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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Tao of Stieb: Either way, you were going to hate J.P.

Around here? Naaaaaaaah.

At the risk of (once again) being labeled and apologist, we just don’t get the inevitably angry reaction to everything and anything J.P. Ricciardi says or does.

If Roy Halladay had been traded yesterday for the package that the Phillies were willing to offer (i.e. without Kyle Drabek coming back), J.P. would have been roundly criticized for not maximizing the return on Halladay. But now that the Phillies have decided not to overwhelm the Jays and instead went with a much more affordable option in Cliff Lee, people are accusing Ricciardi of…well, basically, everything. Not pushing hard enough to get a deal done; not having a plan; having too many plans; covering his ass; going back on his word…really, people just want to think that J.P. is either evil or inept (and probably both) and that this team is imploding becuase of him.

But really: Wasn’t J.P. pretty clear about the possibility of a Halladay trade right from the beginning? Didn’t he say that he’d listen, but he’s have to be wowed? Because that is precisely our recollection, and it is pretty much exactly how things have played out.

Repoz Posted: July 30, 2009 at 03:28 PM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:00 PM (#3273687)
To be fair, I hated him before Halladay was even being rumored to be dealt.
   2. Toolsy McClutch Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:03 PM (#3273691)
I acknowledge I am an JP apologist, I think he did the right thing (with the limited information I have).

IOW, Keep Roy and let him leave in a year > Trade Roy for non-star prospect laden package. And by a large margin.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: July 30, 2009 at 04:26 PM (#3273718)
This seems like the right move to me. If Lee came so cheaply, let him go to Philly. The Jays might even be able to compete next year.
   4. Bad Doctor Posted: July 30, 2009 at 05:34 PM (#3273917)
This excerpt pretty much echoes my sentiments, but I've always taken his initial remarks at face value (i.e., that he'd move Halladay if you knocked his socks off, otherwise they're more than happy keeping him). If there is a hidden financial motivation for the Jays to definitely move Halladay right now, then I guess he probably should have taken that Happ/Taylor/Brown/Marson deal.
   5. Rusty Priske Posted: July 30, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3273962)
I agree with the article.

Also, if the rumoured Rolen for Yonder Alonso deal actually happens, JP should be applauded all around.
   6. RJ in TO Posted: July 30, 2009 at 05:58 PM (#3273968)
Also, if the rumoured Rolen for Yonder Alonso deal actually happens, JP should be applauded all around.


As much as I like Rolen, and his defense at 3B, that trade would be pretty tasty.
   7. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 30, 2009 at 06:18 PM (#3274012)
I've always taken his initial remarks at face value (i.e., that he'd move Halladay if you knocked his socks off, otherwise they're more than happy keeping him)

Setting aside for a moment JP's issues with honesty, I've never seen any reason not to take those original remarks at face value. Assessed that way, his is not only a reasonable stance but one that 29 other MLB GM's would, if they were honest, agree with totally with regards to almost every single player on their roster. I still blame Rosenthal for creating this runaway train of Halladay speculation in the media.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2009 at 06:24 PM (#3274036)
I still blame Rosenthal for creating this runaway train of Halladay speculation in the media.


Wait, which Rosenthal story? The one that said the Jays were considering trading Halladay that many here dismissed? It seems pretty clear that the Jays gave pretty serious consideration to trading Halladay.
   9. Alberto Gilardino Posted: July 30, 2009 at 06:27 PM (#3274044)
All this is true, but I still think Ricciardi handled this whole thing really badly. All the pronouncements, made-up deadlines, leaking of trade offers, etc. seems very self-serving. There are 29 other teams in the league, and maybe 30% of them want Halladay. Pick up the phone and talk to them instead of getting in front of the media and throwing your best player out there to answer trade questions at the all-star break. The Lee deal got done, but it never became a circus like Halladay had to go through. I agree that not doing the deal was probably in Toronto's best interests, but I used to be somewhere between ambivalent and somewhat-liking JP, but now I think he is a giant douche. He may be smart, but I don't see a lot of things that tell me he is a good GM.
   10. RJ in TO Posted: July 30, 2009 at 06:29 PM (#3274055)
All the pronouncements, made-up deadlines, leaking of trade offers, etc. seems very self-serving.


