The Kids Are. . .Where?
Maybe J.P. Ricciardi deserves to walk the plank. Maybe not.
Moreover, it's not clear what purpose such a move would serve in May of the 2007 MLB season.
But there's something here that just doesn't make sense.
To my limited baseball understanding, the arrival of Ricciardi in 2001 was supposed to herald a new style of doing business for the Blue Jays or, more accurately, a return to the way in which they once did business.
Unable to compete financially with the Yanks and Bosox, the Jays were going to have to be Oakland East, or even a Canadian version of the Minnesota Twins. Lean and resourceful, they would rely on sharp drafting and young players to gradually match what New York and Boston were accomplishing with swollen payrolls. The farm system would accomplish what big money could not, although it might take a little time.
So here we are in 2007, and my question is simple.
Where are the kids?
If memory serves, this team wasn't going to be about expensive free agents and veteran talent, wasn't going to depend on big names and huge salaries. Yet here we are worrying about B.J. Ryan's elbow, A.J. Burnett's lack of productivity and Frank Thomas' inability to deliver bang for the buck.
This sure looks like the Jays, under Ricciardi, are trying to do exactly what the Red Sox and Yankees are doing, but just not doing it nearly as well.
I thought, perhaps in error, that the idea was to suffer for a while and then hit it big like the Milwaukee Brewers are doing this season with a young, affordable roster (one that, interestingly, includes former Jay drafts David Bush and Gabe Gross).
Instead, there's a $100 million payroll, a hugely expensive centre fielder but no pitching, a light sprinkling of youth acquired during the Ricciardi era and a GM who can't quite stop doing a rather lame Pinocchio act these days.
All of this would be fine if the rest of the baseball world was drooling over the talent hidden in the Jays system, slowly maturing and soon-to-be-ready for prime time, poised to take over the burden if and when older players stopped producing or broke down.
But that's not the case, either.
Did I miss a memo somewhere? I can live with Ryan's elbow going snap. That's baseball.
But where are J.P.'s kids?