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We were in the Blue Jays private box, between the radio booth and press row, awaiting the start of a ball game, the rubber match of the Mariners series. J.P. Ricciardi had promised Batter's Box a sit-down to answer some of the questions posed by our contributors and readers. With his wife and two young sons in town, and busy with many other responsibilities, he had run out of time for the second straight day, but J.P. is a man who honours commitments. I joked about him "ducking the hard-hitting interview" and assumed we would reschedule again, so the last-minute invitation to join him was completely unexpected. It was a dream come true for this fan to watch the first nine outs of a 7-2 Toronto win while chatting with the architect of my favourite team.

Most Batter's Box regulars already know his bio: born September 26, 1959 in Worchester, Mass., played baseball and basketball in high school, college ball in Florida. After two seasons in the minors, Ricciardi became a coach at age 23 in the Yankees system, before joining the Oakland organization in 1986 as a minor-league instructor and New England area scout. At 32, he was promoted to East Coast Scouting Supervisor; two years later he became National Crosschecker. In 1996, he became Special Assistant to then-GM Sandy Alderson. Under Billy Beane, his title was changed to Director of Player Personnel. J.P. was hired by the Blue Jays on November 14, 2001 and has four years remaining on the contract extension he signed after rejecting overtures from the Red Sox. He's already improved the talent on the big-league club and throughout the farm system while simultaneously trimming millions of dollars from the payroll. There's no doubt that he's one of the brightest front-office minds in the game, with an energetic, charismatic personality.


The umpires went over the ground rules with the coaches. Fans settled into their seats beneath us. Keith Law, Dickie Scott and the rest of the inner circle entered the bunker, paying no attention to the intruder sitting beside their boss. Knowing my time could be cut short at any moment, and with a long list of excellent questions to ask on behalf of the BB readership, I still thought we should begin with a "softball" or two. Asked what subject other than baseball he might write a book about, J.P. looked thoughful for a moment, then revealed a serious side.

"It would probably be about history. Iím a big history buff; American history, World War II. I like anything to do with leaders, finding out how did they lead, what made them lead, what were their thoughts -- itís riveting to me. Religion, too; I wish I could sit down with Jesus for about two days and talk to him."

The crowd's roar as the Jays took the field was mere background noise. The game itself was going to be an afterthought; a conversation with Ricciardi is an intense experience.


BB: Since moving to Toronto, what about the city do you like most?

JPR: Iím a big city guy. I like New York, Boston, Toronto. This is a great city, with a lot of ethnic diversity, and a lot of life to it when you walk downtown. Itís extremely clean, friendly Ė weíre really, really happy in Toronto.

BB: What makes baseball in Toronto a better bet for long-term success than, say, baseball in Montreal?

JPR: Torontoís a better city from a baseball standpoint. Weíre getting over 20,000 people here, while itís never really taken off in Montreal. Even with all the talent there, theyíve only had one year when they were in the playoffs. This organizationís been to the playoffs a lot; thereís a lot more history here, and I think itís a much better baseball city.

BB: What advantages do you feel the Blue Jays have over other teams?

JPR: Number one, weíre going to have to outwork other people. Weíll have to be better at our scouting and player development. The thing about the position weíre in is, if we make a mistake, it sets us back. When the Yankees or the Red Sox make a mistake, it doesnít set them back. Weíre working on a very thin wire.

Mark Hendrickson begins his warmup tosses, but Ricciardiís attention doesnít waver from our conversation, and he's setting the pace. I'm surprised to be talking almost as fast as he does.

BB: Since taking this job, what moves are you most proud of?

JPR: We have goals, and weíre not even close to them, so weíre proud of a couple of things, but I wouldnít say weíre totally satisfied. Some things have worked out, and some things havenít worked out, but we just try to keep an even keel here, because itís baseball, and itís humbling.

I guess the things weíre most proud about are getting the organization financially straightened out, and having a good farm system. Becoming self-sufficient, where weíre producing our own players, and having a good club at the major-league level.

BB: You likened Billy Beane trading with another GM to the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood. What's it like to trade with you?

JPR: Itís easy to trade between ourselves because we know each other so well, heís not trying to put anything over on me and Iím not trying to take advantage of him. In trades with Billy, or anybody else, we donít mind trading away a good player, as long as we get a good player back. We never feel like itís about pulling a fast one.

BB: Outside of you and Beane, who are the brightest GMs in the game? Who's the most enjoyable to work with?

JPR: Brian Cashman is outstanding. Sure, he has a lot to work with from a financial standpoint, but he still does a great job. Theo Epstein is a real up-and-comer. I like Dan OíDowd, heís creative, and believe it or not, I liked Jim Bowden a lot, because he tried to do things.

Iím not looking to be best friends with all these guys. Brian Sabean was my assistant coach in college, so I know him well, but heís tough to get a deal done with. That doesnít mean from our end that heís not a good GM, just that things havenít worked out. I get along with every GM in baseball, some obviously better than others.

BB: Is there ever such a thing as an untradeable player?

JPR: I donít think so. Having lived in Oakland, where we traded McGwire when we had Giambi ready, then we let Giambi get away and had someone else ready, I think you just have to prepare, and have enough players in your farm system that you can sustain yourself.

When I got here, there were some good players that I inherited, but there were still a lot of gaps and holes weíre trying to fill. When Phil Jackson went over to the Lakers, he inherited Shaquille and Kobe. He didnít have to apologize for that, but he still had to fill some holes.

Kevin Cash fires the ball down to second base. Ricciardi stares at me while the infielders zip the ball around. His look reminds me I'm not up here to watch the game; itís time for a tougher question.

BB: Many of us felt that Roy Halladay deserved a contract extension with his performance in 2002 and the second half of 2001. Did you have reservations that made you wait? Has his performance this year raised his market value beyond what the Blue Jays are willing to spend?

JPR: Last year was the first year Doc really went out there and did what he did, and with pitchers, youíre a little hesitant to give out three and four year contracts without having a total belief. We have that belief now. Unfortunately, the previous regime had put him on a high ticket a little early, so maybe we should have bought him out of his arbitration earlier, but we didnít. Weíve already talked to him, we want him to stay here, he wants to stay here, and weíre going to try to get it done.

BB: Given the long term uncertainty of pitchers, is there a maximum amount of years you will offer a pitcher?

JPR: Weíd have a hard time going over four.

Lurch starts the game with a called strike to Ichiro. I didn't really see it, but can hear the applause.

BB: Where does your job end and Carlos Tosca's begin with respect to player management? In other words, do you give him your input on who should be played and when?

JPR: Iíve told Carlos, I didnít hire him to implement his plan, I hired him to implement our plan. Our manager has to be an extension of us. Weíre in the American League, and we have to play a certain style. So we have a big hand in what goes on in the lineup, but he has some say as far as a feel for things, or certain matchups. We donít always agree on everything, but itís a good relationship, Carlos is on board, and I know sometimes the fans wonder "why is he doing this?" but I think you can do that with any manager.

Suzuki bounces one off Hendricksonís leg to second baseman Orlando Hudson, who throws him out. We are both concerned for a moment, but Mark waves off the trainers and seems to be OK. Relieved, I make my only unscripted comment.

BB: Your pitcher is still a ball magnet out there.

JPR: (Grinning) Yeah, heís a big guy.

Resisting the growing temptation to just hang out and talk baseball, I resume my responsibility to our readers.

BB: It would appear a young, cheap power-hitter like Josh Phelps would be a key cog in the Blue Jays teams of the future. Isn't it a priority to get Phelps as many AB's this year as possible?

JPR: What weíre trying to do is get him the at-bats without crushing his confidence. Sometimes itís a fine line. Keep in mind that youíve got Orlando Hudson, Eric Hinske, Vernon Wells and Josh Phelps, four players in the lineup that are one year of service guys. Weíve got nine guys on our team, like Bobby Kielty, that have less than two years, so weíre going to go through some ups and downs. You donít want to run Josh out there if heís going to strike out nine out of ten times. Sometimes you back off, let him work with Barney a little bit, get his swing, then put him back in there, like tonight.

Ricciardi doesnít miss a thing that happens in the game, even while carefully choosing every word about something unrelated. My multitasking ability pales by comparison. Between listening to what he was saying and scanning my list for the next question, I peeked at random pitches. The game was a blur.

BB: Who's the most underappreciated player on the roster?

He nods a couple of times, as if to acknowledge this as a good question, but thereís no hesitation or uncertainty in his reply.

JPR: Mike Bordick. You look at his leadership in the clubhouse, the way he goes about his business on the field, his work ethic, having our young players like Russ Adams around him in spring training. Chris Woodward has learned a lot, Orlando Hudsonís become a better player because of him, and heís played great baseball for us. Mike would be the guy whoís meant a lot to our club that probably the fans donít see.

Sanchez bounces one to Woodward. J.P. is obviously pleased; Hendrickson is getting them to swing at borderline strikes.

BB: On the major league level, do you attempt to quantify defensive value, and if so, how much weight do you put into that versus visual observation?

JPR: Keith Law does a lot of that, reminding us of the importance of the defensive end. Thatís why we have him here. Weíre looking for the complete player, but we have a $50 million payroll, and sometimes you donít get everything. We have to think of where we play, and whatís important to us Ė we need to be able to score runs, and we need to be able to pitch. Weíre going to put all our resources into offence, especially on-base percentage, and pitching. That may mean weíre a little short defensively in some areas, which we donít want to be, but again, if I had a hundred million dollar payroll, I could address most things a little easier.

BB: Has your experience this year changed your view on building a big-league bullpen?