The pronouncements were annoying. However, there's no evidence that he made up the deadline, since Halladay hasn't been traded. As to the leaking of the trade offers, why are those blamed on Ricciardi, and not either the other teams who may have been involved in the talks, or even just reporters reporting badly sourced rumors?
   11. Alberto Gilardino Posted: July 30, 2009 at 06:40 PM (#3274082)
I'll give you that JP should not be blamed for the leaks about the offers, although that's where my money is going. Anyway, I'll concede that to you. But the deadline... he came out and said that if Doc is not traded by the 28th then no deal will happen. Now maybe that's true, but again, it's grandstanding. This could have easily been communicated to Doc and the teams in the trade talks as opposed to announcing it in the media. I also recall, but am too lazy to look it up or be 100% on this, that he said that the team acquiring Doc cannot discuss a new contract with Doc before the trade. I thought that was a little douchy, again, especially since he put that out there in the press as opposed to private negotiations.

This bothers me because it makes the other GM look bad for not completing the deal when JP can claim, I laid my cards out there from the start.
   12. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 30, 2009 at 06:55 PM (#3274124)
It seems pretty clear that the Jays gave pretty serious consideration to trading Halladay.

Does it? Doesn't it seem equally as likely that JPR gave an honest answer to a stupid question, the media decided that a Halladay frenzy was just what was called for in a potentially slow trading season, some GMs figured they'd take a shot, and all JPR did from there on out was tell them what it WOULD take to get Halladay?

For an outlandish example, would you give serious consideration to trading Halladay for a package headed by Joe Mauer and Scott Baker? Wouldn't you probably trade him for Pujols and Rasmus? Hanley Ramirez, Ricky Nolasco and a prospect? Who wouldn't? I'm not saying anyone would expect offers like that, but isn't it just JPR's style to say at a presser that he'd trade Halladay if the right deal came along and secretly be thinking along those lines? Just in case?
   13. Alberto Gilardino Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:02 PM (#3274139)
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4311661

From this article, it seems like JP is inviting offers and though he does say that he thinks Doc will stay, he is clearly asking for teams to put together offers as opposed to him just giving an honest answer to the press and from then on, just telling teams what it would take. Clearly with the right package, any player is tradeable. That is not what is going on here.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:10 PM (#3274169)
Does it? Doesn't it seem equally as likely that JPR gave an honest answer to a stupid question, the media decided that a Halladay frenzy was just what was called for in a potentially slow trading season, some GMs figured they'd take a shot, and all JPR did from there on out was tell them what it WOULD take to get Halladay?


He announced a deadline for dealing Halladay, but not anyone else on the Blue Jays roster. That's some peculiar behavior for a guy who's only going through the motions.

And what Alberto said.
   15. Swedish Chef Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:16 PM (#3274189)
Does it? Doesn't it seem equally as likely that JPR gave an honest answer to a stupid question, the media decided that a Halladay frenzy was just what was called for in a potentially slow trading season, some GMs figured they'd take a shot, and all JPR did from there on out was tell them what it WOULD take to get Halladay?

Hell, when was the last time any player was shopped so openly? If the Blue Jays didn't intend to deal Halladay they went about their business in an awfully strange way.
   16. Gaelan Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3274204)
Halladay hasn't been traded because there haven't been any credible offers.
   17. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3274208)
Disagree. [EDIT: with #14]

I'm not sure why this discussion is getting me going; I'm about as far from a Ricciardi apologist as you'll find. Maybe I just like Rosenthal less (Sub "rampant unfounded media hype in the guise of speculative reporting" for "Rosenthal" as you prefer).

From the linked article:

[Halladay is] "open to at least listening," said Ricciardi. "He's not going to be a guy who will let you do all the work [preparing for a possible trade], and then he's not willing to listen. If it makes sense, he will listen."

What question was he asked to prompt this quote? How many instances of the word 'if' do you think that question contained?

