Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Rios Factor

So Blue Jays GM J.P Ricciardi has made it pretty clear that the Jays' roster for next year is going to look remarkably similar to the Jays' roster from last year. Ricciardi is stubbornly insistent to prove that the team he built for '07 was a winner and he's going to do that by making no significant changes to the team for the upcoming season. This is about as childish as it gets for general managers.

Ok, so the Jays had a some ugly injuries last year, B.J Ryan was out all year and Vernon Wells might as well have been and so J.P wants to prove to all the naysayers who slagged the Jays that what he put together was actually capable of winning if only we hadn't had all those injuries. Whatever. This is how you know the Jays are not an elite team. Look at New York and Boston. They had good teams last year, not theoretically good teams like Toronto, but objective, observably good teams and you don't see them standing around telling their fans hey, we're such good teams that we don't need to improve. Hell, the Red Sox won the World Series and they're the ones at the head of the pack for Johan Santana. Good teams don't tell people they are good teams, they go out and act like good teams. If J.P was serious he would call last year a wash, recognize that shit happens and move on and act accordingly and acknowledge that the teams around him are quickly moving ahead while he pretends that this is still 2007.

There is some small glimmer of a trade in the works for Ricciardi and the Jays after the sunny Winter Meetings. It's hard for GMs to resist the temptation of tinkering once you gather them all together and J.P is nothing if not a GM. The only problem as it stands is that with this trade J.P might just be clipping these Jays' wings.

The proposed trade is Alex Rios, the most consistent thing in black and silver for Toronto last season, and Tim Lincecum, a young hot shot stud pitcher out of San Fransisco. The Giants are sitting on their hands here, and I'm glad they are because I'm not sure the Jays can afford to give up Rios' power or glove heading into next year. Who do they have to replace him? Do you play Matt Stairs? Is Alex Lind capable of really replacing Rios? The conventional wisdom is you don't give up a player like Rios for a pitcher, even a pitcher nicknamed "Franchise", who is only going to play once every five days.

I don't like how this smells. I can't see how Ricciardi could possibly give up Alex Rios without anything to immediately replace him. I mean, remember the last two months of the previous season? The Jays were receiving pitching, they were getting really, really good pitching in fact, but the bats were completely missing, and you aim to fix this by giving up the only guy who was hitting worth a damn? I don't know.

The only way this trade works, Rios for Lincecum, is if Ricciardi wheels around and makes another trade, say, I don't know, McGown for Jason Bay, or whatever. I say Jason Bay because wouldn't that be amazing having the second best Canadian bat in the majors playing for Toronto? Yes it would. And then Ricciardi could whip around again and trade for Eric Bedard and all of a sudden I would never ever say a bad thing about JP again for as long as he was GM no matter what he did. Is JP capable of moves like that? I mean, it just doesn't make any sense to leave such a hole as Rios would create in the outfield without anything to fill it right? And JP has said he would like to up the Canadian content on this team and while Matt Stairs is nice (did he really need two years?), he's no Bay or Bedard. Nobody is safe on Baltimore, we know that, and it's not like Pittsburgh has anything going on and I don't see why this isn't possible, save for the fact that Jays might not have the depth in the farm system to pull this off. I don't know.

So here's what I want: if Rios must go, and I really don't think he does have to, Ricciardi you darn well better have some kind of master stroke genius trade in your other sleeve to replace him. What can I say JP, I've lost faith in you. I no longer believe you can do what's best for this club. So just don't screw this up please. If you are going to make a trade, think big. Think really huge blockbuster big, blow the roof off the top giant. You know? Make us care. Detroit went big by trading with Florida. You can top that Ricciardi.


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