JPR: We only had about five million dollars to work with last year, and we turned it into Cat, Bordick, Myers, Sturtze -Ė we had to go cheap in the bullpen, because we didnít have a lot of resources left. We value the bullpen; we think that in the American League it may be more important than your starting rotation.

So we havenít disregarded it, we just have to work within our budget. Iíd love to have Seattleís bullpen, but we donít have $95 million right now. Thatís why developing our players through the system will allow us to build a good bullpen.

He stops abruptly; something is happening. I look up to see Bret Boone foul off an excellent 3-2 pitch. J.P. exhales through his teeth.

BB: How important is a player's personality in your evaluation of him?

JPR: After being in this game for a long time, evaluating every day, I can say that a playerís makeup can be more important than his ability. Chris Woodward has twice the skills Bordick has, but Mike is able to overcome his limitations and do things you canít learn just by watching. Delgadoís that type of guy. He plays through a lot of pain that people donít see, but he wants to be in the lineup every day.

Boone fouls away another one. J.P. has become more intense, barely glancing at me between pitches, but still involved in the conversation. Now I'd really prefer to be watching the game, but I have a job to do, and we move on to the next topic.

BB: Do you have a formula for translating collegiate stats? Do you take into consideration level of competition?

JPR: We look at the entire history. We get more background on those players, not only in the college season but in the summer season. Obviously, a guy from the Pac Ten is more valuable to us, but we canít turn away from a guy who played in a smaller school. Places like the Cape league put them on even terms.

Another foul. Boone's a tough out, Hendrickson is keeping him off-balance. Good at-bat, what I've seen of it.

BB: What pro level would you say Division I college baseball is equivalent to?

JPR: (Shakes his head) Itís not even close between college and the pros. Not any level. We can take our Auburn club, play the best college team in baseball and beat them probably seven out of ten times. Itís a whole different environment; anyone involved in player development will tell you that when they get the college player, heís a long way from being finished.

BB: Would you draft a player if he had signability issues?

Boone takes ball four. Though Ricciardiís mouth tightens almost imperceptibly, he doesnít lose his train of thought.

JPR: If there were signability issues because heís been in trouble with the law, or had a problem with drugs or something, we would be a little hesitant to go after that guy, because I donít think too many people change. If itís signability because of money, we may roll the dice a little.

BB: College pitchers are clearly better draftees than high-school pitchers, but will you ever consider drafting high-school hitters?

JPR: College players have been better for us to this point. That doesnít mean that overall, theyíre going to be the better player, we just think theyíre going to be easier to get to the big leagues. We have that much more of a track record on them, having seen them in high school, college and summer leagues. We will eventually take a high school kid, when the timing is right.

While Edgar Martinez is fouling off more Hendrickson offerings, I notice the next question is in multiple parts. To save time, I put my papers on the table in front of him and point to a list of ten names.

BB: Can you give us a comparable major leaguer for some of your best minor leaguers?

JPR: Gabe Gross, maybe Jim Eisenreich with more power. Jason Arnold weíre still trying to figure out; nowhere near the experience, but maybe the command and control of a Maddux. Jayson Werth physically reminds us a lot of Dale Murphy, maybe not with as much of an upside offensively. Alexis Rios is a tough one. Heís got the ability to be a very good player, but we want him to be up here when heís ready...

A momentary pause speaks volumes. Edgar has worked the count full.

JPR: John-Ford Griffin? Maybe Berkman. Guillermo Quiroz is a little bit of Pudge Rodriguez, some Jason Varitek. Russ Adams reminds me a lot of Mike Bordick with a better bat...

Hendrickson gets Edgar to take a half-swing and immediately, J.P. interrupts himself.

"Check it! Check it!" he shouts.

Catcher Kevin Cash does, and the first base ump agrees -- he went around. The inning is over, but J.P. doesn't relax, just continues down the list.


JPR: Dustin McGowan is maybe like a Rich Harden. David Bush is a little like Pat Hentgen, without as good a breaking ball. Adam Peterson throws hard, thatís a tough comparison.

BB: Where would you rank the Jays minor league system today compared to other organizations? If it's not in the top five now, how long will it take to get there?

JPR: I think weíre in the top five. We have a lot of everyday players that are very good. Dickie Scott, our farm director, has done an outstanding job in less than two years implementing our plan, how we want to go about playing the game. Weíve got three teams that are in contention to win and get in the playoffs, which theyíve never had here. We believe that you can win and develop at the same time. We want to win in Double-A; we feel itís important to that group.

Reed Johnson lines one back to Jamie Moyer. You can tell that the GM is not as concerned with the outcome as the quality of the at-bat. He's satisfied.

JPR: Our pitching still has a way to go. We feel weíre two drafts from having enough pitching where we can see the results, that if one guy goes down, we have another guy coming.

BB: Do you intend to convert any more minor league relievers to starters next year? Or vice versa?

Eric Hinske pops out to deep short. Itís no big deal, Ricciardi's body language seems to say, at least he was trying to use the whole field.

JPR: Vermilyeaís in the pen right now, and he may be a candidate to start for us, but we try to see how we can maximize each player, and whatís the fastest way to get him up here. This is the longest Bush has gone, and heís had a great year, but we want to make sure heís pitching here, not on the DL somewhere.

BB: When will you begin to assess any potential Rule 5 draftees?

JPR: Weíll start working on those guys in November, and weíll be working on six year free agents as soon as the list comes out October 15, although weíre going to have a very young club at Triple-A next year, and weíre not going to need as many of them this winter. Itís a great exercise; we sit here for days, turn everyone over and donít miss a guy. Jon Lalonde, Andrew Tinnish, Charlie Wilson, Kevin Briand, and of course Keith Law, Tony LaCava, we all sit down and work really hard, along with the scouts.

Vernon Wells grounds out to short; the Jays go down 1-2-3 without hitting a ball out of the infield. J.P. seems content, and my only worry is that he'll say our time is up.

BB: Are there any plans to modify the Jays' playing surface? Has the team considered "grassy" turf, like the kind in Tampa Bay and Philadelphia? Or does AstroTurf play to the club's offensive strengths?

JPR: Iíd like to see grass. We have to play on turf, us and Minnesota, and it is a factor because you play 81 games on it. Itís hard to have two different teams for home and away, but I like us better when we play on grass.

BB: Has there been any serious discussion of realignment that would take the Blue Jays out of the A.L. East?

JPR: No. Weíre in with the big boys.

BB: This season there have been situations where players have covered up minor injuries and proceeded to miss a large portion of the season. How can you ingrain into athletes that "playing through the pain" often hurts the team more than it helps?

JPR: Thereís a fine line on that. Cory Lidleís a perfect example; heís pitched with a bad groin for about a month and a half. Eric Hinske is another guy who went six weeks with a broken hand. I think heís learned a lesson about being more honest. You never want to take that desire to play away from a player, but some things come with maturity. Our young players are going to learn a lot of things at this level.

Lurch gets John Olerud looking, earning an appreciative nod from the GM. I suspect that he's not usually this restrained watching a game. Neither am I.

BB: What has surprised you the most about being a GM?

JPR: Well, your life is an open book, to people that can take a shot at you at any time. I just laugh, because it comes with the territory, but as to the job itself, I was well prepared, working so closely with Billy. Thereís a lot more tugging and pulling in certain areas, but I stay committed to my strengths, scouting and player development.

Mike Cameron doubles into the left-centre gap. Uh-oh.

BB: After some of the things that people have said about you since you took over as GM, is your skin any thicker now than in the past?

JPR: That depends on what theyíre alluding to. Iíve always had thick skin. I donít worry about what the writers say, because theyíre never going to agree with what weíre doing, and theyíre never going to see it the way we do. The biggest disappointment with the writers in general is that they donít understand that the payroll here is $50 million, going to $48 million, and we're trying to compete in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox. They donít understand the decisions we have to make based on finances.

Thatís why we put so much emphasis on scouting and player development. I know that a lot of the writers are tied to some of the old guys, but we donít think we made any changes that made ourselves worse, we made changes that made us better. I really donít care what the writers say about me, because in the end, they donít really count.

Randy Winn hits a harmless fly ball to Vernon Wells, two down.

BB: In addition to your day job, you were also the basketball coach at Holy Name High School for 11 years. Has coaching taught you anything that you find useful as a baseball executive?

JPR: We had a very good program, one of the best teams in the state of Massachusetts, and we played some great competition across the country. You learn that your team is going to be an extension of your leadership. Here, weíre building an organization where everyoneís on the same page, everybodyís pulling the rope the same way, and from the guys in the clubhouse to the guys in Auburn, they all understand what weíre trying to do. We have a great challenge, and people here who want to accept that challenge.

Dan Wilson grounds to short. The inning, and the interview, is over. J.P. doesn't say anything, but his facial expression and posture make it clear. Rising to my feet, I fish for a compliment.

BB: On behalf of all our readers, thanks so much for this. Why did you agree to talk to us?

JPR: Keith Law told me about the site, and Iíve gone there on occasion. Sometimes I read something there and Iíd like to talk to them personally, and explain they might have a good thought, a good idea. Others are totally out in left field. What I do like about Batterís Box is that every guy on there has a passion for baseball, they have a passion for the Blue Jays, theyíre paying attention to what weíre doing. Sometimes they donít completely understand what my job is, but Iím a fan of the Batterís Box.
An Interview With J.P. Ricciardi | 127 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Andrew Edwards - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#69213) #
Great interview, thanks Coach, and thanks JP.
Pepper Moffatt - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:01 AM EDT (#69214) #
http://economics.about.com
WOW! A major coup for the Batter's Box. Why can't the Star publish anything half this good?

