Joe Posnanski writes about JP Ricciardi, again, and points out some of the contradictions in the Blue Jays GM.
“You would really like J.P. if you got to spend some time with him,” one friend in baseball told me. “He’s really a good guy and a good baseball guy.”
“You would really hate J.P.,” another friend in baseball told me. And so it goes.
The article discusses the two sides of JP, is he a "scouts guy" or not, does he embrace sabermetircs or not, can he compete on a low payroll in the AL East or not? (you have to get through the Michael Jordan stuff to get to the meat of the JP commentary).
He also adds this comment which is new to me:
On the one hand he seems a smart guy, on the other hand several people who have worked for him have told me that he does not want dissent or thoughtful dialogue in his organization, which is pretty dumb for someone trying to beat the Yankees and Red Sox.
We have discussed JP a lot on this site but I think this article lays out the enigma that is JP.
The story also discusses an interview with JP that the Canadian Press published this week where JP says that whoever the GM is in Toronto the team will have trouble competing in the AL East. On one hand you can say that is the reality of life in the AL East but several writers have taken umbrage at that statement claiming JP is reversing his opinion when he was hired. Also other writers have complained about the defeatist attitide in his comments. Competing with Boston and the Yankees can do that to you.
Peter Gammons of ESPN is sympathetic to the Jays predicament in fighting the Yankees and Red Sox for a playoff spot each season. He writes in favour of adding an extra wild card to the playoffs.
On the other hand, it would be an advantage to teams such as the Rays and Blue Jays that compete against the economic powers in New York and Boston.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post agrees with Gammons:
But I do feel for the Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays who do have to compete annually with the Yankees and Red Sox. And it is because of them that I have added another reason for an extra wild card.
Back in the eighties and nineties teams like the Jays could compete with the Yankees and Red Sox because those teams were poorly managed. However with the big dollars in baseball now, and thanks in part to Michael Lewis's Moneyball, teams are very aware now of the importance of good management. Today it is hard to see a time when the Yankees and Sox will fall back to earth. This is not really a baseball problem but an AL East problem. But baseball could turn into a north american version of european soccer where the same teams compete for the championships every year and the lesser teams compete to finish in the top fourth of the leagues knowing the top spot is out of reach. Will the AL East become a league where the Jays consider it a victory if they finish third?