"We're not inclined to move him, but we're going to see what's out there," said Ricciardi.

The only quote from outside the TOR org. in that article is from Mike Scioscia saying essentially that Halladay is a good pitcher. Many paragraphs of pure imaginary speculation follow. Again: Media spin. JPR has never said anything on this issue, as far as I can tell, that I don't agree with. As to the deadline thing, once it had become clear that no packages of the necessary quality were being offered, I think I'd want to cut off the inevitable 48 hours of hysteria leading up to the official July 31 deadline, too. I guess I just don't see what in this case clears the distinction noted in #13.
   18. RJ in TO Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:38 PM (#3274285)
He announced a deadline for dealing Halladay, but not anyone else on the Blue Jays roster. That's some peculiar behavior for a guy who's only going through the motions.


It's also the behavior of someone who clearly said that the deadline of the 28th was set to allow him the time to address deals for other players the Jays are open to moving (like Scutaro, Rolen, and Wells). It was a reasonable strategy.
   19. Toolsy McClutch Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:41 PM (#3274294)
He announced a deadline for dealing Halladay, but not anyone else on the Blue Jays roster. That's some peculiar behavior for a guy who's only going through the motions.


Because of RH's no trade, JP wanted to have it done early. I thought it made sense, and was a good thing to throw out there. You would want to encourage earlier good offers more than a last minute thing. And JP also said if something was close he'd of course let it continue.

Look, I think it's sad but BTF members are pretty rigid in their thinking. They decide they don't like someone, then that's pretty much it. People who don't like JP will never ever see anything he does as positive. If he ends up dealing Roy for a haul, people will cry "He lied! He dealt him after the deadline". If he gets a mediocre package, "He got ripped off, he sucks". If he doesn't get dealt at all, "JP made a mistake. Without a single shred of doubt, this was the best time in the entire history of the universe, to deal RH. And nothing... nothing... will convince me otherwise".
   20. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:43 PM (#3274302)
(like Scutaro, Rolen, and Wells).

Wells? You are an optimist!
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:44 PM (#3274305)
It's also the behavior of someone who clearly said that the deadline of the 28th was set to allow him the time to address deals for other players the Jays are open to moving (like Scutaro, Rolen, and Wells). It was a reasonable strategy.


I'm not questioning the strategy. In fact, my whole point is that it was a strategy, and therefore the Roy Halladay on the blocks circus was not just the residue of Robothalian whimsy.

Edit: After Toolsy's post, I'm intrigued why two of you guys think my post in 14 was anti-Riccardi.
   22. RJ in TO Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3274308)
Wells? You are an optimist!


I said they were open to moving him. I didn't say that anyone was willing to take him.
   23. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3274355)
my whole point is that it was a strategy, and therefore the Roy Halladay on the blocks circus was not just the residue of Robothalian whimsy.

We may have to agree to disagree. I imagine we'll probably never know.
   24. Toolsy McClutch Posted: July 30, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3274360)
Edit: After Toolsy's post, I'm intrigued why two of you guys think my post in 14 was anti-Riccardi.


I'm directing the anti-JP stuff at your per se, you just asked why he had the self imposed deadline for Roy and I wanted to throw my 2 pennies in.
   25. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 30, 2009 at 08:01 PM (#3274369)
Look, I think it's sad but BTF members are pretty rigid in their thinking. They decide they don't like someone, then that's pretty much it.

Early on, BTF participants generally liked Ricciardi and now they generally don't, so it doesn't seem to be all that rigid.

IMO, Ricciardi combines the analytical abilities of a sportswriter, the humility of a stathead, and the ethics of an owner into one cohesive unit.
   26. RJ in TO Posted: July 30, 2009 at 08:01 PM (#3274370)
We may have to agree to disagree. I imagine we'll probably never know.


We'll know. JP has always had a problem with knowing when to shut up, and I fully expect him to shoot off his mouth about the whole process - probably just after the trade deadline.
   27. RJ in TO Posted: July 30, 2009 at 08:04 PM (#3274374)
IMO, Ricciardi combines the analytical abilities of a sportswriter, the humility of a stathead, and the ethics of an owner into one cohesive unit.