This made me laugh:

We only had about five million dollars to work with last year, and we turned it into Cat, Bordick, Myers, Sturtze...

Gee, where have I heard that before.

It's a shame though that J.P. was implying that Gitz is way out in left field. I think he has the occasional good idea. :)

Mike
Gerry - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#69215) #
Congratulations, that is quite the achievement.

Interesting insight on Phelps and Bordick. Player comparisons are fascinating.

Also Tosca is there to implement JP's plan, not his own.

Great stuff!
_Dave - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#69216) #
Good interview coach.

It must be gratifying to know that you can get close to those in an organization without having to have the millions that a major sports outlet has behind it (as a known brand I mean).

That is what I enjoy most about the internet, getting information from sources outside the main media monopoly (ologopoly?).

Thanks for a great read.

A major coup for the Batter's Box. Why can't the Star publish anything half this good? -Mike Moffatt

Well Mike, maybe it is because Coach realizes that the story is about J.P. and the Jays and not about the writer. Griffin and others often lose sight of the interview in their own self-importance. But you already knew that right? ;-)
_Simon - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#69217) #
Very very insightful. Keep the ball rolling guys! Maybe a Lalonde or Scott next? We could get some very interesting minor league perspective from them.

Congratulations Coach!
_Jurgen - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#69218) #
Torontoís a better city from a baseball standpoint. Weíre getting over 20,000 people here, while itís never really taken off in Montreal.... This organizationís been to the playoffs a lot; thereís a lot more history here, and I think itís a much better baseball city.

Great interview, Coach but that's not much of an answer, J.P. Sounds like MLB-party line. In the late seventies and eighties, the club averaged 2 million a year. You try supporting a club that was really screwed by the lockout, and then further gutted by Loria and MLB. It's not Montreal's fault.
_lurker - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#69219) #
Nice work coach. And of course great work on the site so far (I usually lurk but I'm a big fan).

One comment I found interesting was JP's take on Phelps getting ABs. I wonder if he's actually talked to Josh about this issue, since Phelps doesn't seem too enthusiastic about a quasi-PT role.

If I were a guy in my soph season and struggling, and my team wasn't making the playoffs yet STILL wasn't playing me, that would be a bigger shot to my confidence than struggling while playing everyday. At least that way you have peace of mind knowing you're the one in control - and don't have uncertainty about organizational confidence in you piled on top of any performance hardships.

All people react differently to situations. While some in Phelps' shoes may take it as a positive kick in the ass to perform better when they do get to play, others will be hurt by a percieved lack of faith in them by the organization they were developed by. Based on his reaction, I'd say Phelps falls into the latter category. As does Woodward (not an everyday guy but needs more consistent work).

Similarly, the same holds true with the bullpen. You can dissect matchups and stats all you want, but these are not robots you're moving around out there. If they're throwing well, leave them in and let them gain more confidence. I would imagine this is the most important thing for them to have, especially considering many guys in a cost-conscious pen are probably filled with anxiety about being able to make a living and perform at the major league level already.

By yanking all of these guys around, you're not only stunting their growth as players, but hurting the team. You have to recognize what type of reinforcement your employees react positively to if you want to get the most out of them.

I think JP and his guys have done a great job scouting and implementing an organizational work ethic and mindset, but have been lacking in their ability to handle the issues I've mentioned.

That is all.
_Jurgen - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#69220) #
Others are totally out in left field.

He's talking about me, right?
Pepper Moffatt - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#69221) #
http://economics.about.com
He's talking about me, right?

Could be any of us, really. You'd be the last guy to come to mind for me, tho.

I admit I'm probably the biggest flake on the ZLC, but he still could be referring to Craig Burley. He's a really wacky guy, you know.

I agree with you on the Montreal thing.. he pretty much was rehashing the party line. However the Expos attendance in 1994 still wasn't spectacular. Of course, it's usually the year after a great season where the attendance boost comes and the strike pretty much killed that.

It's a testament to the power of a cartel that an organization like the Expos could be managed so poorly and have so much misfortune yet still exist.

Mike
Pistol - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#69222) #
Others are totally out in left field.

Hmmm.....I used to play left field. Other times I played left out.

Great job with the interview and thanks for asking some of the questions I submitted Coach.

We value the bullpen; we think that in the American League it may be more important than your starting rotation.

It'll be interesting how this works out this offseason. Sounds to me like they'll spend more in the bullpen than the starters than I would have guessed.
_EddieZosky - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#69223) #
Wonderful!

Thanks again and congratulations Coach. Great piece of writing.
Craig B - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#69224) #
he still could be referring to Craig Burley. He's a really wacky guy, you know

No, no, he said "out in left field". This is a reference to the fact that I'm being groomed to replace Kielty in the outfield for 2004 and beyond.
Pepper Moffatt - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#69225) #
http://economics.about.com
No, no, he said "out in left field". This is a reference to the fact that I'm being groomed to replace Kielty in the outfield for 2004 and beyond.

Well, you've got the name for it. I always thought "Craig Burley" would be a great name for a Willie Stargell-esque slugger. A big, gentle giant who hits homeruns and visits sick kids in the hospital.

Griffin and others often lose sight of the interview in their own self-importance. But you already knew that right? ;-)

Geez, Dave, you sound like my About editor. :)

Mike
_snellville jone - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#69226) #
Kudos! I especially enjoyed Coach's inner monologue.
Mike D - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#69227) #
Kent, I gotta ask: What "volumes" do you think his pause about Alexis Rios spoke? Do you think he's dissatisfied with Lexi's development?
_D Meitner - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:50 AM EDT (#69228) #
I always wanted to ask JP if he was a fan of the cutting crew.......
_R Billie - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#69229) #
I think he likes Rios along the same lines as he liked raw guys like Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano when they came up. I just think Ricciardi is more mindful than most front offices about pushing raw tools guys too fast through the minors before their skills have a chance to catch up with their athleticism.

Felipe Lopez might be a prime example of a guy who was really pushed through the system, probably a lot faster than he should have been. Attitude problems aside, we're talking about a guy who's just 22 or 23 and is already viewed as a "failed" prospect in some circles. We saw the way they were cautious with Phelps and Hudson beyond what some thought was necessary and I don't think Rios will be an exception.

Of course, they could always trade Alexis but I don't think they'll be anxious to deal a potential frontline player who could be Vernon, Alfonso, or Garciaparra with the bat. Offence is a strength right now but they can't count on Delgado being with the team even beyond 2004. You might trade him for pitching but that had better well be some fine, bankable pitching you're getting back and not just one guy who could end up hurt or ineffective while Rios becomes a star.
_llsToNe - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#69230) #
I was thinking Rios is such a unique and immeasurable type of talent that its harder to compare him to an established big leaguer, but then again the pause did come after saying he wanted him up there when he's ready, maybe its in reference to hoping to see improvements in his power, or possibly attitude as well.

Great interview, thanks Coach, and its much appreciated JP.
_benum - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#69231) #
Good stuff!

I don't think you can blame him for the 'Party Line' on the Expos. If he blamed the Strike/Lockout, Brochu Stadium-hostage attempts, Loria scorched-Earth ownership, Selig, etc. it could be picked up by a 'real' news service and land him in hot water.

Sometimes I read something there and Iíd like to talk to them personally, and explain they might have a good thought, a good idea
I see more email address fields being populated in the future :-)
Gitz - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#69232) #
Fantastic, Coach. Jurgen, I don't know if J.P. toed the company line all the time. Sure, he gave some pat answers (wouldn't we?), but I found it refreshing, among other insights, that he admitted he didn't care what the writers thought, in nearly those words. Most people would dance around the issue. Kudos to him for saying what, I assume, all GMs think. There may be some Billy Beane in J.P., but it also seems there's some Brian Sabean. That's a good thing. More than anything else, though, J.P. is not afraid to do things his way. That's a better thing.

And thanks to J.P. for clearing up my college questions; I don't know where I heard that college was close to High-A/low-AA, but I'm glad to know what J.P. thinks.

Believe it or not, I'm glad to know what Moffatt thinks, too.
Coach - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 12:40 PM EDT (#69233) #
Do you think he's dissatisfied with Lexi's development?

Not at all. Like llsToNe said, it's a unique talent. R Billie wrote "volumes" and I agree with his assessment. I also got the impression that it was too soon to tell, and that Rios is special, but he would be challenged to keep improving.

Thanks to all for the feedback. I'm getting way too much credit; everyone asked the questions and I was just the messenger. Jordan and Craig helped narrow down the list and along with rodent and Leslie, are excellent editors.

Mike Wilner of The Fan 590 sent a very kind note. If he mentions Da Box on the air tonight, perhaps he'll get a postgame call or two from the Zombie-Like Cult.

More than anything else, though, J.P. is not afraid to do things his way.

Bingo. Nailed it in a sentence, Gitz. He's committed to the plan, and he's assembled other people who get it, including assistants, scouts, coaches, managers and players.
Pepper Moffatt - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#69234) #
http://economics.about.com
Believe it or not, I'm glad to know what Moffatt thinks, too.

Awww.. now I'm getting teary eyed.

I'm glad you're on the site because you've actually played the game at a high level. It leads to a bunch of insights that nerds like me don't have. Plus I owe you one on the Incrediball recommendation.

Thanks to all for the feedback. I'm getting way too much credit; everyone asked the questions and I was just the messenger.

I don't think you're getting too much credit at all. Even though the ZLC helped you with the questions, you're still the one who had to deliver them. It's really easy to completely freeze and forget what you were going to say. Plus you didn't get off track when you easily could have. Those are all impressive things.

The editing of the interview and all the little italicized inner thoughts were terrific. Again, I think this interview/article was better than anything I've ever seen in The Star.

