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?

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves