What, exactly, is J.P. Ricciardi thinking? We all knew that the Jays’ biggest
problem last year was inconsistent pitching. We also knew that other needs were
a catcher (both Zaun and Molina are free agents), and help in the middle infield.
So what moves has he made? Two good ones (well, not horrible at least), and two
bad ones. He resigned Zaun (needed to be done, but we still need
a backup and Molina is too expensive) and signed shortstop Royce Clayton, so
we’re OK up the middle. But he also signed Frank Thomas and Matt Stairs. Great,
now our good-hitting lineup is even better, but wasn’t pitching the problem in
the first place? Is he hoping we will win lots of 9-7 games and just pound our
way into the playoffs? Memo to J.P.: you need pitching to win. End of story.
The Jays were not able to re-sign Ted Lilly, and Spier is gone, so the
pitching staff is weaker than before, and we’ve spent something like $9 million
on Thomas (Stairs and Clayton were cheap). We were willing to go up to near
$10 million for Lilly ($10 million for Ted Lilly? Yeesh), so now we
have that money available. They were looking at Gil Meche, but he’s said no.
Even if they did sign him, they’d have been at best no better than last
year. Does J.P.’s plan for getting to the World Series this year really
include “Hope that Chacin bounces back, and that Towers, Taubenheim, Janssen,
and McGowan suddenly find a way to win 12 games each”?
Couldn’t the Lilly money plus the Thomas money have been better used on
someone like Barry Zito, or even Andy Pettitte? Maybe he’s looking at trading
Vernon Wells for a front-line pitcher, but a stud pitcher is worth more than a
stud outfielder, so we’d have to throw in prospects as well, and we just ain’t
got any. In general, I like what Ricciardi has done with the Jays, but these
moves have me shaking my head. Then again, the offseason isn’t over yet, so
maybe it’s too early to judge, but so far, next year’s team is not looking any
better than last year’s.
Update: Read in the paper this morning: What’s the difference between J.P. Ricciardi and Lindsay Lohan at a bar? Lindsay Lohan can buy pitchers.