Before this turns into too much of a love fest, I'd like to point out that I'm still the best looking of the ZLC.

Mike
_Andrew Edwards - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#69235) #
Iíve told Carlos, I didnít hire him to implement his plan, I hired him to implement our plan.

...which is obvious from the way Carlos has used the bunt. I'm guessing from what I know of him that he'd like to do it a lot more.

Hopefully, though, it's not JP whose reliever usage I've been complaining about.
_Ken - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#69236) #
Even though I don't post comments very often I read the site everyday, the homepage for almost 9 months.
Consider me another lurker.

Good to hear that J.P. has such confidence in the farm system, and the job he has done in the draft suggests that the farm may only get stronger. It will be very interesting to see the talent after the next 2 drafts.

It's so refreshing to have someone running the team that you have confidence in.

Brilliant coup for the site.
robertdudek - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 02:01 PM EDT (#69237) #
In the case of Josh Phelps, I can see them sitting him against a tough righthander. Josh has a long swing and there are going to be times over the next 3 or 4 years when he strikes out in bunches. Psychologically, I don't think it's quite the same thing when a contact hitter goes into a slump.

Josh needs to work on some technical things and it may be that playing everyday would interfere with his work with Mike Barnett in this regard. The pitchers have changed their approach to Josh compared to last year and he needs to continually adjust to their adjustments.

I discussed Josh' swing with Coach at one of the Pittsburgh games. I thought then and I think now that his swing puts a lot of topspin on the ball, perhaps because he cocks his left wrist before the delivery. The result is sometimes similar to a tennis forehand. The single he hit yesterday was a good example of Phelps' "topspin forehand". I don't think this is necessary bad, but it could be an explanation for his lack of homeruns this year (any pitch that has downward action is going to be either a ground ball or a forehand winner into the outfield).

His two pop ups previous to that might also be the result of a topspin swing. A flatter swing might have resulted in a foul back behind home.

I'm still very optimistic about his future. The key, I think, will be laying off low pitches which he won't be able to do anything with. Shortening his swing with 2 strikes in some situations may help him make more consistent contact.

He's definitely a work in progress, and, considering his numbers this year are not all bad, there is hope.
robertdudek - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#69238) #
R Billie,

Considering how successful F Lopez was at AAA, I don't think he was "rushed". I think he was subject to some sort of bad influence and perhaps didn't have the maturity to deal with it.

Now, it could be that Rios also has a great deal of maturing to do - I have no idea since I've never met him. You can almost guarantee that he'll spend all of next year at AAA, no matter how well he plays. Gross will probably be coming up next summer some time after a half-season in Syracuse learning to make a bit more consistent contact (it appears that strikeouts are his only slight weakness as a hitter. By then, Werth will either be a 4th outfielder or traded and 1 of the Cat/Reed/Kielty trio will be playing for another club.

Rios will likely have a starting spot in 2005 if everything goes well for him next year.
_sweat - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#69239) #
Nice interview here at the B&B(no not bed and breakfast). While I'm not sure he would have given it, it would have been nice to ask JP what he really thought of Raul Mondesi, and if he thought raul contributed to F-Lop's attitude problems.
_BJ Birdy - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#69240) #
Great job, Coach. This is a remarkable thing you've done here.
Mike D - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#69241) #
Thanks, J.P., and a great story for our site. I agree with the suggestion to link to this interview in our left-hand margin forever.
_Shrike - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#69242) #
Hijack: Sinins just reported that the Brain Giles trade just went down to the Padres, as expected. The Pirates get Oliver Perez, Josh Bay and a PTBNL. Perez looks like he's quite something; but I would have insisted on Nady or Bozied in the transaction.
_Jabonoso - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#69243) #
When is part two due?
thanks coach, great, great job. It was like having a date with Madonna ( choose your fantasy ) and thinking about the snapshots your pals asked for...
I'm apalled by JP honesty, wow..
Now I understand much better Keith Laws' statement about JP leadership and clear cut objectives and goals...
_Mick - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 03:57 PM EDT (#69244) #
OK, now how about an interview with Richard Griffin? (No ... I'm not kidding. If I lived within 2,500 miles of Skydome, I'd offer to conduct it myself.)

Coach, you are a gifted writer. This shows in the limited opportunities provided by The WorldWideLeader in Fantasy Baseball, but you really stretched the ol' Grantland Rice muscles today.

You are clearly the second-most talented writer on Da Box. (Let the presumptions and accusations commence.)
_Jabonoso - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#69245) #
By the way, lets not forget that Rios is only 22 years old, from a country where they live with parents at that age and that he is getting comfortable to live alone, learning some english, and harnessing his baseball tools.
The single thing, that i would think, for rushing him and get some benefit for, is to spend some time with Delgado as a mentor. Delgado is a great person a great hitter and of course a great PueltoLican.
Pistol - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 04:31 PM EDT (#69246) #
I agree with the suggestion to link to this interview in our left-hand margin forever.

Really, you could do this with all the BB interviews.
_Gwyn - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#69247) #
OK, now how about an interview with Richard Griffin?

Ha! I love it...

Coach, there's a challenge to really sink your teeth into.

I'm sure you'd have no lack of questions from the ZLC for that one either.
_EddieZosky - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#69248) #
I'm sure you'd have no lack of questions from the ZLC for that one either.

Question #1: Is it difficult to type with your head up your ass?
_Shane - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 04:58 PM EDT (#69249) #
Jim Eisenreich? Who can tell me that upon reading that they didn't plan on heading to Baseball-Reference.com to check out his career stats? Definitely not the player I would have ever thought of for Gross's Major-league comp -- J.P.'s thought about this one before. Maybe it's just me, but I find that to be pretty damm interesting. (I'd have thought Gross more similar to Berkman than Griffin?)

Again, my absolute congratulations to the wildly successful site, and to Kent and his inner-sanctum of writers and editors for yet another top-notch piece. If you were a Toronto sports writer and you found out you're newspapers content was being rivaled and surpassed by a non-profit website whose material and reader following gave a more accurate depiction of what's actually happening with the modern day Toronto Blue Jays i'd be more than just a little bit bummed. And hopefully those particular Toronto media "lurkers" are.

Thanks to J.P. Ricciardi.
_Chuck Van Den C - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#69250) #
Question #1: Is it difficult to type with your head up your ass?

No, I keep my typewriter there too.
_Rich Hacker - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 06:00 PM EDT (#69251) #
What a great interview. This is my first time to this website, and I have just sat here at the computer going over some of the old articles that have been posted here. I am definately adding this site to my favorites list. Keep up the good work.
Gitz - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#69252) #
Shane, to borrow from what J.P. said about sports writers ... they don't care what he (we) thinks(/s) any more than he (we) cares(/s) about them. If the mass media, the newspaper business in particular, was interested in quality over quantity ($$$$), and if their livelihood depended on them putting out a quality product rather than on them getting pimped by cozy advertisers for offering content -- i.e decent editorials -- that would not offend said advertisers, let's just say a lot of tree huggers would have far less to complain about, because there wouldn't be more than a handful of newspapers that would survive in such a system.
_susdajaysfan - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#69253) #
Great interview Coach. JP is rite, every single person who visits this site are hard core Jays fans and are counting the days till we become a contender. Keep up the good work.
_Shane - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#69254) #
Gitz, you're probably right.

But, if our(their) goal is to sell more newspapers through gripping editorials and water-cooler chit-chat over-hype, then i'd hope they could begin employing some "journalists" who major in journalism and not embellishment and pettiness. Those who apply, you know who you are.

Thank you
_Jurgen - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 07:07 PM EDT (#69255) #
Jurgen, I don't know if J.P. toed the company line all the time.

Gitz, I completely agree. It was only in reference to the Expos (and, come to think of it, the turf question, too--sure, let's put grass in Skydome and watch it yellow in a week--great dodge, J.P.) that I was disasstified with J.P.'s answers. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
Pistol - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#69256) #
Shane - I had the exact same thoughts on Gross and JFG (although JFG had high averages prior to this season so that makes a little more sense). And I too went to Baseball reference to check out Eisenrich. Hopefully Gross gets around to Eisenrich's good years before he did (when he was 34).

I certainly wasn't expecting Maddux to be any kind of a comparison to Arnold. Makes me want to look up Maddux's minor league numbers. (nothing overwhelming at AAA or AA in regards to K and BB rates, but a good ERA in the high 2 range - he was also 20 at the time)

The comparisons of the minor leagues was one of the most revealing parts of the interview for me. That and bullpens being as valuable as starters in the AL.

Thanks again to Coach, and of course JP as well.
_Jordan - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#69257) #
You are clearly the second-most talented writer on Da Box.

Thanks, Mick! :-)

So much to comment on, and no time to do it in -- I'm about to disappear into Moving Hell for several days. But first of all, kudos to Kent for a great job, and to JP for taking the time to talk with us.

Like Shane, I was surprised by the Gabe Gross/Jim Eisenreich comparison; he's not the kind of player who's exactly top of mind for instant comps like the ones JP gave. Eisenreich, in case you're not familiar, was a rising star with the Twins in the 1980s whose career was derailed by Tourette's Syndrome and its early misdiagnosis by doctors as a form of stage fright. He eventually got treatment and had some good full-time seasons with Kansas City later in the decade, but he's better known for his inspirational status than for his on-field productivity (career 102 OPS+). That may not be very reassuring for those of us who expect (or at least hope) that Gabe will be an above-average right fielder, but I can see the similarity: in his last full minor-league season (1981 in the Midwest League), Eisenreich batted .319 with a 900ish OPS, 23 HRs, and an 84/70 BB/K rate in 489 ABs. We never really got to see what Eisenreich could have done as a young player, but his combination of solid hitting and plate discipline does look familiar. If Gross can in fact display more power, then we could be looking at a pretty nice package out there starting next July.

