State of the Franchise

BetterTORONTO — So I was simply too glued to CNN watching coverage of Super Tuesday last night to blog after coming home from the Jays’ State of the Franchise gathering downtown.

My biggest complaint about the event was the food. For those of us training for a marathon, is it too much to ask for a veggie spread? OK, even for those of us not in my shoes, hot dogs, pizza, wings and fries were not what the doctor ordered. I know they were going for the whole ballpark feel, but I was at a fine hotel establishment, not in line for a slice of pizza at the Rogers Centre. But I digress…

There were plenty of softballs heaved at Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi and team prez Paul Godfrey, but  there were also some interesting remarks made on Tuesday night. The most "heated" complaint from the fans (two grabbed the mic to bring it up and each got some claps from the crowd) was Ricciardi’s insistance on backing John Gibbons as the manager. To make his case, all Ricciardi had to do was point out Gibby’s career record and the fact that he’s fielded winning clubs in spite of injuries over the past two seasons. Touche.

"If you brought Connie Mack back, he wouldn’t get you 100 wins with those types of injuries," Ricciardi said.

Another item by Ricciardi raised some brows and it hardly flew over the heads of fans, especially some of the more well-known Jays bloggers out there. A fan asked why Ricciardi would even consider trading someone as talented as Alex Rios to the Giants for Tim Lincecum. Ricciardi responded with this mind-boggler:

"When we were presented with that, we thought long and hard. And obviously we value Rios more than we valued the other guy, and that’s why he’s still here."

Then what was all that talk at the Winter Meetings about the decision to pull the trigger being in the hands of Giants GM Brian Sabean? Ricciardi indicated back then that if the Giants agreed to the trade, it was a done deal. Then, when San Francisco signed Aaron Rowand, Sabean said the trade with the Jays was off. Ricciardi’s latest seems a little contradictory.

This isn’t to say that the Jays don’t value Rios a lot. Obviously, they do. They’re still talking to him about a long-term deal. It’s Ricciardi’s job to also entertain trade offers for players like Rios — "It’s always brought up, ‘Would you trade Rios? Would you trade Rios?’ As a general your manager, your response is , ‘Well, what are you willing to give us?’" — but saying now that the Jays put the kibosh on the proposed Giants deal doesn’t line up.

Some other items from the event to note:

–Ricciardi believes B.J. Ryan will be ready for Opening Day
–The Jays are still talking to Aaron Hill about a multiyear deal
–Jays are just under $1 million tix sold, higher than recent years
–Jays are only one of two teams to increase attendance over past five years
–Frank Thomas is going to head to camp earlier than usual
–Ricciardi said David Purcey could join the Jays as a reliever or starter this year

Ricciardi also reiterated that the Jays are done making moves, saying: "We don’t have any more money. We’re done. What we’ve got is what we’ve got. Someone would have to be really, really be looking for a job and would have to come to us on a Minor League deal. I don’t see that happening right now."

Godfrey chimed in multiple times as well, tackling issues like a salary cap, unbalanced schedules and how the Canadian dollar has helped payroll. In short, he would support a salary cap even though players wouldn’t, he’s fought with MLB about changing to a balanced schedule ("I think [Bud Selig has] other things on his mind these days.") and he claims the strength of the loonie is a reason why the Jays’ payroll has jumped from roughly $50 million to more than $90 million. That last one also didn’t completely compute, but Mike Wilner already did the math, so I’ll point you in his direction.

With that, I’ll leave you with this fine exchange between a fan and Ricciardi:

Fan No. 1: "One year after the fact, do you still see the Wells signing being worth the $17 million per year, or whatever the exact figure is? To me, he’s Xavier Nady with slightly better defense."

Ricciardi: "Yeah, we’re very happy with the Wells signing. I think when you look back at the end of that signing, when you see where salaries are going and the direction threy’re going for those types of players, we’ll end up having a good player and he’ll end up performing really well over those seven years. I don’t think he’s Xavier Nady. I think he’s a pretty good player."

Fan No. 2: "I just wanted to comment about that Xavier Nady comparison. Buddy, you don’t need to kick J.P. between the legs."

Now, back to those political races…



    Wow J.P. really pulled one out of his *** on that answer. I seriously dont think he should be allowed to talk, cause he makes himself look dumb. I mean he is a pretty good GM (in my opinion), although somtimes I wonder if the best moves he makes are the ones he isnt able to make. But is it really that hard to keep your story straight? Like seriously, all he had to say was he was looking to aquire one of the best young pitchers in the game, and it would take a talent such as Rios to get that. Was that so hard? Maybe there was more too it behind the scenes, or maybe he is just a *******.


    Well said, tothdenny, he was definately trying tip-toe around that answer. Maybe, he didn’t want to upset Rios if he heard what J.P. said for whatever reason. He might have been trying to make him feel valued since he didn’t get the 5.6 mill he wanted or his agent wanted. I don’t know.

    Its disturbing being lied to however … Watch Lincecum win the Cy Young or ROY if he is still eligible??. Then he will really look bad for that comment. Just for the record, as a fan i hope that doesn’t happen.


    I personally feel that the balanced schedule idea is a copout, an excuse. Not only do we play Boston and New York 38 times, but we also play Baltimore and Tampa 38 times. We don’t need a winning record against Boston and New York to have a shot at the playoffs, but we do need to win 95-96 games. To do that, we need to play better on the road, and we need to win the games we are supposed to win.
    Personally, I love to watch the Jays sweep Boston at Fenway. The more, the better.


