Ricciardi regrets not making playoffs

Ken Fidlin, Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:55 PM ET

BALTIMORE -- During a quiet moment earlier this week in Boston, with the handwriting already drying on the wall, J.P. Ricciardi reduced his imminent departure from the Blue Jays to the simplest level.

“My greatest disappointment is that, after all the things we tried and as good as some of the teams were, we didn’t get to the playoffs,” said Ricciardi.

“And I say that not just for myself but for all the really good people -- and we have a great staff -- who tried so hard and came so close. I’m proud of what we accomplished, but it just wasn’t quite enough.”

Yesterday morning, Paul Beeston and Rogers Media president Tony Viner made Ricciardi’s dismissal as general manager of the Blue Jays official, citing that very reason.

“The record speaks for itself,” said Beeston. “Up until this year we’d had three years of .500 baseball in a row. We won 86 games, 87 games, 84 games, but at the end of the day they weren’t in the 90’s where you want to be. From (Ricciardi’s) point of view he was very disappointed. I don’t know anybody who is more competitive. He worked very hard, he lived and he died with each win or loss.

At the same time he would tell you for certain he wasn’t satisfied with what he had set out to do which was to take the Blue Jays back to postseason play.”

Outside the organization, Ricciardi has been demonized by many as the man who undermined up the franchise. But the people closest to the situation have never felt that way at all.

At times, Alex Anthopoulos, who inherits Ricciardi’s role in the organization seemed close to tears as he talked about his new job and his old boss.

“It’s an exciting day for me but it’s also a tough day for me because a close friend is no longer working with this club,” said Anthopoulos, just 32 years old.

“If it wasn’t for J.P. showing faith in me, I wouldn’t be sitting here today.”

Later, Beeston, Viner and Anthopoulos addressed the team, delivering each in turn a positive message and a commitment to winning. Beeston said he also listened to some player complaints arising from issues players have with manager Cito Gaston, who is under contract for next season.

“They raised the issues,” said Beeston. “They were listened to. They have not been addressed at this time. I had my ears open. I kept my mouth shut. I gave them some comments and that’s all I want to say about that.”

“Cito’s our manager, like Paul said,” said Anthopoulos. “He’s under contract. I think he’s done a good job. It’s unfortunate the things that have leaked out to the media but those are things that we take care of in-house.”

Within the next few weeks, probably by the end of the playoffs, Beeston will introduce his permanent successor.

“There will be a CEO and when that CEO comes in - and I’ve told Alex this - he will have a blank canvas. It will be my recommendation that (Alex) be the general manager.”

Over the next few weeks Anthopoulos will work with Beeston to identify a plan of attack for the off-season, a game-plan that will eventually lead to a player budget.

“I don’t want to talk about the payroll,” said Beeston. “I think you have to have a philosophy of what you want to do with your team. Let’s figure out what you want to do. It’s a fair question to ask at the end of October. I’m not sure we can answer that today.”

These are questions that have been asked through 16 seasons of non-playoff baseball. For the first time in the last eight, it’s not J.P. Ricciardi delivering the answers.


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