In terms of the other comps, all I'll say is that he reeeeally likes John-Ford Griffin to compare him to Lance Berkman, and that I personally would be very reluctant to link any prospect's name with the word "Maddux," no matter how many qualifiers. But all these comparisons are certainly very positive.

Reading between the lines, I'm sensing more than a little impatience with Chris Woodward (Bordick has half the skills but is twice the player, etc.), and some residual annoyance with Brian Sabean, possibly left over from any trade talks involving Jose Cruz Jr. last season. And I love the directness with which he discusses the manager's role; I'll be very interested to see who eventually replaces Tosca when it's time for the Jays to go to the next level. I think a manager certainly should implement the GM's plan, as JP says, but I also think he needs to be a really good field general and clubhouse presence in his own right; filling a uniform isn't enough. Tosca is a very good teaching manager and is ideal for a young club, from all appearances, but he's displayed pretty brutal in-game judgment. I trust the next manager will have skill sets more geared towards winning individual ballgames and weathering pennant races.

I come away from this interview with the strong sense that JP is barely looking at 2005, let alone 2004, as the year of his Fighting Jays: from his viewpoint, he's just finished razing the derelict old house he inherited and is finishing off the foundation. He works fast, and he's not a terribly patient guy -- smart, driven achievers often aren't -- but you can't turn an organization on a dime. A Halladay-Bush-Arnold-McGowan rotation won't debut till April 2005 at the earliest, and even then, young pitchers most always struggle to adjust to the big leagues. The renaissance is well underway, but this won't be a championship-calibre club till 2006, I think. That's okay; I'm more than happy to wait. :-)
_David Armitage - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#69258) #
Great interview Coach, it's a weird experience to sit at a computer reading all this and just smiling because you're so excited that a) somebody is in the position to ask all these interesting questions, and b) that J.P. is a cool enough guy to answer them all frankly, without having to really think about a properly-worded answer.

On a side note, as much as The Star deserves to be chided about the poor writing of Griffin, Baker, et. al, I'll give them a tiny bit of credit for the letters they published today regarding Griffin's uninformed SABR article. While a more desirable solution might be to get writers qualified to write about baseball, this is at least a tiny bit of vindication for all the nonsense people in this city have had to put up with in the dailies lately.
_Cristian - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#69259) #
Great job Coach. Of course I didn't expect any less from you or JP. You even got my question about players hiding injuries into the interview.

Too bad you didn't get to ask him my other question about moving the Sky Chiefs to Edmonton. Don't worry Coach, after a few more of these interviews you'll be able to ask the hard hitting questions everybody (me) wants to know the answers to.
_RN - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#69260) #
It might have been a little dicey to ask face-to-face, but don't you wonder how JPR squares his 'emphasis on scouting and player development' with the recent gutting of what have been the most productive scouting and player development departments in baseball over the past ten years?
_Donkit R.K. - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#69261) #
Excellent job, Coach. I really liked how JP didn't sugar coat the question about his relationship with Tosca. THat was a question I was looking forawrd to, and he delivered.
_Spicol - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:45 PM EDT (#69262) #
Christmas has come and I got everything I wanted.

Great read! Thank you so much, Coach. You're too humble in trying to push away the praise. Know that I really appreciate you asking JP questions on my behalf...one question would have been great but to have him answer three of mine is HUUUUGE. Much thanks to JP too. It says a lot about the guy that he invested that time simply for fans of the team.

Iíve told Carlos, I didnít hire him to implement his plan, I hired him to implement our plan.

This is a much more assertive response than I was expecting. I like that answer a lot.
_David - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#69263) #
Reading between the lines, I'm sensing more than a little impatience with Chris Woodward

I wondered about this as well. I thought he might be referring to an unwillingness to play through pain. Chris' success is a great story, but with JP you know that sentimentality won't save the fan favourites.
_rodent - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:52 PM EDT (#69264) #
Finally had a chance to read the final version of the JPR interview and all the comments straight through. Very satisfactory. You're all so civilized. What moose drool on the BB Primer thread!
Dave Till - Tuesday, August 26 2003 @ 11:54 PM EDT (#69265) #
Great interview, Coach.

On a side note, as much as The Star deserves to be chided about the poor writing of Griffin, Baker, et. al [...]

What has always bothered me about the local baseball writers is that they seem to look down on baseball, the Jays, and especially on Jays fans.

And Mike Moffatt wrote:
Before this turns into too much of a love fest, I'd like to point out that I'm still the best looking of the ZLC.

Woah, talk about damning yourself with faint praise. :-) :-)
_R Billie - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 01:10 AM EDT (#69266) #
It might have been a little dicey to ask face-to-face, but don't you wonder how JPR squares his 'emphasis on scouting and player development' with the recent gutting of what have been the most productive scouting and player development departments in baseball over the past ten years?

I think this was addressed in the interview.

"Thatís why we put so much emphasis on scouting and player development. I know that a lot of the writers are tied to some of the old guys, but we donít think we made any changes that made ourselves worse, we made changes that made us better."

I don't really see what was done with the scouting department as any different to what was done with the major league team. A significant amount of the payroll was pared and resources are being used in a more focused manner now. The overall quality hasn't necessarily deteriorated and in some ways may be better.

There's nothing so far to show that good results can't be achieved with a smaller staff. The Jays have had two pretty good drafts in the early going under the new system. They won't necessarily be the same results or the same kind of players produced as the Jays had with the previous staff. But in general players will move quicker and there will likely be a higher success rate as far as useful major league players (if not volume of star players).
_Another Scott - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 07:29 AM EDT (#69267) #
Great job, guys ...

Things might get real interesting now: in his 7:00 report on FAN 590, Doug Farraway made reference to the interview, specifically "Iíve told Carlos, I didnít hire him to implement his plan, I hired him to implement our plan". I think he said JP would be on with Landry and Rauter soon, so it will doubtless come up (I can't listen now that I'm at work).

However, you may not see a spike in traffic since he said the interview appears at battersbox.com ...
_Another Scott - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#69268) #
My online stream is working for a change, and JP's on now. Ah, turns out the interview was mentioned in today's Star.

Whoa, he's not holding back: "Once again, shoddy reporting by the Star ... I don't tell Carlos when to bunt, when not to bunt ... once again, the Star is wrong, like most of the stuff they report on ... consider the source ... [Landry asks if he's at war with the paper] I don't have a war with them ... I thought part of being a report was having the facts, but I guess it doesn't matter."

Sorry, my transcription skills aren't gonna win any prizes--I may have missed something important. But you get the gist!
Coach - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#69269) #
Thanks, (Another) Scott. I'm listening now and sent Mr. Farraway an e-mail correction.

J.P. called Fenway "a house of horrors" and V-Dub's second great catch "unbelievable". Early in the interview, they mentioned Da Box, touching on the Star's interpretation of his influence with the manager, which I admit I haven't seen yet. When J.P. called it "shoddy reporting," and explained what he said, Don Landry said "that's the impression I got from reading the Web site." I hope "Coach" Landry doesn't mind me using his nickname.

Ricciardi also explained "you need to surround yourself with people that are on the same page as you" when you're trying to change an entire philosophy.
_Another Scott - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 08:40 AM EDT (#69270) #
Err, make that "part of being a reporter", not "report".

Here's the text of the Star item, which doesn't seem to be on the website (I give, and give!):

Ricciardi confirms he's calling the shots

In a wide-ranging interview published yesterday on Batter's Box, a Toronto-based Website for baseball fans, Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi confirmed a widely held suspicion in the media that it's him calling a lot of the dugout shots and not manager Carlos Tosca.

"I've told Carlos I didn't hire him to implement his plan, I hired him to implement our plan," Ricciardi said.

"Our manager has to be an extension of us ... so we have a big hand in what goes on in the lineup. But he has some say as far as a feel for things, or certain matchups."
_Another Scott - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#69271) #
(last post, I promise)

Farraway just said he'll be replaying JP's comments about the Star in his 9:00 update, for those who might want to tune in.
Gerry - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#69272) #
Wilner mentioned the interview as he signed off at 11:30 last night.
_Matthew Elmslie - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#69273) #
So this place is, like, famous now.

I was listening to Ricciardi talking to Landry and Rauter. While it was quite satisfying to hear him tear the Star a new one, I can't help thinking that it was a strategic error on Ricciardi's part to do so. If you pick a fight with the media in the media, the media will win. (Not that Ricciardi started it. He did, however, hit back first, if you know what I mean.)

It's like responding to trolls on a message board. You're giving them what they want. I'm sure the Star loves this publicity; Griffin might get a raise out of it.
_Spicol - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#69274) #
So...it appears a number of media outlets are using my question about the JP/Tosca relationship.

What can we expect by way of royalties? ;)

The Star, and Don Landry if he did say that, are being asinine. This is a standard relationship similar to what you'd see in any corporation. Senior leadership has a plan and the subordinates are hired to execute that plan. JP's answer is nothing shocking.
Craig B - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#69275) #
Following up on Spicol's point, it's a strategic plan, not a detailed battle plan. J.P. isn't giving Tosca signals ("when I pick my nose, call for a pickoff throw to second").

Tosca is hired with a view to implementing the Jays' overall strategic plan... which is, as everyone is pointing out, obvious. Tosca gets free rein to make decisions that fit within the framework of that plan.
Coach - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#69276) #
once again, the Star is wrong, like most of the stuff they report on ... consider the source ...

