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.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.