Mets hire J.P. Ricciardi as special assistant to Sandy Alderson

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New Mets GM Sandy Alderson has already secured one of his former trusted lieutenants. During a conference call just a short while ago, former Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi was officially added to the Mets’ front office under the title of special assistant to the general manager. We’re a long way from Tony Bernazard, folks.

Here’s Alderson’s statement on Ricciardi, via a team press release:

“J.P. brings a wealth of knowledge and a breadth of experience to the organization,” said Alderson. “I worked with him for over a decade in Oakland and I know first hand he’s a superb talent evaluator. He’ll be a tremendous resource in a variety of areas.”

Interestingly, according to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, Ricciardi said he turned down a long-standing offer from the Red Sox in order to reunite with his former boss in Queens.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, Alderson said it was possible that he will add yet another member to his front office in the next week or so. Early speculation is that Alderson hopes to hire Athletics special assistant and known “draft guru” Grady Fuson and/or Padres executive vice president Paul DePodesta.

It’s too bad the Giants have proved that this “Moneyball” stuff is complete B.S., huh?

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.