    How come no one grilled J.P. about the Rios for Lincicum after he claimed that it was him that put the kibosh on it ?
    I remember him saying that he’d rather not deal an everyday player for a pitcher but if that was the price it takes then so be it.

    I still would have wanted that deal to happen.

    I guess no one there (besides Jordan and Mike Wilner) remembered that the initial payroll increase (under J.p.) didn’t occur when the dollar was on par with the u.s. so how is it now that they are at $90mill. because it is on par.


    I feel that Tampa will actually be a decent team this year. Cleveland and Detroit on the other hand will now play the twins, Chicago and Kc 38 times. You tell me whether or not that is an advantage ? KC to me is weaker then Tampa or Baltimore for that matter. That said you do make a great point in stating that the jays do need to play better on the road and beat teams they are supposed to beat.


    Is there no same with the comments about the dollar from geoffryend to the lies this man? Ricciardi is willing to tell,same about comments from Godfrey about the $,I like our team this year but when management lies to us fans ( who just happen to pay his wages)you have to wonder at their capability , said it last year ,say it again Abner, & Ricciardi need to go.. can’t be trusted,


    Off topic, it looks like Clemens is in some kind of trouble, what with McNamee apparently having syring-ical proof.

    In other news, keeping syringes from seven years ago is creepy.


    haha ya thats what i though, why the heck would this guy still have thos syringes lyin around? definatly wierd!?


    Curt Schilling might be done for the year! Considering that Boston still has a deep rotation it’s better knowing that depth wise they have been a little depleted.


    I agree, seeing Schilling go down for the season, puts a kink in there armor, I hope it works out for us in the end.


    I know we are in a tough division, but we actually played New York (8-10) and Boston (9-9) very well. On the other hand, we only went 10-8 against Baltimore who melted down last year, and against Tampa, one of the worst teams in baseball we were 9-9.

    I know Tampa will be better this year, but if the Jays can stay healthy this year they should be a big improvement over last year.


    McNamee used to be a NYC cop in the early 90’s so he’s used to creepy things.
    I dunno about Schilling. I think I would rather face him than some of the young guys they have waiting in the wings.


    Schillings might be done for the season. It’s about time, the Red Sox are due for a season of injury after there invulnerable to injury season last year. We on the other hand are due for a non injury season and then some, so let’s all hope for the best.


    As gnorman said McNamee use to be a cop so although his keeping things for several years seems creepy to us , its evidence to him . Don’t forget there were already rumblings about a potential PED investigation in 2000-2001 and thats when this supposed evidence is from. It was stated if there was an investigation, McNamee knew Clemens would deny everything so McNamee was in self preservation mode and filed his evidence away until needed


    I am kind of sorry to hear about Schilling as he wanted this to be his last yr and he certainly didn’t want to leave baseball this way , if thats what it comes down to.
    I would like to know

    a) Why is Clemens allowed to speak to each committee member privately, when he has already publicly denied use of PED and given a deposition plus he returns next week to do it again and

    b) Why is it that only McNamee’s testimony got leaked

    Something doesn’t seem quite right

    This is an interesting article and gives credence as to why Clemens, or anyone for that matter, should NOT be allowed to have “friendly” chats with congress members before a hearing . Obviously this member has made up his mind before the hearings , its an injustice and kin to witness tampering.

    I wish Bedard were coming here, but he does become a free agent in a couple years so hopefully an effort is made to secure him . That will only happen if the Mariners don’t sign him to a long term contract and he maintains his electric stuff. Its nice to dream ……have a great day all


    Guys what do you think is the Jays Future after 2010.

    Would they be like the orioles or Rays of now? I am pretty sure by 2010 Thomas is gone. Burnett is gone too probably unless the next years Burnett manages to stay healthy and doesn’t opt out.

    Wells might be on his decline (I doubt it). What if Halladay leaves (I HOPE NOT). Will Overbay still be this good?

    Zaun is gone. Stairs is gone. Johnson not looking so good. Rolen probably old too. Eckstein def. on his decline (hope jays don’t sign him for another year, even though i am a fan).

    All I see is Hill in his prime. Rios in his prime or a bit over it. McGowan a potential ace/number 2 starter. Snider in Left Feild. Lind maybe the DH. Diaz/Arencibia managing catching. Hopefully Ahrens recovers and at short. Cecil Brett another potential number 2/3 starter or closer.

    apart from that what else…

    I’m pretty sure there are many prospects we have that i am unknowledgeable of but will they be able to step up.


    The way I see it, you actually answered your own question. The guys you named, (Hill, Rios, McGowan, Halladay and Wells) form a great core, then theres the rookies who are coming up. Losing Thomas, Burnett and Rolen isnt so bad, because that frees up something like thirty million dollars of cash to be spent on other players. You also forgot Marcum and Jansen (hopefully a starter, but definetly an important part of the staff) Losing Zaun is better than it is worse, and Stairs and Johnson are still tossups who have had only one good season in the last four or five. I think the players you mentioned that we’re losing are not as important as the ones who will be here in 2010. And plus, maybe JP will make some real good picks this year that will be ready for 2010 or more likley 2011.

    Thats the way I see it.



    Yea I think the Jays will still be a great team at that time. They have a lot of young tallent in their players. Even if we did lose all of those players to opting out/free agency, we would have a ton of money to rebuild the team with.


    I think it all depends on whether Halladay decides to stay and if wells can rebound.
    Also if Hill and Rios can build on their successful season.

    I fogot about the cash burnett rolen and thomas would free.

    And you are right we do have a couple of years to get some good draft picks in.


    Hey what ever happened to Geremi Gonzalez the pitcher ? Didn’t he almost make the team last year outta training camp ?

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