has a say in about 30 - 40 games a year doesn't make sense; especially when you have players like Vernon Wells making much less.
  • putting his faith in a shortstop and second baseman with very little major league experience; the former, Russ Adams, was so badly overmatched for much of the season that the Hawk had to trade for a player he had traded at the end of last year, John MacDonald (a 30 year old journeyman).
  • he calls out his best players in the middle of the season after a bad series, forgetting the fact that the Blue Jays were still in contention because of the 3-4-5 hitters.
  • he has supported John Gibbons after two altercations with players - Ricciardi insists on supporting a manager who doesn't have the respect of his players; and because of it, the season went into a tailspin. This kind of garbage would NEVER happen with Terry Francona.
Ricciardi made a few good moves - getting Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay made the team better, getting the Red Sox to take Eric Hinske off their hands will help in the long run; but the fact of the matter is that this team never had what it took to be competitive for any length of time. Under the leadership of Ricciardi, the Jays now find themselves in transition - the gap between the veterans and the young players is too great to be able to gel into a contender; they are likely going to lose their best player after next season and it won't be long before their best pitcher leaves too. Under Ricciardi, the Jays have gotten away from some of the practices that made them so good for so long - most notable in my mind is the lack of players from Latin America...the Jays used to have an academy in the Dominican, now what do they have? There is a pattern being established in Toronto under Ricciardi's leadership - take a look at the starting lineup and compare it to what the starting lineup was 3, 4 or 5 years ago...the difference is pretty noticeable.

What Ricciardi did with his off-season acquisitions was throw his team's salary structure completely out of whack to the point where he won't be able to pay anyone down the road. What is Vernon Wells going to want in terms of compensation? What is Roy Halladay going to ask for? Ricciardi is going to have a lot of questions that he can't possibly answer. So in typical fashion, the Chickenhawk comes out and says that its not his fault that his team can't compete - its a money thing. Tell it to the Minnesota Twins who are good every year, tell it to the former owners of the Montreal Expos who put very competitive teams out there for half of your payroll.

What does all this mean? Well, for me it means that I can get a great seat at the Rogers Centre when I go see the Sox and Jays later this month - Toronto has given up on the Jays, so there are lots of great seats. Why not come down and join me?

In a preview of the Hazies to follow later tonight - Ryan Howard hit three HRs against Atlanta yesterday giving him 52 on the season. Albert Pujols also hit three HRs against the Pirates...if you have read this page, you know that Albert is a member of Hazel Mae's Hackers.

Not a good day if you are Steve Foley - the Chargers LB was involved in an altercation with police that led to him being shot.

That's about it for today gang...have a great one peeps!


Everything may appear to be up in the air but it really isn't. The people you are working with and for are just trying to figure out a way to utilize your talents. A change will be in your best interest. 4 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world...if the gang at NESN can't figure it out, I've got a suggestion or two.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - because as Renee said this morning, we woke up to a threesome in the Hazelspeeps Fantasy Baseball Pool, with Renee sandwiched between Shuggy and I - all tied for 2nd place. Its one great way to start the day and makes you just wanna get up and dance.

Look Who's Dancing - Ziggy Marley

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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