The Jays let Alex Rios go the other day, and by “let go”, I mean “let go”. They got nothing back for him, they just put this 28-year-old speedy power-hitting great defensive outfielder on waivers and watched Chicago pick him up. There are those who have said this is a great move because it frees up some money, but looking at the team now, what’s the best thing they could do with that money? Find a young speedy power-hitting great defensive outfielder. Sorry José Bautista, but you’re just not going to be the starting right fielder for the Jays World Series run next year.
J.P.’s strategy confuses me. He didn’t trade Roy Halladay because the offers he got weren’t enough, and he wants to keep him for the playoff run next year. Romero is blossoming nicely as is Brett Cecil, and if Marcum, Litch, and Janssen return from injury (from what I’ve heard, McGowan’s return is unlikely, and it’s possible he may never pitch again), we could have a seriously good pitching staff. Rolen wanted out so we got a couple of young pitchers for him – that’s great, but now we need to find a full-time third baseman. Sorry Edwin Encarnación, but you’re just not going to be the starting third baseman for the Jays World Series run next year. So if 2010 is the year of the World Series drive, why dump Rios now? Ricciardi has said that this was not a salary dump, but what other explanation is there? Sure Rios isn’t having an MVP season, but he’s not having a terrible year – it’s not Vernon Wells bad. But instead of working on getting a third-baseman, Ricciardi dumps Rios, so now we need a third baseman and a right fielder. Rios was making some good coin (and yes, I agree he’s overpaid given his performance this year and last), but can Ricciardi get a starting third baseman and an outfielder that’s remotely comparable to Rios and pay both of them with Rios’s salary? Perhaps Ricciardi believes Travis Snider will be ready next year and so all he needs is a 3rd baseman. So why is Snider still playing in Las Vegas? Shouldn’t they be giving him as many major league at-bats as possible? Well, he has been injured for much of this season and so perhaps he needs the rehab. But then it’s a bit risky to bet the farm on his being able to be a starting outfielder at the major league level next season. Plus he’s a left fielder, as is Adam Lind. Who’s playing right?
Some J.P. apologists on Twitter are saying that this is a good move because it gets rid of a bad contract. But didn’t J.P. give Rios the contract in the first place? You bring a player through your minor league system, watch as he blossoms into a bona fide star player and give him a rich contract, then a couple of years later let him go for nothing because he’s too expensive. And J.P. is hailed as a genius for getting out from under a contract that he created. I don’t get it. J.P. said that he talked trade with Chicago for a while and couldn’t come up with anything. I guess Chicago never considered “Tell you what – you give us Rios and we’ll give you nothing. How’s that?” Obviously Ricciardi would have jumped at that deal – and eventually did.
Update: The Jays called up Randy Ruiz from
Syracuse Las Vegas to take Rios’s spot and what does he do? Hits a home run in his second at-bat as a Blue Jay. Problem solved!