"Ricciardi is ticked off with the Star," said Farraway in his 9:00 intro, but unfortunately, when he played the J.P. clip, Doug called us "battersbox-dot-com" again. I don't think J.P. is overreacting; he's considering this latest cheap shot in the context of a relentless assault against his management team.

The last thing we intended with this interview was to escalate tensions between the ballclub and the paper. The "Baseball Buzz" item by Geoff Baker, with its "Ricciardi confirms he's calling the shots" headline, is typical of the not-so-hidden agenda of the Star baseball reporters and columnists. I've given Baker a pass on "Rain Man" (mostly a positive piece, edited poorly) and even "White Jays" (he didn't write the headline or run the front-page photo) but today's "widely held suspicion in the media" crack was deliberate provocation.

There have been humourous suggestions in this thread of a Richard Griffin interview. I'm not sure he would accept, but maybe it's time to ask Geoff Baker to step into Da Box and explain his perspective.
_Matthew Elmslie - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#69277) #
There have been humourous suggestions in this thread of a Richard Griffin interview. I'm not sure he would accept [...]

I think it'd be worth trying, though. Not as a pretext for just raking him over the coals, but to get a better idea of where he's coming from, or at least where he says he's coming from. We might all learn things. (Including Griffin.)
_Darryl - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#69278) #
http://www.bluejayway.ca
Don't be surprised if Baker isnt read this already. I found out when the whole "white jays" saga went down that he does read Jays fan sites.
Mike D - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#69279) #
There's been too much incivility on both sides for a stathead-Griffin summit.

I think having Geoff Baker on the site could be a real opportunity for Batter's Box to reach out to more visitors, while normalizing our relationship with the most-read coverage team of the Jays.

By the way, I completely agree with Matthew Elmslie. J.P. should've calmly corrected the Star, rather than shove back. The Toronto media is negative enough as it is, and Ricciardi should be more careful to avoid being grouped with Pat Quinn, who is The Devil Himself. (Just ask Damien Cox.)

OK, so Cox and Griffin are going to take pot shots day after day. But what was up with Dave Perkins today? He trashed all three city GM's as hopeless losers today, even though one just started building his club -- and one hasn't even been hired yet!
_Matthew Elmslie - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 11:33 AM EDT (#69280) #
OK, so Cox and Griffin are going to take pot shots day after day.

Actually, Cox has surprised me on Prime Time Sports in the last couple of weeks. He read Moneyball recently and seems to have taken a couple of sips of the Kool-Aid. He's still no kind of a baseball guy (by his own admission), but it does look like he's come around on the whole Beane/Ricciardi approach to building a ballclub.
_Another Scott - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#69281) #
Matthew, I found that so bizarre--the fact that Cox chose to read any baseball book (on vacation, as I recall). As usual, Bob McCown was happy to debate the merits of the book without actually reading it, as I'm certain will remain the case ...
Craig B - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 11:43 AM EDT (#69282) #
What moose drool on the BB Primer thread!

LOL. As always, rodent has shown us the way. It's tough going over there these days. The technical discussions are excellent, the rest of the discussion content is running into trouble a bit. (I think our articles there are still good).

There is one really good comment there (at Primer), worth preserving, from "kevin"...

"The changing roles in the power structure between GM and manager reminds me of the changes that happened in Hollywood once the studio system collapsed. Under the studio system, it was the producer's film. The director was there to implement the vision of the producer. So you had guys like Selznick, Thalberg and Zanuck calling the shots and making decisions on casting, editing, music etc. The few directors who had clout, like John Ford, also produced their films.

"Now. it is the director who has the clout and the producer is there to be the facilitator. So it's kind that of like baseball only in reverse. The manager is now like the director under the studio system.

I think this is terrifically perceptive.
_Shane - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#69283) #
The bottom line of Ricciardi's philosophy (often lost in the carping about scouts being fired and all the other evils that never seem to be dredged up by the people who matter the most -- the fans) is risk management.

The Globe and Mail may not be as wide read as the Toronto Star, but it employs the best baseball writer covering the sport in Toronto. Jeff Blair, continues too pump out good informative content, while never getting caught up in the down-turn other papers take on their way to emulating the pulpy New York Post. In fact, his tone sounds like much of what fills these boards on a daily basis.
Coach - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#69284) #
Carlos Tosca talked with The FAN about how much he enjoys Fenway Park, and how great Vernon Wells is, then was asked about being ejected.

"He got kind of defensive," said the skipper, who had no intention of getting tossed, and just went out to have the umpire give him an answer to a question.

Finally, they got to the BB interview and J.P.'s reaction. Tosca said "J.P. is constantly on top of" roster moves, especially with regard to pitching, and laughed at the suggestion that the GM interferes with how he runs a game. "We certainly have a philosophy, and I'm all in favour of it," he said, adding that he doesn't read the papers, but whoever printed that information got it wrong.
_Matthew Elmslie - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#69285) #
Oh, by the way, I don't think I said this yet: great interview.
_Matt - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 02:13 PM EDT (#69286) #
Just found this site and god it's nice to know that I'm not the only one driven insane by the pathetic ramblings of Geoff Baker, Steve Simmons and the peerlessly stupid Richard Griffin. I'm sure much of it stems from JP'S alleged comment that Toronto writers know nothing about baseball.(The truest words spoken since Hitler's kindergarden teacher said young Adolph has a bit of an attitude problem.)

One other thing.

Rob Faulds.

Why?
_Sid Frenchman - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#69287) #
Rob Faulds.

Why?


Hi, this comment is all about Rob Faulds, REAL ROB FAULDS. This comment is awesome. My name is Sid and I can't stop thinking about Rob Faulds. Rob Faulds is cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.

1. Rob Faulds is a mammal.

2. Rob Faulds says bizarre things ALL the time.

3. The purpose of Rob Faulds is to flip out and say weird things about what's not really going on on the field.
_benum - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 03:14 PM EDT (#69288) #
What is the joke with the "template" above? It's been in a few threads but I must have missed the origin.
Craig B - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#69289) #
benum, I hesitate to recommend this but:

www.realultimatepower.net

It is hella funny.
_A - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#69290) #
If Rob Faulds had a theme song the www.realultimatepower.net music would DEFINATELY be it =)
_Chuck Van Den C - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#69291) #
Hmmmm, www.realultimatepower.net...

Let me confess my ignorance. Is this meant to be a parody of something?
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 08:58 PM EDT (#69292) #
http://economics.about.com
I was driving through Hamilton today at 5, and the Fan 590 guys (McCown and Cox) kept mentioning JP's comments. They seemed to miss the point. I forget where on Primer I read it, but someone had the great point that there are very few industries where a middle management type (like a field manager) would be given so much discretion. Mike Wilner mentioned that the Star's reaction to the quote should have been, "Well, duh!". Mike Wilner rocks.
Mike
_okbluejays - Wednesday, August 27 2003 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#69293) #
Excellent interview!!

I have to put in a plug for Rios here. I don't mean to sound negative, but I think there are a lot of fans out there who have read Moneyball, stare at OBP and K/BB ratios and fancy themselves pro scouts. Now, while I agree that these are key stats, especially when attempting to project a young player, they are not the only ones that matter. I want to pause for a second to say that I find the level of thinking on this site to be outstanding, which is one reason I follow the site (and also is a reason why I try not to post too much!). Now, I've never seen Rios play in person, which is a shame really, so all I have to go on are the numbers I see (and some reports I've found). Some might view this as a strength after reading Moneyball! But despite my appreciation for sound statistical reasoning, I beg to differ.

Anyways, Rios was always touted as a toolsy guy, and baseball pundits will say that they take longer to develop (if they develop at all). When I see his stats, I see a guy who has improved each year he has played. This year he has taken a giant leap forward statistically, despite being moved up to AA. This is a great sign. He doesn't have the superb K/BB ratio that Gross had at AA, but given Rios' age and progression I see better things for him. If I may borrow a phrase from basketball, Rios has the ability to "fill up the scorecard." He can steal bases, he can hit for extra bases, he can hit for average... I see a lot in his numbers. Most impressively, I see a jump in HR's, and a guy hitting a lot of doubles. Scouts will tell you that a lot of doubles for his age/experience will translate into more HR's down the road.

I'm sure the Jays are trying to encourage him to be more selective in waiting for his pitch (and to take more walks as a possible consequence), but he seems like a guy that might benefit from an aggressive attitude at the plate.

There's no single method or single stat that will tell you how a young guy will develop, though some are better than others. In the case of Rios, I like what I see, and I'm sure the Jays are much higher on him today than they were 4 months ago.
_Greg Holden - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 12:15 AM EDT (#69294) #
Absolutely terrific interview with JP, it was a really nice break from the regular media coverage out there. I've been a lurker for quite a while, and just wanted to take the chance to say thanks for all your hard work and dedication.

cheers
-Greg
_Reed - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 02:42 AM EDT (#69295) #
I was surprised Norm Rumack and Roger didn't talk about the comments on the latenight show
robertdudek - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 08:17 AM EDT (#69296) #
okbluejays ...

In out mid-season poll, Rios was neck-and-neck with Quiroz for the #1 prospect slot, both far ahead of #3. The ZLC and friends have duly noted Rios' impressive performance this year.
_perlhack - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 08:26 AM EDT (#69297) #
Apparently, the Star has "clarified" the situation in this article. Take with the usual grain of salt.
Coach - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 10:21 AM EDT (#69298) #
Thanks for the link, perlhack. The Star is getting plenty of mileage from this, and BB has been mentioned more in the mainstream media the last couple of days than we ever expected.

There have been humourous suggestions in this thread of a Richard Griffin interview. I'm not sure he would accept, but maybe it's time to ask Geoff Baker to step into Da Box and explain his perspective.

