Ricciardi Out; Anthopoulos In as Jays' GM
The curtain finally came down on the J.P. Ricciardi era as general manager this morning. The Jays issued a terse release at 10:38 a.m. announcing that Ricciardi has stepped down from his role that he had filled since November 14, 2001, eight seasons without a post-season berth.
"This was a tough decision and a difficult one for me personally, as I have enjoyed J.P.'s friendship and his perspective on the game," team president Paul Beeston said in a written statement. "J.P. has put an incredibe amount of effort into improving the team and he has brought along a number of great young players. However I feel that it is time for a change and accordingly we have decided to move on."
Replacing him will be 32-year-old Alex Anthopoulos, a native of Montreal. He joined the Jays in 2003 and was named an assistant GM under Ricciardi after the 2005 season. Anthopoulos attended McMaster University, majoring in economics, getting his first job in baseball with the Expos in 2000, in media relations. He moved into the scouting department in 2001, advancing quickly through the organization.
Ricciardi leaves with an eight-year record of 642-651, highlighted by reducing payroll in 2002, winning 86 games in his second season, 2003, winning 87 in 2006, 86 in 2008 and watching the development of draft choices Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and Ricky Romero in 2009.
The change takes place immediately. Anthopoulos and Beeston will address the Jays in a clubhouse meeting prior to tonight's game at Camden Yards in Baltimore. The trend in baseball has been towards younger GMs with no playing experience but knowledge of running a farm system and scouting department. In the AL only Mike Flanagan (O's), Kenny Williams (White Sox) and Billy Beane (A's) are former major-league players.