Ricciardi takes the blame for the Blue Jays' woes

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J.P. Ricciardi falls on his sword:

Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi refuses to make any excuses about his club’s dismal performance this season and willingly takes the blame.

“I take full responsibility for what’s going on,” Ricciardi said last night as the Jays wrapped up a four-game series against the Rangers.

“The team’s not playing well. Obviously we’re not happy with that, but someone has to be held accountable and I accept that responsibility.”

There’s long been a sense out there that Ricciardi has been hamstrung and controlled by his bosses in ways that a lot of other GMs aren’t.  He is rumored to have been forced to sign Vernon Wells and Alex Rios to those gigantic contracts against his better judgment and, as this article makes clear, his projected payroll was radically and abruptly scaled-back after the death of Ted Rogers last winter.

In light of that — and in light of Ricciardi’s historic lack of humility — one wonders what, exactly, he’s taking the blame for.  Maybe he’s just sick of it all and is begging to be put out of his misery.  The cynic in me, however, wonders if he has been given assurances that his job will be secure in exchange for taking a P.R. shot for upper management.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.