I asked, and it just might happen, with Baker and Griffin. Both are aware of the site, and the constructive criticism we occasionally throw their way.

I'm not sure we should invite rude comments and anonymous grandstanding in an "open" discussion; even in the Ask J.P. thread, which was generally very respectful, some offensive posts had to be deleted, and one idiot joined the "permanently banned IP address" list. We are trying to devise an acceptable format -- perhaps the questions should be submitted by e-mail. Stand by for details.
Pepper Moffatt - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 10:42 AM EDT (#69299) #
http://economics.about.com
How about an online form that readers can fill out if they want to ask a question. That way you don't have to plaster an e-mail address all over the place if you don't want to and all the messages on the topic can have the same title such as "Questions for Baker". It makes organization a lot easier, plus readers don't have to open an e-mail program if they don't want to.

I've got a couple of forms on About and they work like a charm. Here's what mine look like:

User Feedback Form

Submit A Story to About Form

Cheers,

Mike
_Jonny German - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#69300) #
I find the level of thinking on this site to be outstanding, which is one reason I follow the site (and also is a reason why I try not to post too much!).

Wow, I've got a cyber-brother! It's an annoying bit of irony: The people who aren't instinctively following the "try not to post too much" credo, the good folks who just like to see their name posted even when they have less than nothing to say, are probably too ignorant to know who they are.

Be cool Moffat, I'm not talking about you.
_kris from Burli - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 11:11 AM EDT (#69301) #
Wow, great interview. It was nice to get insights from the man in charge of buildiing the Jays while watching the game itself. Personally despite JP's answer I think the handling of Josh Phelps has still be pretty poor. Reed Johnson hitting leadoff also contradicts the Jays's reliance on numbers philophy has he has terrible numbers since July. Still this was a great read and keep up the awesome work.
_Chuck Van Den C - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 12:21 PM EDT (#69302) #
Personally despite JP's answer I think the handling of Josh Phelps has still be pretty poor.

I agree. I would be very disappointed to know that Ricciardi truly defended Tosca's Phelps usage, as he alleges. However, I would also be disappointed to know that he didn't condone it but is choosing to do nothing about it.

I am having a difficult time reconciling the seeming anti-Phelps sentiment with my trust and confidence in Ricciardi.
_kris from Burli - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#69303) #
Furthermore on the Phelps issue, he goes 2 for 4 with a 3 run bomb against the A's, comes back with a 3 for 4 game against the Red Sox and who gets the start at DH??? Greg "thanks for the career year but we are playing for the future now" Myers! Phelps shows great signs of coming on strong and they proceed to sit him against, not Pedro but Jon Burkett. What the heck is going on here and after getting wise and moving Reed Johnson to the bottom of the order there he is back at the leadoff spot. Johnson gets hit by a lot of pitchers but his K to BB ratio is 48 to 15 definitely not leadoff material. He does many things well that make him an ideal 4th outfielder on a good team period.
_okbluejays - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#69304) #
Robert Dudek...

That's good. As I've said in a few of my limited posts, I find this site to be really good with thoughtful people on it. I just felt the urge to go off the deep end with a Rant on Rios, since his name came up in some of the posts. I've read the odd negative report on him and I just wanted to let off some steam. Some people just take a peek at his BB/K ratio, dismiss him, then move on. I think it's unfair, and I'm glad that you (and many others on this site) agree.

There are still people that would rank Gross ahead of Rios long term. Certainly, he'll arrive sooner than Rios. Overall, Rios may well be our "best" prospect, but he'd be easier to pry away from JP than some of our SP prospects, for understandable reasons.
Mike Green - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#69305) #
No one has commented on this, but JP did unleash a couple of howlers, or organization puffery if you prefer, in his evaluation of the prospects. JF Griffin as a potential Berkman? Puhleeze. Mike Easler if he gets very, very lucky. Jason Arnold as a potential Maddux? Mike Maddux maybe, but not his brother. It's OK for fans to get carried away about their favorites, but not a good quality in a GM. I'm hoping that those evaluations were puffery rather than sincere evaluations.
_kris from Burli - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#69306) #
JF Griffin as a potential Berkman? Puhleeze. Mike Easler if he gets very, very lucky. Jason Arnold as a potential Maddux? Mike Maddux maybe, but not his brother. It's OK for fans to get carried away about their favorites, but not a good quality in a GM. I'm hoping that those evaluations were puffery rather than sincere evaluations.

Nice observation and good point. Jason Arnold is a top 20 pitching prospect maybe and definitely not in the class of Maddux. In fact some prospect reports on Arnold have him more suited to the bullpen than a big league starter due to lack of a third pitch. I wont comment on the JF to Berkman comparison for fear of a Quiroz collasped lung from laughing so hard. JF projects as a 20 to 25 homer maybe 300 hitter. Maybe.
robertdudek - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#69307) #
I always compared Griffin to Rusty Greer.
_kris from Burli - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#69308) #
The best comparison to Greg Maddux is Zach Greinke. No one else is even close. Rusty Greer is a good comparison for JF we can only hope that he comes close to that though he wont play as good outfield defence and probably projects to play DH or first base.
_Matt - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#69309) #
So who are the corner outfielders bookending Wells at this time next year?
Gitz - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#69310) #
Is it conceivable J.P. is trying to inflate Griffin and Arnold's value to trade them (yet again for those poor kids!)? I'm not saying that J.P. expects other GMs to read Da Box, but perhaps this is the beginning (continuation?) of a longer-term strategy to pump their value. Arnold had better start looking like a prospect real soon, because at this rate a Mike-Maddux career path may even be out of reach. I still like him, but I wish he would start pitching like the player many of us here thought he could be.
_kris from Burli - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#69311) #
Next year I would say Kielty and Rios by this time. Rios is that good, though if they play it safe maybe Gross and Kielty. The question is will Vernon be here? I know it sounds crazy but one paper had a rumour of Wells going to Texas for a package including Teixeira and some young pitching. I think its safe to say that Orlando Hudson and one of the Jays young hitters or outfield prospects will be moved for pitching. Its a shame we couldnt get Blanton for the A's for Escobar.
_kris from Burli - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#69312) #
Next year I would say Kielty and Rios by this time. Rios is that good, though if they play it safe maybe Gross and Kielty. The question is will Vernon be here? I know it sounds crazy but one paper had a rumour of Wells going to Texas for a package including Teixeira and some young pitching. I think its safe to say that Orlando Hudson and one of the Jays young hitters or outfield prospects will be moved for pitching. Its a shame we couldnt get Blanton for the A's for Escobar.
_okbluejays - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#69313) #
At the risk of getting laughed off the site, I'm gonna vote for Kielty and Werth. If I'm the Jays, I start Gross and Rios in AAA next year. I think Rios is a good bet to spend the entire year in AAA. No need to rush him. I can see Gross getting a look in spring training, but I'd send him down with the idea that he gets first crack at a callup if a position opens up or if he simply hits his way onto the team.

As for Werth, I don't see superstar written on him, but he does strike me as a useful player, despite his stats this year in AAA. Maybe a career utility OF. At this stage, he's still fairly young and he's cheap. Why not throw him out there and see how he does? If he bombs then no harm done - he wasn't one of our better prospects. If he does well then you've maximized our assets. We could trade him if Gross pushes him, or could keep him and trade another OF for whatever we need.

Now, the question did ask who would be in our OF around THIS time next year. If Werth stinks it up he won't get any sympathy from the organization and he'll be outta there quick, but I thought I'd add a dissenting voice. I imagine Gross will win the majority opinion (which is understandable).

And I should add this. I don't see the Jays spending money to bring in an OF in the offseason. I imagine every penny will go towards bullpen/SP help, with a couple of dollars for a Bordick replacement.

And I realize that I have completely ignored Reed Johnson. Sorry Reed...
_okbluejays - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 09:07 PM EDT (#69314) #
A quick word on Hudson. I really like him, but mainly because I think he is hilarious to listen to in an interview. I don't think he's in JP's long term plans. Yo, O-Dawg, if you're reading this - don't buy a house!!! I wouldn't be surprised to see Adams in AAA to start the year next year, and if he does well, maybe we can move Hudson along and bring up Russ.

And this brings up an interesting possibility. I know JP said that he liked good defence, but didn't think he could pay for it. Well, judging by Adams' error totals (34), it's clear he's a prospect for his hitting. Imagine an infield with Adams, Hinske, Woodward, and Phelps for a moment. Defensively, that is frightening! I wouldn't want to be a ground ball pitcher in toronto if that lineup gets trotted out.
_Shoeless - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#69315) #
Can anyone explain to me how Reed Johnson fits into the "program". By all accounts Reed is a pretty fine fellow so absolutely none of this is personal, but as a leadoff hitter, as any kind of hitter, he stinks, to say the least. And to top it off he has shown no signs of developing the attributes of the Ricciardi program ... he has a poor on base %, few walks, too many ground balls to 3B. What if his 300 or so ABs this year had gone to find out Jason Werth's true value. Anything but watch Johnson pound the ball to 3rd over and over again. Sure he was hitting well over .300 for awhile ... a long time ago. His OBP in July was .298 and Aug .290 much aided by his 10 and 4 walks respectively. I think we have a good handle on the kind of batter he is and is going to be. So why is he here and batting leadoff?
_Matt - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 10:18 PM EDT (#69316) #
Werth is a great athlete and seems to have a super quick bat. The stats don't show it but maybe he'll be a late bloomer.
robertdudek - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 10:34 PM EDT (#69317) #
I don't think Werth will ever hit major league pitching with consistency. Too many strikeouts. I'll be glad to be proven wrong, though.
_kris from Burli - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#69318) #
I agree with Robert Dudek, I dont think Werth can hit major league pitching on a consistent basis, and I think thats why we havent seen him. As for Reed Johnson I dont think he is anything more than a 4th outfielder as there is a reason why he has never made any prospect lists before this year as he isnt one at all. Eric Byrnes, Reed Johnson they are all the same, nice back ups play hard when they get the chance. Rios can hit but will JP trade him??
_Reed Johnson - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#69319) #
Can anyone explain to me how Reed Johnson fits into the "program".