I will disagree with you about the first one - he's generally been able to put at least average teams on the field. If he were in another division, I think he'd get a lot more credit for his team's performance.

The humility (The guy is a PR nightmare) and the ethics can be a bit of a problem.
   28. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 30, 2009 at 08:25 PM (#3274436)
I fully expect him to shoot off his mouth about the whole process - probably just after the trade deadline.

Concur. But will you believe what he says?
   29. RJ in TO Posted: July 30, 2009 at 08:27 PM (#3274441)
Concur. But will you believe what he says?


If it sounds smooth and practiced, then no. If it just sounds like something he blurted out because people weren't paying enough attention to him, then yes.
   30. FrankM Posted: July 30, 2009 at 10:52 PM (#3274719)
I would give 5-1 odds against Halladay being traded at the July 31 deadline. Maybe that should be 10-1.

No GM can trade his team's franchise player on his own without involving his superiors and ownership.

Paul Beeston, who is Ricciardi's boss, said on the radio a week or so ago that the only way a team could get Halladay was by giving up a package they really didn't want to give up.

Tony Viner, the Rogers Media Division president, who Beeston reports to, said the other day that there was absolutely no pressure on the Blue Jays to reduce payroll.

So I don't see it happening.
   31. Snowboy Posted: July 31, 2009 at 02:32 AM (#3275106)
Toolsy wrote: People who don't like JP will never ever see anything he does as positive.

Speaking on behalf of only myself...bull####.
I'm a long-standing questioner of Riccardi moves. It started early, almost immediately for me. I thought most of his moves in the first two-three seasons were wacky. I was in the minority at first, like Symborski says. Other people...actually, lots of other people, it seems...have grown into the idea around here (although I sometimes get told "you have problems, dude" when I try to place moves like releasing BJ Ryan in context, because most people don't remember, or think as critically, as Riccardi's early moves.)

But that doesn't mean every Riccardi move is trash. For example, he's been pretty good at finding better than replacement-level talent, and paid them not much more than $1-2M/year. And I tend to look at injuries, plus bad hitting luck, as the big problems in 2008 and 2009.

Riccardi's been bad. Mostly bad. But not completely useless, and I guess that's why he is still around, and I'm thinking will be for a while. Jays could use a little good luck for a change, and if Riccardi could win a trade it would help his own rep.

So...back to Toolsy's comment...it's not that Riccardi can do nothing right. And regarding Halladay, if he makes an "oh ####\" trade for him now and brings in four A/B+ prospects, I will not lead a mob calling for the guillotine. But if he keeps him to the end of 2010 on a 75 win team, expect a comparison to how Riccardi has flubbed roster management for a long time, including Delgado and Burnett.
   32. Endless Trash Posted: July 31, 2009 at 02:43 AM (#3275114)
I made that comment, and even though I think JP is terrible, I stand by it. Having a permanent copy/paste of every minor transaction the guy has made over the last decade and spinning even the positive ones into a negative is indicative of taking things a bit too far. The fact that people still want to bash him over the head with Cesar ####### Izturis, as if the guy is Babe Ruth with Ozzie Smith's glove, is beyond annoying.

I think JP is an idiot. A loud-mouthed, arrogant idiot, and he has managed the Jays into an iceberg with the grace of a drunken moose, but to try and critique him with insanely trivial #### like "Oh, he gave up on Rich Thompson!" is actually doing JP's image a favor.
   33. villageidiom Posted: July 31, 2009 at 02:52 AM (#3275120)
Look, I think it's sad but BTF members are pretty rigid in their thinking. They decide they don't like someone, then that's pretty much it. People who don't like JP will never ever see anything he does as positive. If he ends up dealing Roy for a haul, people will cry "He lied! He dealt him after the deadline". If he gets a mediocre package, "He got ripped off, he sucks". If he doesn't get dealt at all, "JP made a mistake. Without a single shred of doubt, this was the best time in the entire history of the universe, to deal RH. And nothing... nothing... will convince me otherwise".
Clearly you are acting here as a media mouthpiece for the Red Sox front office. Take this as a sign that the Red Sox are trying to hire BTF members, and are looking to tear down public opinion of BTF members so they can be hired on the cheap.
   34. Snowboy Posted: July 31, 2009 at 04:03 AM (#3275176)
Shock, I think we have reached the same conclusion, through different methods.
I also think Riccardi is a poor GM, with a record of bad talent/market valuation problems. He's made some good pickups, but also sold low too many times. Riccardi has plenty of other problems, including relations with media, players, and other teams, but I guess I tend to focus on his transactions. Sorry if that annoys you, but I too stand by it.
   35. Lassus Posted: July 31, 2009 at 05:17 AM (#3275207)
All the pronouncements, made-up deadlines, leaking of trade offers, etc. seems very self-serving.

