Go, J.P.

RANDY J. WILE, GUEST COLUMN

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Great! Another year of J.P. Ricciardi, the man who launched a thousand excuses. Ricciardi convinced Paul Godfrey to hire him as Blue Jays general manager because he knew how to win on a small budget.

He quickly fired one of the top scouting staffs in baseball. These scouts under Pat Gillick and Gord Ash had produced more major leaguers than anyone, except the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Chicago Cubs have done quite well with ex-Jay Tim Wilken at the helm of their scouting department, while Ash has done an admirable job in helping rebuild the Milwaukee Brewers. The Jays farm system is now considered one of the worst in baseball for depth.

Not that Ricciardi isn't a good judge of talent, just ask former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter, who Ricciardi though wasn't worth $200,000 and let him sail off into free agency. Apparently he was good enough to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title in 2006.

Next Ricciardi alienated one of his stars, Carlos Delgado, by saying the first baseman's contract was an "anchor" and they couldn't win until they got rid of it. Ricciardi then switched philosophies, saying the Jays couldn't win on a small budget. Magically, the budget grew by upwards of $50 million after Delgado became a free agent.

Still the team is mediocre.

Bring on the next excuse: The injury bug. That's a valid reason when the minor league dry-dock has nothing to refit the team with and the GM isn't creative enough to patch the holes by trade.

This year's bailout: The team underachieved.

But J.P. refuses to admit the hitters just weren't that good, particularly those he had obtained -- unemployed Brad Wilkerson, Kevin Mench from minor league obscurity, and Jose Bautista.

Ricciardi's record of hiring coaches has to be one of the worst in baseball history. His philosophy of winning baseball was to sit back and wait for the three-run homer that never seemed to come.

Ricciardi always has an excuse! J.P. just come out and admit that your philosophies, methods and judgment are severely flawed.


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