Maybe because I see over 3.8 pitches per plate appearance.
_Spicol - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 11:06 PM EDT (#69320) #
As for Reed Johnson I dont think he is anything more than a 4th outfielder as there is a reason why he has never made any prospect lists before this year as he isnt one at all.

Do you have any legitimate reason for feeling this way? You've made a pretty general statement here.

Reed put up fine numbers in the minors. He was always a year old for his level but hit for a high average, put up good walk rates, had great speed and average to above average power. It was only last year, when he lost much of the year due to injury, when he really fell off of the radar screen and stopped walking, for whatever reason. Will he ever be an all-star? Unlikely. But he should be a productive major leaguer. He's a rookie...he should develop further.
_kris from Burli - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#69321) #
Point taken on Reed as far as making a "general statement". He had a good year in 2001 I will give him that but 13 homers is very average power. He does run well but he was older at every level and his stats at high levels in the minors are too small a sample to say he is legit. One good year in double A when you are 24 years old is not a prospect. I think he is a great 4th outfielder on a competing team but definitely not a starter or leadoff hitter. He is hitting .269 and has a poor k to bb ratio right now with average power at best. A leadoff hitter with a poor obp dosent do much to score runs even if he see's 3.8 pitchers per at bat. He has never made Baseball America's top 10 Blue Jays prospects or even the top 15 and they do look at more than just tools. Plus since July he has been hitting less than .225 and quite frankly hasnt been doing much of anything offensively at all.I like the way he plays but once Rios,Gross and JF come up he wont be playing much and I cant see him being a major league regular.
_Simon - Thursday, August 28 2003 @ 11:55 PM EDT (#69322) #
I guess that seeing more pitches per at bat is the same as getting all those walks? I don't know, are they the same thing? I mean, it's one thing to take a few pitches and then ground out, but it's different to take a walk. When the count's 1-2, or 2-1 it's very different than 3-2, or even 2-2. I even know that from my rec softball league.
_Kris - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 12:16 AM EDT (#69323) #
Obviously seeing all of those pitches isnt helping Reed take a walk as he has only walked a paltry 15 times this year. If we want to go by OBP for a leadoff hitter why not put Kielty in there. His OBP is .366 right now despite his recent slump and last year he was at .405. In 308 at bats Johnson has 15 walks vs Kielty's 64 in 346 at bats. Johnson isnt doing anything with seeing all of those pitches to get on base.
_Matt - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 12:31 AM EDT (#69324) #
I think Hinske is going to bounce back next year, gut feeling more than anything. If Kielty gets to the next level between those two and Delgado you could be looking at 260-280 walks next year which would help prevent an offensive drop I expect a lot of people are going to predict for 2004.
_David Armitage - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 03:12 AM EDT (#69325) #
I think the point about taking pitches was that regardless of what happens in the at-bat, the more pitches Reed takes, the more he wears down the pitcher for the guys following him, which gets more important as the game progresses. One of the things that has really impressed me this year is how many times the Jays have knocked out good pitchers after five innings of work, based on pitch counts alone.

I disagree with whoever said that Reed runs well. There is a difference between running well and running fast that often gets clouded when people talk about how they run the bases. You only have to look at the previous week to see exactly good examples of his great baserunning.

I think Hinske is going to bounce back next year, gut feeling more than anything. If Kielty gets to the next level between those two and Delgado you could be looking at 260-280 walks next year which would help prevent an offensive drop I expect a lot of people are going to predict for 2004.

What are you basing any of this on? Why are they going to drop off, especially given the depth of hitting just waiting to break through in the next few years?
_Spicol - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 07:38 AM EDT (#69326) #
I disagree with whoever said that Reed runs well.

I don't think anyone said that. I said he has great speed. Baserunning is something that can be learned and continue to be developed, to a degree.
robertdudek - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#69327) #
I'd like to note that O-Dog leads the A.L. in fielding Win Shares for 2nd baseman and has the highest rate (per 1000 innings). If he can ever figure out lefthanded pitchings he's going to be a very good player.
_Kris - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#69328) #
"I think the point about taking pitches was that regardless of what happens in the at-bat, the more pitches Reed takes, the more he wears down the pitcher for the guys following him, which gets more important as the game progresses. One of the things that has really impressed me this year is how many times the Jays have knocked out good pitchers after five innings of work, based on pitch counts alone."

I think if we ever get to the point in baseball where we value players who see pitches and hit them leadoff despite poor performance in key categories we will be in trouble. Scott Hatteberg see a lot of pitches but yet has a proven track record of getting on base. Reed Johnson as of yet does not have a track record of getting on base. You cant score runs without touching first so though I think it is goreat that Reed has quality at bats and helps to wear the pitchers down how can you put a specific value on that? Maybe I am naive or not able to comprehend how a guy who dosent get on base, dosent hit, but yet still has value to hit leadoff based on seeing pitches?
_benum - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#69329) #
Reed Johnson as of yet does not have a track record of getting on base.
Yes he does. In the minors.

He probably is a 4th outfielder but let him have a slump or two before you write him off.
_benum - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#69330) #
Where's the love for O-Dog?

He's a young, cheap player putting up an 800 OPS v.s. righties with Gold Glove defense. A platoon with Bordick (816 OPS v.s. lefties from 2000-2002; 971 this year) gives you near All-Star production from 2B. If the Jays were contenders, they would have a 7 Million dollar (in quality) Frankenbaseman for less than 1.5.

Since they're out of the race, they can leave O-Dog in to flail away from the right side v.s. most lefties.
_Kris - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#69331) #
He probably is a 4th outfielder but let him have a slump or two before you write him off.

He has had a slump or 2 since July. I am not writing him off just stating the obvious. The Sally league hardly qualifies as a proven track record. He had a good year in the Southern League and was then hurt so he has 1 year at Double A or above of a "proven track record".I think an average of under .225 with and OBP of under .300 since July more than qualifies as a slump. O Dog will get us a great pitcher for next year.
_Dave H. - Friday, August 29 2003 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#69332) #
Hey I've only been on this site a few times, but while checking things out on Aaron Gleeman's Twins blog he linked me over to this interview. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this - the questions were excellent and the answers were so fascinating. It felt almost as if I were sitting down and talking to JPR, just by reading it. Thank you for the juicy interview.
_Mike - Thursday, October 16 2003 @ 12:02 AM EDT (#69333) #
http://theauctioncentral.tripod.com
J.P. If you are reading this - GO AFTER DAVID ECKSTEIN from the angels. He will be a good 2 yr (3rd yr option) deal and will fill-in better than Chris Woodward.

Also: Go after Josh Beckett,Keith Foulke, Byung-Hyun Kim, Casey Fossum. (all FA's)

Your more than likely to get Kim because after being left off the playoff roster - he'll likely leave. I would LOVE to have Fossum here too.

J.P. I know you love college players - I know one that is considered to be as good as Joe Dimaggio - Albert Marano SCOUT HIM! Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT)
_Ryan - Thursday, October 16 2003 @ 07:48 AM EDT (#69334) #
Also: Go after Josh Beckett,Keith Foulke, Byung-Hyun Kim, Casey Fossum. (all FA's)

Of those four pitchers, only Foulke is a free agent. The other five don't have the six years of service time required to be eligible for free agency.
_Ben NS - Thursday, October 16 2003 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#69335) #
Eckstein could potentially be a good fit with the Jays, but he is overrated as he doesn't produce much more than Woodward. Because of the Angels' fluke championship last year, he has a high profile and will therefore demand even more money than he would normally be worth. Also, the Jays should spend their money wisely this offseason and that means shoring up their meagre pitching staff.

Ben NS
_Ben NS - Thursday, October 16 2003 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#69336) #
Eckstein could potentially be a good fit with the Jays, but he is overrated as he doesn't produce much more than Woodward. Because of the Angels' fluke championship last year, he has a high profile and will therefore demand even more money than he would normally be worth. Also, the Jays should spend their money wisely this offseason and that means shoring up their meagre pitching staff.

Ben NS
_Mike - Thursday, October 16 2003 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#69337) #
http://insiders3.ezboard.com/ftampabaydevilraysfrm1.showMessage?topicID=843.topic

Click the link above - Read the FA list and tell me which SS you would consider going after that is CHEAP and an upgrade over Woodward.

http://www.bluemanc.demon.co.uk/baseball/mlbcontracts.htm

I looked at that webpage (above) and find the names I pointed out. 3/4 of them are located at the bottom of their respective page (based on last name). They are under One-Year Contracts..
_Ryan - Monday, October 20 2003 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#69338) #
I looked at that webpage (above) and find the names I pointed out. 3/4 of them are located at the bottom of their respective page (based on last name). They are under One-Year Contracts..

I just got back from a seminar and didn't get a chance to respond until now.

Those guys may be on one-year contracts, but they do not have the service time to become free agents (they need six years in the majors). Once their contracts expire, their rights are still controlled by their respective teams. They would only become free agents if their current teams decided to not tender them contracts for 2004.
_sweet d - Wednesday, April 28 2004 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#69339) #
i'd like to talk with J.p whether it be in person or by email
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