If you mean self-serving to the Blue Jays, that would kind of be his job, I gather.
   36. Greg K Posted: July 31, 2009 at 10:58 AM (#3275235)
I'm on the fence about JP
I think if you put a gun to my head I'd say he's about an average GM. I think his weakness is in long-term contracts, not really trades. If you look at his trades

Ones I like:
Rolen-Glaus
Scutaro for nothing
Overbay for Bush wasn't too bad
Getting Tallet for nothing
Chulk and Hillenbrand for Accardo
Kielty for Ted Lilly
Hendrickson for Speier

Ones I'm not a huge fan of:
Hudson + Batista for Glaus...wasn't a disaster, but wasn't good
Giving up Chad Gaudin for nothing

Trades I'm up in the air about:
Stewart for Kielty
Koskie for Wolfe
Werth for Frasor

Going back to 2004 anyway, I don't see how that's a negative aspect of JP's game. He's not the best trader in the world, sure, but it's not like he gets hosed on a regular basis.
   37. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 31, 2009 at 11:37 AM (#3275244)
I don't really have a strong opinion about Ricciardi, in part because evaluating his record is arguably more difficult for the Blue Jays than it is for any other major league team. Consider...

Even if he did everything right during his tenure, does anybody think the team would've made the playoffs during those years? The Blue Jays haven't even finished second in the AL East since Joe Carter hit the Series-winning HR in '93. I know the counter-example is last year's Rays, but unlike the Rays, the Blue Jays have not had the benefit of endless top-of-the-round draft picks around which to build a team (2007, David Price; 2006, Evan Longoria; 2003, Delmon Young, who then gets flipped for Garza and Bartlett; 2002, BJ Upton; 2000, Baldelli; 1999, Josh Hamilton and Carl Crawford). The Rays had to be miserable for a long-time, then draft well with high picks, make a couple of good trades, and then explode in '08.

The Jays have rarely been lousy, and this year will be no different. With Wells and Rios locked in with big contracts, and Halladay there for another year, they won't be horrible...again. My gut tells me that if the Blue Jays were in the AL Central or something, they'd have made the playoffs a time or two this decade, and we'd be talking about JP's failure to win the whole thing (like Beane a few years back), rather than his failure to break through to the 90-95 win level.

He has a difficult job, more difficult than most GMs...but at some point, he either has to build some playoffs teams, or he'll be gone.
   38. Rusty Priske Posted: July 31, 2009 at 12:37 PM (#3275272)
I don't think he has done badly in trades at all. His contract signings have been less impressive.

Wells is the big one that sticks out like a sore thumb (but he also extended Hill and that one was a great deal.)

The Ryan deal was awfully iffy and the Burnett deal had a lot of downside (though it turned out fine).
   39. Hit by Pitch Posted: July 31, 2009 at 12:39 PM (#3275276)
The team's worst move is the Wells contract and I believe that was mostly Godfrey's doing. If Wells and Rios had played to the level one would expect given their contracts, the Jays would be in contention for a playoff spot even with all the injured pitchers.
   40. Matthew E Posted: July 31, 2009 at 11:37 PM (#3276364)
The Blue Jays haven't even finished second in the AL East since Joe Carter hit the Series-winning HR in '93.


Actually they have, in 2006. Not that that really changes your point.
   41. Tripon Posted: August 01, 2009 at 12:12 AM (#3276406)
Ned Coletti said the Blue Jays asked for more than 6 Dodgers prospects for Halladay.

J.P. Riccardi is an #######.
   42. Endless Trash Posted: August 01, 2009 at 12:20 AM (#3276410)

J.P. Riccardi is an #######.


Meh. He said from the beginning he wasn't going to trade Halladay this year unless a team blew him away. He stuck to that; good for him, I say.
   43. Tripon Posted: August 01, 2009 at 12:34 AM (#3276426)
Who the hell is going to trade 6 top prospects for one guy?
   44. Endless Trash Posted: August 01, 2009 at 12:43 AM (#3276438)

Who the hell is going to trade 6 top prospects for one guy?


6 top prospects? You just said 6 Dodgers prospects. Unless every Dodgers prospect is a top prospect...

Anyway, The Mets traded 7 guys just for a frigging reliever...
   45. Tripon Posted: August 01, 2009 at 12:52 AM (#3276468)
6 Dodgers top prospects.
   46. Matthew E Posted: August 01, 2009 at 01:11 AM (#3276510)
Fine by me. Halladay's a special player. You want a guy like that, you have to pay extra for it. Otherwise you can have Cliff Lee.
   47. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: August 01, 2009 at 02:57 AM (#3276614)
"If you put your house up for sale and it is a $1 million house, you are not accepting $800,000. I have the best pitcher in baseball, I should be overwhelmed." - Ricciardi


and

"Fine by me. Halladay's a special player. You want a guy like that, you have to pay extra for it. Otherwise you can have Cliff Lee."


I don't think Ricciardi is going to cry that he didn't come out of this with a Halladay trade. He did say from the get-go he didn't expect to get what he wanted for Halladay, and was obviously fine keeping him. I don't have a Baseball America key card anymore but, I assume if Ricciardi was actually asking for six Dodger prospects, it's because he wasn't getting Kershaw, and all the rest of the Dodger top prospects are lower minor guys, based on how everyones talked about what the Dodgers perspective packages could look like.
   48. Tripon Posted: August 01, 2009 at 03:05 AM (#3276616)
Of course he wasn't getting Kershaw or Billingsley.

Would you trade a guy like that if you had them?
   49. Endless Trash Posted: August 01, 2009 at 03:10 AM (#3276618)


Would you trade a guy like that if you had them?


No.

Would you trade a guy like Halladay if you had him?
   50. Tripon Posted: August 01, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3276628)
If I needed to rebuild, sure.

edit: I was all set to trade Kent, Lowe, Penny, and every other vet on the 2008 Dodgers by June so the Dodgers wouldn't get stupid and trade guys like Kemp, Ethier, etc. due to a dumb notion of competing with the Juggernaut that was the D'Backs.

Shows what I know.
   51. RJ in TO Posted: August 01, 2009 at 03:41 AM (#3276633)
If I needed to rebuild, sure.


They've got a team which will probably finish around 0.500 despite having an entire starting rotation on the DL (and, despite which, they're still leading the AL in quality starts). They've also got a pythagorean record (for whatever that's worth) of 55-47. They're not in a true rebuilding situation.

(Of course, what they are in is that really ####### awful middle ground where they could win the division if everything goes right for once, but will probably really result in another slightly above 0.500 record in 2010, at least partially because they're stuck in the stupid AL East)
   52. Toolsy McClutch Posted: August 02, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3277607)
And I think JP kicked ass on the Rolen deal.

I'm not saying he's the best GM out there, and I also don't mean to say everyone is fixed in their thoughts on him either, but I think he's an above average GM who gets himself in trouble by speaking his mind - and not doing in the best possible way.
   53. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: August 02, 2009 at 08:27 PM (#3277677)
I think JP is a terrible GM, but he did the right thing keeping Roy.

The chances of the Jays getting another Haliday quality starter in the next 15 years is tiny, they have a better shot at competing in the next 5-7 years with Haliday thatn with any combo of prospects they could have gotten.

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